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Old 12th April 2013, 22:52   #151
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

No Words to express Rahul. Amazing stuff. What a great endurance. This is an epic journey I must say.

People like you, ADC, Deky are taking the personal enruance to the greatest levels and what a way to showcase it in Team-BHP. Wonderful story telling. Loved every bit of it.

Thank you for sharing these wonderful experiences with us. Truly motivating.

The least I can do is rate this thread 5*
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Old 13th April 2013, 08:54   #152
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramanjit View Post
As I have also done a bit of sea sailing and white water rafting ,I can appreciate your endeavour a bit better
I also enjoy whitewater rafting and kayaking too. Someday, hope to plan a week's trip up in the Himalayas on a kayak. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sajusherief View Post
Now I can feel the breeze, the wind, the salty water and even the taste of the food at Kashid beach!!!
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Originally Posted by Prawaal View Post
I admire and respect (from the bottom of my heart) the passion and commitment you have to pursue your dream.
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Originally Posted by ajnagpur View Post
Hi @Kamen_rider,
Appreciate your writing skills & the way you are walking or rather kayaking us through your adventurous journey.
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Originally Posted by aka_iitd View Post
Keep the excitement flow
Thank you so much everyone, the comments keep me going! More to come soon. Day 6 and 7 were very eventful so I will take my time to remember everything and write down every detail.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
Did you keep your passport for emergencies if coastguard got involved?
Yup, but a copy, not the original, because that is too risky.

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Originally Posted by A M View Post
I can only say, I'm lovin' it and waiting eagerly for day7.

Hey Kamen, is there a safe compartment in the kayak to keep your documents or are dry bags the only solution?
Day 7 is around the corner. That day is important because it is literally a turning point in my exploration, and I had to continue in a manner which was not in my original plan. Soon, soon!

No compartments, but I used ziplock bags (see my day 5 post) to keep paper and documents dry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
Before reading this i never had an idea that one can cover Mumbai to Goa at the pace of 5 Km/hr that too solo in a kayak!
Thanks Samba! You should google Sandy Robson, she just completed a kayaking expedition along the ENTIRE western coast and then to Chennai. When I look at her trip, my exploration seems like a walk in the park.

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Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
I think the collective GDP of TBHPians were to go up if someone were to lock Kamen-rider in a room till he finishes the triplog in one go.
Will try my best to finish soon, Phamilyman. Weekend's here, so hope I get a few day's log out of my way.


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Originally Posted by amitkb View Post
I admire your writing and enjoyed very much your description of your boarding school antics.
I was a mischievous sort at school, still am!

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Originally Posted by danlalan View Post
Ive been thinking for sometime now as to what i should get. ( Live bang on the beach) And iam definitely getting my self a single seater sea kayak.
You should! super fun it will be if you have easy access to the sea.

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Originally Posted by sukhoi30 View Post
Regarding the above, I have a crass question : What system might Sandy have adopted?
I have to ask her. Let me get back to you

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Originally Posted by ninjatalli View Post
Btw Subhan Beach Resort seems to be the place that you just mentioned. Seems to be an extremely simple, laid-back place!
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Originally Posted by Jignesh View Post
The tree top room (hut) looks great & a overnight stay (sleep) there will be a adventure for lesser mortals like us.
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Originally Posted by parsh View Post
The only place on Srivardhan to give that kind of experience for sure, alone in its neighborhood of the fishing village.
That is the one. I will post more pictures on Day 6, but it is indeed a wonderful place to stay. The beach is very secluded too. Not to mention, Superb host - Nadeem and his father, with the great staff.

Last edited by Kamen_rider : 13th April 2013 at 09:21.
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Old 13th April 2013, 09:59   #153
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

Did you have any ground support near the coast at all? Friends and family who would be able to come in an emergency situation.
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Old 13th April 2013, 10:54   #154
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

Can't wait to read more, I also finished reading the entire thread in one go.
Awesome achievement bro!

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 15th April 2013 at 16:35. Reason: Typo
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Old 13th April 2013, 18:13   #155
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Originally Posted by slicvic View Post
Did you have any ground support near the coast at all? Friends and family who would be able to come in an emergency situation.
Unlikely. He's from Bangalore as we know. That also doesn't mean that he cannot have any friends or family members in this part of the country. He must be having some friends in Goa but that's his finish line anyway. However, having somebody near the coast is not of any big help here as I like to imagine.
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Old 15th April 2013, 12:49   #156
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Excellent narration. Few great souls can do what you have done.

