Sep 24, 2018, D-minus-08

Slow Boat Down the Ganges Update 21

Today started on a happy note. On Sep 17 I hinted at some possible development that might ensure, something that Tara has been working on. Well, that has come through. We now have a sponsor for Dorf Ketalthe expedition. Rs 2 lakh has been promised by Dorf Ketal, a chemical company based out of Bombay. This will go a long way in taking care of the expenses of the road support team, and then some. Food will be a lot more substantial, gas will be put in the vehicle, without wondering where the money is going to come from, some equipment that were in the “maybe” list, can now be purchased. Life is certainly good.

Thank you Dorf Ketal for associating with the expedition. And thank you Tara for making it happen.

A silver lining encompasses a dark cloud. The dark cloud currently is the dehydrated food that I had so meticulously prepared over the past few weeks. They did not work. After having lying around away from the Sun, and in airtight bags, I found them to have gone rancid. Some of the stuff had changed colour and gone black, indicating mould. All that food had to be thrown out.

I was really hoping that it would work. I do not know what went wrong. The process of dehydration essentially entails removing all the moisture from the food. That was done quite effectively and the all the dehydrated stuff was drier than a proverbial bone lying exposed to the Sun for many months. Then it was packed in airtight bags so that there was no possibility of extra oxygen coming in contact with the food. Obviously something was not done correctly, and all that food had to be thrown away.

There is nothing much left to do for the next three or four days when I travel to Haridwar in preparation for the expedition. While in Haridwar, I will be busy shooting footage of the various sights and sounds. Tara and Sam are slated to join me on Sep 30. Oct 2 is just a week away and I am feeling so stoked.

flagoffThere are a few people who had expressed an interest in being at Haridwar for the flag-off. Many have dropped out due to other commitments. Some have still said they will try and be there. Talking of flag-off, it is not really going to be a a flag-off. Just someone there pushing the canoe from inside the fenced-in area at the ghat, into the current. And that will be it. A journey of 2,500km will begin with a gentle push. Almost two million paddlestrokes later, I hope to have the breeze from the Bay of Bengal caressing my non-existent hair, the salty waves gently caressing around my ankles, while the team links arms and takes a walk into the ocean, to signify the end of what will hopefully be a safe and exciting journey.

As far as communications between the canoe and the road support is concerned, I suspect that there will mobile connectivity all the way down the river. This is after all one of the most densely populated regions in the world. I will however, take a second connection with about 3GB of data limit a day. That should cover me sufficiently. Voice calls are unlimited in this plan and the data will be used for updates ... live as well as on the website. That should see me through quite adequately.

I am also thinking of carrying a couple of VHF radios as a backup, just in case we find ourselves in an area where the phone connectivity disappears. Technically these radios require a license to operate, and I do not have one. All radio communications is monitored by the security forces, but since the conversation, if any, between the sets will be entirely innocuous, I doubt if anyone will bother coming over to investigate. These are small, kiddy radios and do not pose any security risk whatsoever. The two sets are currently getting juiced up.

Like I said, there is nothing much that will happen in the next three or four days, and I suspect the next post will be from Haridwar on Sep 27. Alternatively, I might see you in the next few hours, who knows!

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