It has been a little over two months since we left the sheltered environs of our own backyard called the Arabian Sea. Things actually changed the day we said our farewell to our escort at the Horn of Africa, Sumitra and turned that corner at Bab El Mandeb. Weather has been interesting ever since, mind you (and) when I say interesting, it doesn’t necessarily mean bad, it means interesting and challenging. And that being the essence of this Voyage –
To Experience And Overcome New Challenges.
This Tall Ship and her sturdy bunch of officers and sailors have done very well so far. We used to think that weather in Arabian Sea could get bad and then we entered the Red Sea. One couldn’t imagine what havoc that little Pond of a Water body could create. So we thought “Okay Now We Have Seen The Worse”.
And then, we turned another corner at Suez and it got even more interesting. Well, with history like that on either sides (Egypt on one while Greeks and Romans on the other) Mediterranean’s gotta have an attitude to match. So the sail to Malta had newer lessons to learn, newer tricks to deal and a new bunch of Subalterns.
This new bunch of Trainees are now a month old on this ship. They have seen three countries and an equal number of seas in their first one month at sea. And as we approach the last Leg for this batch we also start testing them for what they have learnt and if there are any further areas that need to be focused on.
Our examination hall - the Atlantic. Examiner - the Atlantic. The crew is now just invigilators, keeping an watchful eye, as the Trainees are now able to keep independent watch at places, where they were taught. So as we turned another corner towards the Atlantic at Cabo de Vicente, Spain ….. weather again got interesting and this time nothing like what we had seen so far. Wind speeds in excess of 35 knots, wave height of more than the ship’s freeboard and that too head on.
One of these rough afternoons I called the EXO and asked him to find out what the Sea Trainees wanted to eat and have the cooks prepare it. Thinking that they might want to have Khichhidi and Rasam (Our Staple during rough seas – Easy To Eat And more importantly Keep Inside).
At around nine in the night while the sun was still up I went down for dinner and was astonished to see Pizzas on the table. The EXO steps forward and says “Sir They have passed the Atlantic Exam. None of the Trainees wanted to eat Khichhdi, they wanted Pizzas and an assortment of topping. The fear of the word called ‘Sea Sick’ has diminished in their minds. To add to top it all, in spite of the ship being tossed around heavily the cooks were able to produce remarkable pizzas.
The Rigging Team Securing the Anchors with Additional Lashings