Just a question. Did you have any emergency contact equipment? I know, satellite phones are illegal in Indian waters, but any radio kind of. What I mean to say, did you have any plan to contact any Govt. agencies or nearby boats/ships for rescue in any of such unfortunate event you come across?
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Old 15th April 2013, 13:57   #157
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

Now this is as epic as it can get, just love your appreciation towards nature, the simplicity around you, and your passion to simply keep going on. It is indeed interesting to see so many small small events that hit you, the coast guard thing being the star attraction. Cannot wait to hear from you guys. Stay safe, Stay Floated !!
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Old 15th April 2013, 21:30   #158
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Default Day 6, part I: Cat-dog-Dolphin, and the beginning of darkness.

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It was the late eighties, and I was in my boarding school, high up in the hills. It was a cold December month, with temperatures nearing zero. Water pipes froze often, and joy in the stark winters came from sitting around a fire, just doing nothing. On one moon-less night, we huddled around a fireplace, covered in thick, coarse blankets. No one said a word. Every now and then, a hand would emerge, and use the stick to turn pieces of burning wood. The golden flames leapt high, crackling and popping as it burnt through the last remaining pockets of moisture in the firewood. I was feeling cold, so I moved my chair closer to the fire. I could sense the lower part of my body warm up to the fire. And then, all of a sudden, the flames licked my leg. Not the kind of lick which singes the hair on your skin, but a wet, drool filled lick.

I woke up with a jolt. I was not in the Northern hills, but on a hard plankwood floor in Shrivardhan. In those brief moments when the brain starts to switch from sleep to consciousness, one piece of information quickly registered. There was something warm brushing against my legs under the blanket, and that unidentified source of warmth was licking me. Slowly, but repeatedly.

I reacted the same way anyone in a sleep-drugged state of mind would. I kicked wildly at the source of the warmth, and it was followed by a loud meoowww and a high pitched yelp. Out of my half shut eyes, I saw a white cat quickly emerge from under the covers and run towards one corner of the room, and then a dog came out of the covers and quickly scampered downstairs. I could scarcely believe what had just happened - a cat and dog were sleeping under my blanket, and the happy canine was licking my leg!

I turned around, and looked at my watch. The luminescent dial glowed eerily in the dark, and it was 3 am. I was somewhat awake after the commotion, so I got up and looked out of the hut. It was high tide, and faint light from the shore revealed the rolling whitecaps of the waves. It was cold too, and I wasn't surprised I had the dream I just woke up from. The white cat now sat on the pile of mattresses in one corner, licking her paws. I took a picture, and the cat squinted from the camera's light. I decided to go back to sleep, thinking of the weird dream I had. It is truly amazing how the subconscious blends fantasy with reality during dreams. I have never quite understood how dreams work, and probably never will.

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It is a wonderful feeling to be woken by natural sunlight, with the slight chill of a December morning on your skin. The sun was not up yet, but the pale orange hue of the horizon grew brighter, and the coconut trees cast long and gentle shadows on the sand. Light seeped in through the wall planks and cracks in the floor. I went downstairs. There were a few dogs stretching themselves, but I wasn't sure which one licked my leg the night before. It might have been the brown one. I headed towards the shower, a small area with a green cloth covering the sides. A few plastic taps were connected to an overhead pipe running the length of the shower, which in turn went up to a black water tank. I stripped down to my underwear, and opened one of the taps. It spew down unceremoniously with a chatter, erratically spraying the water on and around me. To get some water on my face, I looked up, and I saw a few creeper vines coiled around the pipe. Clever. They would never go thirsty. In five minutes I was done. I finished drying myself , and I climbed upstairs to pack. No one seemed to be awake yet, so I fixed myself a bowl of Muesli with milk.

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Last evening, I landed at dusk, and could not take photographs. There was still some time before I left, so I took some pictures of the scenic Shrivardhan beach and the guest house. In the morning light, the surroundings were very picturesque; my hotel seemed to be the only one on the beach, and the fishing village of Shrivardhan lay next to the sheltered bay. Most of the boats were docked, floating lazily on the placid waters.

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By 7.30 am, I was back on water, but not without a grand see-off by the Subhan beach resort. Nadeem (center, with the cellphone) and his staff helped me carry the kayak, and the friendly person who helped me last evening (white full sleeve tee with the red cuffs) also came by to say goodbye. Launching at Shrivardhan was the easiest - it is a sheltered bay, and the waves roll gently on the shore. A few steady paddles, and I was out in the ocean. My thumb had almost healed now, and I did not have to worry about it anymore.

