In this edition of the Slow Boat series, Chandan Lahiri from India and Timm Kruse from Germany attempted to paddle their canoe and stand-up paddleboard respectively, all around the coast of the beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka, a first for both of them and a first for both kinds of watercraft. There are conflicting reports on whether Oskar Speck achieved this in 1935 when he was paddling from Germany to Australia. Australian Sandy Robson, in recreating Oskar Speck’s amazing journey, certainly went around the island in 2014.
No one has ever circumnavigated the Pearl of the Indian Ocean in either a canoe or a stand-up paddleboard, making this journey a unique one, a world’s first, and will join a very short list of persons in the world to have circumnavigated Sri Lanka.
Unfortunately, the attempt had to be aborted. Chandan’s lack of experience paddling in the open sea coupled with the canoe that was buffeted by the wind made progress extremely tiring and difficult. Timm was far more adept on his SUP given his years of experience. In hindsight this was a good decision given that within a few days of aborting the expedition the coronavirus pandemic hit resulting in the world being shut down entirely. Chandan and Timm reached Delhi and Germany respectively literally hours before the travel ban was imposed.
The expedition is on abort and will be staged once again in 2021 once the situation improves.
“Live” Wind Situation
You can look at the current wind situation around the island. Click on any spot and the wind speed and the direction will be displayed. This will be one issue that we will have to be aware of and deal with. Paddling into a headwind is no fun at all, apart from being extremely tiring.
Chandan Lahiri leads the team on this expedition. A record holding adventurer, survival instructor, author and videographer, Chandan paddled solo down about 2,100 km of the Holy Ganges, from Haridwar to Kolkata. This expedition is his second major paddling expedition. He has planned some major endurance paddles on rivers and oceans over the next few years. He has also actively embarked on a spiritual journey by becoming a sound healer cum meditator. He is certified by FEMA and has written a few books on various subjects. You can read more about Chandan here.
Timm Kruse joins the team from Germany. His day job is as a reporter for the German TV station zdf, the biggest TV station in Europe. He is pretty famous as an intrepid adventurer and bestselling author. He has written five books so far, in topics that range from the spiritual to the adventurous: (1) 40 days of fasting, (2) Roadtrip with Guru, (3) Meditating my ass off, (4) Neither stirred nor shaken, and (5) One man, one board. The last book records his journey stand-up paddleboarding down the Danube in 2018. His next adventure … and next book … is on his 800km walking adventure from France to Santiago di Compostella. You can buy his books here.
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More than just supporters
In addition to the above organisations, there are a lot of people who have come forward to support this expedition. I will remain eternally grateful to the following people for their belief in this project …
Navroze Dhondy, Dinil Kumar, Rana Rajesh, Pallavi Lahiri, Laghu Agarwal, Sumit Sabherwal, Priyanka Lahiri Banerjee, Anubhav Mittal, Sudeep Banerjee, Sam the Artist, Indrani Lahiri, Rana Rajesh, Krishna Lahiri, Col DM Ray (Retd), Manu Srivastava, Brig SK Chatterjee (Retd), Ramendranath Sarkar, Mohit Satyanand, Sanjay Suri, RN Singh, Sandeep Kohli, Nitin Goel, Amit Prakash, Anjan Lahiri, Rajeev Dhalwani, Ashok Lahiri, Rajen Mahapatra, Sharmistha Lahiri, Sharmila Ghoshal, Sumit Law, Santosh Menon
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