Oct 5 - The river was wide, but shallow, and we got grounded a few times

Sep 22, 2018, D-minus-10

Slow Boat Down the Ganges Update 19

As the days are getting closer, only ten more days to launch, the sheer audacity of the expedition is becoming more real. Two months. 2,500 kilometres. One holy river. With the suspended solids in the water, it will be like paddling through jelly. And there will be nearly one paddlestroke for every metre travelled. Considering that the total distance to be covered is about 2,500 km, that translates to about two million paddlestrokes. Awesome.

No one is holding a gun to my head, forcing me to complete the journey in a specified time. If it takes longer than two months, so be it. If the current and other factors are in my favour, I might even complete in a shorter time. What I suspect I will not be able to avoid are the many painful blisters that will emerge on my palms. I have bought 30 pieces of BandAid, but I suspect it needs to be increased to 300. Plus a couple of rolls of cotton and a few rolls of adhesive medical tape. Blistered palms are antithetical to comfortable paddling, and the more I can cushion the wound, the better.

I also think that I will develop pretty sore bums. The constant wetness, the chafing, the grinding, the rubbing, will ensure soreness. I only hope I do not develop blisters and boils. That will be extremely uncomfortable indeed.

But what good is success if there aren’t any badges of honour to show for it!

Over many weeks I have been wondering about the boat. I wanted to christen it ... am partial to either “Catherine” or “Popatlal”. Have not yet decided which one to go with. Once decided, it has to be stencilled on the side of the boat. I was also thinking of some kind of decorative decals on the boat, to give it some colour. Then I was speaking to my friend Sam and he gave a wonderful suggestion. Get people I come across along the way to sign their name on the boat. Excellent idea. As I go down the river, the side of the boat will get populated with more and more signatures. That will be really cool.

If this were being conducted somewhere in a more developed part of the world, where people understood, recognised and nurtured talent, maybe I could have considered auctioning off the canoe at the end of the expedition. But I am in India and I do not think anyone will even attend the auction, let alone bid for the boat. But, it could have been a nice event to consider.

The miscellaneous expenses are starting to bug me a little bit. I have a WiFi router which I was planning to use on the journey. When I tested it out a little while ago, it seems to have gone kaput. Not working anymore. Which means a new dongle/router has to be acquired. I have been toying with the idea of buying the Huawei 8372. This dongle is not locked to any particular ISP, and any SIM card can be inserted into it. Also, the speeds on this are supposedly better than other dongles. It also has an antenna accessory which increases its range substantially. I have not been able to find a seller yet, if I do, that would be another good investment. One dongle ... Huawei calls it a Wingle, for some reason ... coming up.

Thanks to the vehicle, I am not even thinking about why my mini laptop is not getting charged by the new inverter. My larger laptop is charging fine and even though it sucks a lot of juice from the inverter in a pretty short time, the advantage I will have is that I will connect the larger laptop to the 500W inverter connected to the car battery, thus being able to do all my tasks without sacrificing battery in the inverter.

At the cost of repeating myself yet another time, the vehicle will be a real boon.

I ordered another gorilla pod with a 360 degree rotating head. It arrived today along with a mount for a mobile phone and another for action cameras. This is what will get used most often for live video updates.

Still wondering whether the live updates should be on Facebook or on YouTube. Many of my friends are not on Facebook and maybe, just maybe, they would want to follow the live streams that I plan to broadcast every day, maybe multiple times a day. Tried and tested YouTube LIVE and seem to have figured it out. If I could simultaneously share it on Facebook, that will be an ideal situation. I see a SHARE button on the settings page on YouTube, and will tinker around with that to see if it works to broadcast on two platforms simultaneously.

I think I will go with a YouTube LIVE and then share a link on Facebook and Twitter, just in case a simultaneous broadcast is not possible. The other advantage of a YouTube LIVE broadcast is that it can be shared on the blog page and everyone can see it, even those without a Facebook account. It will be nice to have a LIVE audience interacting, but even if the LIVE numbers are low, the videos will be there for all to see, for eternity. I hope people watch and like and share this experience within their network.

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