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Mornings are always a joy to paddle. The waves are relatively calm, a cool sea breeze hits you with every paddle, and because there is no wind, one covers a lot of distance, quickly. The temple town of Harihareshwar came into view on my left, and then the fabled beach of Velas soon after. Velas is one of the few nesting sites on the Konkan coast for the Olive Ridley turtles, and the beach is protected by local villagers and conservationists who ensure the safety of the eggs till they are hatched. Since it was December, the mother turtles have would finished laying the eggs on the beach. For that reason, I decided to give Velas a pass. Locals might also mistake my intentions if I approached the beach, so I took a picture from the sea, floating four kilometers offshore in my kayak. The beach looked beautiful and inviting, lined with Casuarina trees. T-Bhp member SDP has a great thread on Velas beach and the Turtle festival (Reliving the innocence at a rustic Konkan village (Velas turtle festival)), and I highly recommend that you read it. Lovely travelogue, with lots of well-timed photographs.

A few kilometers after passing Velas, I paddled into an area which had deep waters, with the waves dashing against a rocky coastline. Suddenly, I heard a loud splash behind me, and I turned behind. Nothing. I heard the splash again, and I looked back again. I saw just some white froth a few meters away, and nothing. It was then I heard the unmistakable sound for the first time in my trip.

Phuhoooo! Phoooos! Foooos! Phoo! Dolphins. Bottlenose and Humpback Dolphins. And good lord, how many of them, and so very close - I could almost count their teeth. I could hear them breathing through their blowholes as they swam near my kayak. I quickly took my camera out, but by then they had vanished. And then re-appeared again on the other side. I could not get even a single close shot of them. And they seemed extremely curious, the intelligent beings they are. They seemed to be thinking, What is this strange floating shape, with a human sitting in it? It does not make noise like the other floating things, and when seen from the bottom it looks just like us!

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They come closer to investigate. Just a paddle length away, a pair emerged, their smooth, light grey skin glistening in sunshine. Their big, black eyes gazed at me inquisitively, traveling the length of my kayak. They went back under. Another solitary Dolphin came straight at me, and then just when it's nose was almost touching the bow of my kayak, it dived under. I turned back with the camera, hoping that it will emerge from the other side, but it did not. Gosh, it was so difficult to get a good picture from a kayak. I could not make sudden movements because I risked losing my balance. I gave up.

It is hard to describe in words what I felt, surrounded by these playful creatures of the deep, swimming alongside me. An intense feeling of joy and happiness filled my heart, and then that feeling traveled through my limbs into every part of my body, like effervescent bubbles excitedly finding their way around. I broke into a raucous song. Wasn't a song really, but a tune which I thought sounded melodious. I was delirious with happiness. I was in a good mind to clip myself to the kayak with the towing line, and then jump into the water to swim with the Dolphins. But I had to keep time, and told myself, that one day I will do exact that. I will drive to Velas, take out my kayak, and then jump into the deep bay where the Dolphins play and sing. Some day.

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I stayed in the bay for some time, and all the while the Dolphins took turns to check my kayak out. Unfortunately, the digits on my watch ticked by to remind me of the time I had left, so I had to keep on moving. A couple of Dolphins followed me for around hundred meters, but they soon returned to their bay. That was most likely a feeding spot, and as much as they found me interesting, they could not skip lunch. That, my friend, is the way of the Dolphins.

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I crossed a few deserted coves, and while it was very tempting to stop and camp there, I could not. Small rocks threatened a safe landing, and by evening the high tide would have swamped the area over. I kept paddling. After meeting the Dolphins, I was feeling very enthused, and started singing to myself loudly, again. The sea can be a lonely place, and one needs to be happy to be motivated. I felt the breeze on the nape of my neck, and after an hour, it became a proper tailwind. This was the opportunity I was waiting for, and I wasn't going to let it slip by. I undid the cords and the snap buckle which kept the sail down, and voila! The red sail sprung open. The sail on my kayak was a bandsaw blade type. You fold it flat in loops, and it opens to form a d-shaped sail. I tethered the sail with lanyards, and I could feel the massive push from the tailwind propelling me forward. There are obviously advantages of a sail on kayak, but there are some drawbacks too. With a strong tailwind comes swells and whitecaps, which means the ocean surface is no longer smooth. This reduces the area of the water which is in contact with the hull of the kayak, and with the increased speed, the kayak starts skimming over the waves. So I would go over one swell, pushed by the wind in the sail, and for a brief moment, the front of my kayak would be suspended in the air. And then - SLAM! The Kayak would pitch forward and downwards with gusto, splashing sea water all over the deck. And by that time, the water I landed in would swell up and I would bob up. This would repeat many times, and all the time I would have to focus not only on paddling fast, but also making sure I don't lose balance and capsize.

