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Old 25th March 2013, 16:48   #46
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

Amazing ! is the only word that i can think right now. I Doff my hat in respect. Please share all minutest details with us mortals. Hooked and hitting F5 hoping for your next post.
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Old 25th March 2013, 18:31   #47
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

Kamen_rider, Wish you luck on your endeavor! Just one thing. The inflatable kayak has less stiffer walls, so more work, but that's just a detail when you are so determined!

Also, do post here as well. The kayaking community in India would love to hear about your adventure.

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Old 25th March 2013, 18:47   #48
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

I just couldnt help but get hooked on to this thread. I want to read every episode. This surely is something i am reading for the 1st time on TBHP. Kudos Mate. I have heard of people living their dreams but this is more than that i guess. Take your time to narrate every small incident of your adventure. We all are waiting.
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Old 25th March 2013, 19:49   #49
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

Amazing! I am completely hooked on to this dream adventure.Travelling in a sea and that too in a kayak seems to be a daunting and scary stuff.
Your planning and dedication is really commendable.
This travelgoue reminds me of the movie 'Life of Pi'.
Rated 5 stars.
Waiting eagerly for the remaining movie..err...travelogue.
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Old 25th March 2013, 23:43   #50
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

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You would recall, that in the first episode, I had broken my sail and also realized the need for more dry bags. And one of the pneumatic wheels on the kayak cart wouldn't inflate, and it was useless without it. So I wrote to Holly at airkayaks.com - she promptly checked with Advanced Elements about the sail, and guess what, they agreed to send me a new sail free of cost along with the spare cart wheel! Super nice of Holly and Advanced Elements - they now have a customer for life! So when I bought the dry bags, Holly just put the sail and the wheel in the package along with a complementary deck dry bag - useful for putting small items which need to be accessed frequently. I ordered through UPS saver, so the package containing everything arrived at my office in just three days! With the new gear in place, I was ready for my first full dry run - a day which would simulate a typical day in the expedition. This meant loading my full gear on the kayak, completing a distance of 40 kilometers which was my planned average, and also test out some of my camping equipment, like the stove.

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I had a crazy week at work. Between presentations and the running around, I realized I had caught the bug. Bad cold progressing into a full blown fever, and it seemed that it would peak on the day I planned to leave for my 2nd test run. But I could not cancel the dry run, so I packed a few strips of paracetamol and went to sleep on Friday night, with the alarm set for early Saturday morning. The morning of the drive, I still had high fever, but I sat in the car and headed north on the Bangalore-Pune highway. By the time I reached Kolhapur Mcdonald's, I was feeling delirious, so I wolfed down a McMeal with a couple of Crocins. Boy - the kayak trip had started testing me even before it had begun.

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I felt much better after that and eventually made it to Ganpatipule, and checked into the MTDC hotel on the beach. Luckily, I got a room just right above the path which led down to the sea, which made it convenient for the launch next morning. When Sunday came, I was still feeling feverish, but I had to get up and finish the test run. By 7am, I was on the beach, setting the kayak up. I also decided to insert the metal backbone (pictures in the next episode) for better straight line tracking. The backbone was tricky to install, but luckliy I had practiced assembling it many times on the terrace back in Bangalore. I also made permanent markings on the kayak floor so that the rod aligns straight while installation. So after 45 minutes, I was ready once again - for the 2nd and final test run!

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I learnt from my lesson from the first dry run at Manipal - take your time to read the wave conditions before launch. So after five minutes of surveying the beach, I found an area with mild surf breaks, so I mounted my kayak on the cart and dragged it on the beach till I reached the spot. The 2nd dry run was also a lesson in how to cram the entire expedition luggage on the kayak without compromising stability or weight distribution. I had not perfected the set-up yet, so I ended up putting the kayak bag on the front deck of the kayak which obstructed the view. But after 10 minutes of so of pushing and shoving things around, it was time to launch into the water.

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Since I had chosen the spot carefully, I got past the mild surf breaks very easily and soon I was around half a kilometer away from the coast. Though I felt the extra weight of the luggage when compared to the first dry run, the installation of the backbone made a huge difference. The inflatable kayak cut fast through water as if it was propelled by a motor, and I started doing 7 kmph speeds, even though I encountered mild chops on the waves.

I have been asked this many, many, times now - 'Don't you feel scared in the sea, all alone?'

The fact is that I used to be terrified, initially. Same fear as driving a motorcycle in heavy traffic for the first time. Same fear as making a presentation for the first time to your senior management. Same fear as sleeping alone for the first time when you were little. But like anything else, repetition conquers fear. Do it twice, you feel better. Do it more than a dozen times, and the fear is replaced by a benign feeling of sameness. So you get it now - even kayaking in open waters, surrounded by waters and far away from the coast doesn't scare you anymore once you're used to it. I had reached that stage. But this doesn't mean you are not careful - that I am. Very much so.

