Sep 19, 2018, D-minus-13

Slow Boat Down the Ganges Update 16

Today has been a quiet day. I did look at some of the stuff that I needed to take for the expedition. The gear that came back from the survival Course was unpacked and laid out. The kind of stuff required for the two activities are very different, though there is a lot of overlap. We will be camping after all, though not necessarily in a simulated survival situation. In case an unforeseen situation presents itself, it will no longer be simulated, but very real. But I doubt if anything of that sort will happen, particularly man-made, which has been a worry for me. One can never be sure about natural calamities, but given that the monsoon season has said goodbye for now, natural disasters along the route are largely minimised.

The website went through a bit of a change. Importantly, Ygeiax, the company run by Sam and Tara officially became partners with their logo on the page. Also, the partners and supporters were only present on the “reasons behind the expedition” page and not on the blog page. This was corrected.

An old friend Deepak Saha came by and we spent an evening together talking about various things, but mostly came back to the Ganges. He runs an event management organisation based out of Lucknow, and he has the network to address various aspects of our journey. Media relations being one of them that I was certainly interested in. He called up a friend of his, who manages his media relations and chances are that the media in the State of Uttar Pradesh will be covering our journey. I still need to get a quote from them, but chances are that it will not be terribly expensive.

Deepak also put out public posts on social media and tagged a host of friends and acquaintances, including corporate executives. He is hoping that some of them might step up with some kind of support. With less than a fortnight to go, things are getting tight. But like I said before, I am thinking more about the expedition itself, with the limited money that I have, instead of frustrating myself with the promise of future funding.

Remember the bracelets I made and offered it for sale among friends? I ended up selling about forty of them. That has generated Rs 20,000. There were things that I needed to buy and a part of that fund went into buying those. For instance, a second camping stove, since the one I have is starting to misbehave. Seems to have clogged up. My headlamp too needed replacement. A couple of extra canisters of butane fuel. A couple of waterproof pouches to keep the audio recorders in. And an eight litre collapsible water container. I think I will end up with close to 25 litres of water on the canoe. Enough for two people engaged in significant physical effort in the heat and humidity of the Gangetic plain.

A trip to another supporter, A&S Creations resulted in me getting the use of a GPS unit. This will be in addition to the one I already have and the secondary unit will be with the road support team.

I feel slightly sorry for the road support team. Chances are it will be Sam most of the time. He has the attitude and the vehicle to do what is necessary. Te problem is that the roads along the Ganges do not always lead to the beach. He will have to leave the main road, take a country road and hope it leads to a decent camping location. If one does not work out, he will have to find a seocnd spot. Maybe a third. Once he is satisfied, he will have to transmit the lat/long to me in the canoe and I will paddle out to the location he has identified.

Neither Sam not Tara are terribly conversant with the workings of a GPS and there will need to be some training. It is not difficult to operate once you know how.

I am so stoked that there is a road support team. This provides an opportunity to have fresh food, instead of depending on the dehydrated stuff I was planning to carry originally. Also, this is a boon from the safety point of view.

They will also be a part of the Base Camp Festival India being staged between October 25 and 28. I have been invited as a speaker and asked to conduct a workshop. This means that the Ganges expedition will have to be put on hold for a few days while we travel to Mussourie to attend the Festival and then get back to recommence the expedition. This Festival is a global one with a lot of eminent speakers and guests and will provide a lot of networking opportunities for me. I suspect we will be somewhere near Kanpur or Allahabad around Oct 20. A day’s drive to Delhi and another half a day’s drive to Mussourie, four days of the Festival and another day and a half’s drive back. A seven day break from paddling.

Works starts from tomorrow. Packing (and repacking), making some more chocolates, buying dry rations, and deciding the wardrobe for the two month journey.

Thirteen days to go, D-day is not too far away anymore.

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