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After a couple of hours, the wind turned east and I eased up the sail by bending it backwards. I was nearing my destination for the day, and I passed another small fort, called the Suvarnadurg. There was a channel of water between the mainland and the fort which seemed free of rocks, so I set course towards it. As I crossed the channel, there were a few teenagers playing on the beach. They saw me, and started shouting at me so that I could land on the beach, but when I didn't, they started hurling stones at me. Some extreme reaction, that. But I was more than a stone's throw away, so all their stones dropped into the sea with timid plops.

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I passed the small Harnai port and went further down. This was probably one of the longest stretches of sand on the Konkan coast, stretching for eleven kilometers. Different beaches line this colossal strip and when I reached a spot where I thought I could find accomodation, I turned left and started riding the evening waves toward the sand.

I landed in front of what I thought was a hotel and sure enough, a man in shorts came walking towards me out of the thicket. He had a friendly face, and I asked him if I could find a place to stay. He pointed to an area behind the trees, and told me that he owned a place where I could stay the night. Just when we started pulling the kayak towards the hotel, we saw someone coming towards us on a motorcycle, the faint 'phutt-toot-tu' from the engine carrying over the evening wind. As the rider came closer, we saw it was a policeman. 'Don't worry,' my new friend said. 'He will just check your id and papers, and then we should be able to go to the hotel.'

If only I knew the turn of events which would unfold that fateful evening, I would have got back on the kayak, gladly paddled for another ten hours through the night, far away from Dapoli. But no. I had no inkling of how Day 6 would end, and I naively assumed that this was going to be a regular day in my trip, and the next morning I would be on my way. How wrong I was!

Next Episode: Day 6, Part II - Police, port authorities and customs. Police again.

Last edited by Kamen_rider : 15th April 2013 at 21:49. Reason: Better choice of words!
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Old 16th April 2013, 08:08   #159
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

Kamen_Rider, another fantastic episode where new characters (curled up cat, licking dog, dolphins) made an entry and a hint about the entry of villians in the next episode (police, customs, Port-folks)! . As if the journey itself was not challenging enough.

Thanks for the kind mention of my Velas thread! Its great to see the snap of the same beach from a vantage point 4kms offshore. We, the IT folks, have a completely different meaning for the word "offshore". Thanks for reminding me of the original (& lovely) meaning of that word!
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Old 16th April 2013, 11:09   #160
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

Kamen_Rider. -- In the earlier snaps, I was wondering about the red colored plastic. Now when I saw the Up Sail picture things are clear.

You have ended today's thread with a real teaser. Eagerly waiting for next post
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Old 16th April 2013, 12:23   #161
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

Kamen_rider, I do believe that you have mastered the art of script writing . Another fantastic episode comes to an end with we the audience sitting at the edge of our seats.

Eagerly waiting for the next episode on how you tackle the villians!

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We, the IT folks, have a completely different meaning for the word "offshore". Thanks for reminding me of the original (& lovely) meaning of that word!
Absolute truth SDP. The real meaning of 'offshore' is long forgotten in IT field and it feels great to be reminded of the real meaning, that too with a lovely snap. Thanks Kamen_rider
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Old 16th April 2013, 12:28   #162
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

Wow, i have always seen such things happening on those programs on discovery channels "I shouldnt be alive", or "Man vs Wild", but this is as real as it gets. Are you still stuck in Dapoli? Please keep us updated and i hope you got out of any customs / authority related trouble. One question, how to manage the money part? Do you reach out for an atm once on land? I assume most of the beaches you are touching would not be having any ATMs, or are you carrying a lot of cash? ( i hope no pirate is reading this ;-) Good luck bro.
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Old 16th April 2013, 21:18   #163
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

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One question: where you paddle further out and with less energy and endurance to travel in - how does one recover from such a situation?
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Originally Posted by slicvic View Post
Did you have any ground support near the coast at all? Friends and family who would be able to come in an emergency situation.

