Ganges delta

Sep 02, 2018, D-minus-18

Ganges delta

Slow Boat Down the Ganges Update 10

Today was a relatively quiet day, though some things did get done. For one, two more kilos of mashed potatoes are in the dehydrator. The chicken is done and packed. I want to dehydrate some hamburger and carry that in addition to the chicken. Will get that done tomorrow.

The other important thing that happened was my meeting with a close friend Sanjay Tiwari. He is in the business of making protein powders and other such high calorie foods. When I met him a few months ago, I did tell him about this expedition and he had offered to rig up some recipes for me. I took him up on the offer and he will send me some stuff tomorrow.

One thing he told me made a lot of sense, something I had not known earlier. He urged me to carry some oil. Not because of its benefits in cooking various dishes, but more so because each 100ml of oil contains about 900 calories. That is a whole lot of calories and will certainly help me replenishing the calories lost through each day’s paddling.

I suspect I will require about 5,000 calories a day, and the stuff Sanjay is giving me will provide more than a thousand calories. Plus a 100ml of oil and all the other goodies I am carrying will hopefully see that I do not complete the expedition as a skeleton, on the verge of  starvation.

Thank you Sanjay, for your support.

Talking of support, I so wish that there was a bit more support behind this effort than their is currently. There is a close bunch of people who are really excited. And this includes people I have not known previously. Many of them have come forward with offers of help, others have expressed appreciation. I only wish there were more people who understood the sheer audacity of this two month long expedition, reached out and offered their best wishes. Maybe I am going wrong somewhere in terms of promoting it. I thought it could spread organically. Maybe it will, once the expedition starts and videos start populating the social media feed.

I was speaking to a person and he gave me some very sane advice. Particularly about the last stretch of about 300km. There is virtually no place one can camp, the area being marshy and swampy. The closest solid ground is quite some distance away. What I was suggested is to find a riverine island, even though swampy, and sleep on the boat itself, which I was planning to do in any case. What was an interesting insight was to tether my boat to a piece of bamboo, stuck into the ground. This to avoid the boat being swept away in case high tide happened later in the night. High tide and low tide happens every six hours, and even though I will tether the boat, wherever I find a spot of snad, this might go under water in a few hours. In which case, I will need to relocate. That means paddling at night, during high tide, not something that I will look forward to.

If I remain at the location and the tether rope is no enough, the rising waters will tilt the boat and even make it sink. If the rope is left too long, I will be floating all over the place and pitching and rolling. The tides close to the edge of the Bay of Bengal, along the last stretches of the Ganges, are strong, with waves growing to about six or seven feet.

This last stretch of A SLOW BOAT DOWN THE GANGES will be the most challenging. I will be lucky to get a maximum of three good hours of paddling along with the low tide, getting help from the current. If I try to paddle at any other time, I will be going back towards where I started, despite all efforts to try and go forward. I have budgeted four days to cover a little over 100km in this last stretch.

How difficult it will be is something I will figure out only once I am there. And this will be the start of winter, so I can expect fog. If the fog coincides with low tide, the good time for me to be out paddling towards the sea, then I might have that chance for the day. In which case I will have to wait another 24 hours for the next window, waiting tethered to my boat!

What fun!

The new solar inverter I ordered should be here on Tuesday. I really really hope it works. I am sunk without a charging mechanism. Well, not quite sunk, I know I will figure out a way, but having become used to inverters, it will make life so much more challenging without it. Goal Zero has still not got back with a solution, and I wonder when they will, if they will.

So, that was today. Quiet mostly. But the butterflies in the stomach have hatched and are starting to flutter. Like I tell myself, what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. I like butterflies in my stomach before any major expedition, it keeps me on my toes, makes me take a relook at the planning, a relook at the gear, checking and rechecking. Planning is everything. There will so much more in the next few days.

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