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Originally Posted by PetrolRider View Post
Just a question. Did you have any emergency contact equipment? did you have any plan to contact any Govt. agencies or nearby boats/ships for rescue in any of such unfortunate event you come across?
Thank you for asking all these questions and the appreciation, folks! Questions of a similar nature, so I will try to answer them together here:

@adc: There were multiple scenario+solutions I had envisioned if it came to that (your question).

Solution 1: I drop anchor into water to reduce current drift, take medication+nutrition and wait for recovery for many hours or a night. At any given point of time, I had enough food and water for a week of unassisted emergency. Drop unnecessary luggage into water, and lighten the kayak for easier paddling. Try to reach contacts if I had signal on either of my two cellphones. I had a solar charger with an energy reservoir, so I had an unlimited source of power.

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Solution 2: I wait for passing fishing boats to either tow me and carry my kayak. Most likely scenario. Use whistle or strobe light to attract attention. I had enough AA batteries to continuously light up the Maglite for 48 hours.

Solution 3: I wait for the wind direction to change so I make it to shore with the sail.


@slicvic: No support staff at all, but I am sure Jehan and his partner (from Mandva/Alibag) could send help from one of the many watersports center on the coast in case of emergency.


@PetrolRider: No emergency equipment. Sat phones are illegal, and even radios need permissions. I would have to depend on tools like the mini Maglite, glowsticks, and whistle to attract attention.

There is an excellent device called the Spot Messenger which sends out distress signals using a satellite link and offers position triangulation, but it seems to work everywhere else in the world except India!

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Originally Posted by Indian Ranger View Post
People like you, ADC, Deky are taking the personal enruance to the greatest levels and what a way to showcase it in Team-BHP. Wonderful story telling. Loved every bit of it.
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Originally Posted by avingodb View Post
Can't wait to read more, I also finished reading the entire thread in one go.
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Originally Posted by Dieselritzer View Post
Now this is as epic as it can get, just love your appreciation towards nature, the simplicity around you, and your passion to simply keep going on.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mm403 View Post
You have ended today's thread with a real teaser. Eagerly waiting for next post
Thank you so much for the kind words and for reading my thread. I did not paddle for the next two days (7 & 8), but I had a real mix of unique experiences, so stay tuned to see how it turns out. I personally think that day 7 was absolutely crazy, though I did no paddling at all - you'll read about it soon. Day 8 was cool too, in a way. This trip has been all about extremes.

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Originally Posted by SDP View Post
We, the IT folks, have a completely different meaning for the word "offshore". Thanks for reminding me of the original (& lovely) meaning of that word!
Quote:
Originally Posted by narsi_6989 View Post
The real meaning of 'offshore' is long forgotten in IT field and it feels great to be reminded of the real meaning, that too with a lovely snap. Thanks Kamen_rider
Ha ha, thanks... You should try the 'real' offshoring sometimes, it is an experience to be cherished!



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Originally Posted by Dieselritzer View Post
Are you still stuck in Dapoli?I assume most of the beaches you are touching would not be having any ATMs, or are you carrying a lot of cash? ( i hope no pirate is reading this ;-) Good luck bro.
Hi Ritzer - thank you for the concern! But I am writing this retrospectively, which means I am sitting at my desk, and in the comfort of my own home

I was carrying around Rs.20,000 in cash, in Rs.1000 notes and some tens. And I had a list of EVERY ATM machine on that coast, so I could plan my stops accordingly if needed.

Last edited by Kamen_rider : 16th April 2013 at 21:34.
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Old 17th April 2013, 09:49   #164
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

Just a question, are you in the Armed Forces? The kind of planning and execution you have done, you should be in some strategic and planning department of the armed forces. Hats Off to you Sirji!!
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Old 17th April 2013, 10:50   #165
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

Hey Buddy,
What an adventure!!!...its beyond the imagination of us lesser mortals to even comprehend the planning that goes into an endeavour like this. However, we do have something in common...Subhan guest house, we stayed there on 16th December, guess we missed you by around 10 days.
For all team-bhp members, an heads-up that this is the place to stay when in Shrivardhan. Good food, good people and bang on the beach.

Just one pic to whet your appetite...we had bought these fish off a boat that had just come in to the shore in front of the resort in the morning and Nadeem had it cooked for us

Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!-optimized-3.jpg
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