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I kept paddling towards the far away cliff leading north of Ganpatipule till it loomed large over me. The waves were a bit rough as the sea crashed below the rocky cliff, and at on several occasions I felt pulled towards the cliff, so I quickly paddled out to a safe distance. Before going to the Jaigarh point, I decided to land on the Varvade beach which was midway of sorts. I pulled in, and soon as I did, I was surrounded by a dozen children from the nearby Varvade village who just stood around the kayak and me, not really knowing what to say. Soon, a few adults walked across from the nearby fishing village and we started talking - they were extremely friendly and very curious to know more about my equipment, though they knew about brands like Garmin. One of the fishermen told me that they used a Garmin fishfinder! I was impressed.

Soon it was time to leave, and the fishermen helped launch the kayak into the sea, and I started paddling north. I reached the Jaigarh point, and though I wanted to go further, I stopped. One, because I had to make it back to Ganpatipule by sundown, and two Jaigarh had transformed from a quiet bay to a commercial port owned by the Jindal. Not exactly the kind of the thing I would enjoy. I have a fear that Ganpatipule's pristine nature is short lived - enjoy it while you can.

I got back to the waters near the Malgund beach in the afternoon and decided to take a quick lunch break. As I paddled towards the shore (I was still a kilometer away), I saw a couple of Jet Ski's come towards me. Fast. I signaled to them to let them know that they should go around me - huge wakes are created by Jet Ski's which can potentially overturn a kayak, or at the very least give the paddler a good drenching. The boys on the water scooters understood, and they stopped a safe distance from the kayak, and I paddled to them. They were young boys (20-22?) from the watersports center at Malgund, and wanted to know where I was from. The conversation was a little funny, this is how it went:

Jet Ski: 'Where have you come from?'

Me: ' The MTDC resort at Ganpatipule.'

Jet Ski: 'Oh. You work there? Are you an instructor at MTDC?'

Me: ' Nope. This is my personal kayak. I am just staying there for two nights. But why did you ask whether I worked there?'

Jet Ski: 'Actually sometime ago, MTDC decided to do start watersports, so they got a kayak. They asked somebody to test the kayak in the sea, and after sometime the guy swam back to the shore without the kayak. The kayak was never found again, and that was the end of watersports at MTDC. The kayak must be be chinese maal, it did not even last one trip.'

I burst out laughing - the boys were explaining it in Hindi (laced with Marathi) so it sounded very funny. After some more talking, I told them I had to head back. They were also bored - after all, how long can you stare at a floating kayak with a full grown man sitting in it? The novelty (if there was any to begin with) wears out fairly quickly.

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There was a deserted spot on the beach a little ahead of the watersports center so I landed there, stretched my back and took out my dehydrated meal, the kettle and the stove. I pumped the fuel can to get to the right spray pressure, and I poured some water in the kettle to boil it. A few minutes later, I poured steaming hot water into the meal and 8 minutes later, I had a nice lunch ready. I looked around for a spoon and realized that I forgot to get it, so I took out my mini-tent shovel and started shoveling the food into my mouth. Ah - nothing like a good meal eaten with a shovel!

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I could feel the start of the late afternoon breeze come over the waters, which meant that I had to get back on water and hurry back. I landed right on the busy beach below my room - I knew that I would be mobbed by people, but it was better than dragging my gear for half a kilometer on unforgiving sand.

Most people have never seen a kayak before in their lives, so the first question they ask me is, 'Where is the engine?' I say, 'No motor'. That pauses them to think. They ask again, ' No motor, pukka?' I nod. They don't get it, and after staring for some time, they walk away. But I like being surrounded by people, because if you ask for help - like carrying my stuff or launching the kayak, people help you. I guess standing around and staring makes them somehow feel that they are obliged to help. I also quickly engage people around in conversation, so everyone feels inclusive and not left out.

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So with a little help, I got everything back in my room. The location of my room was so convenient, I did not even have to go to the front door - I just threw everything in my veranda from outside! So that was it - my 2nd and final dry run before my first ever kayak expedition. And I forgot to add - after paddling for 40 kms and 9 hours, I was cured of fever, cold, headache. Everything. In just one day. Crazy are the ways of the human body.

The next day was spent driving back to Bangalore - made bliss because of fuel sponsorship by one of my colleagues at office. He gave me his Petro card so I had free fuel to Ganpatipule and back. I love you, man.

Next Episode: Day zero. Reaching the launch site, and a visit by an unexpected guest. No paddling, but still an awesome day!

Last edited by Kamen_rider : 25th March 2013 at 23:49.
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Old 25th March 2013, 23:53   #51
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

Hats off indeed for this travelogue! Am going to sit glued to this webpage, refreshing till I see updates!
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Old 26th March 2013, 01:07   #52
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Wonderful thread! Can't wait for further updates.. I did some kayaking at that same Palolem beach some months ago and have been reading similar things about buying a kayak, stowing equipment, etc. but would never have imagined an adventure like yours, hats off to you man!
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Old 26th March 2013, 02:44   #53
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

boss! what you have done is given a turboboost to the travelogue section. Once upon a time ladakh travels, arunachal etc were novel. This is now up there with the big shots, in respect of what one can do in this country. Waiting on your every post (and as someone has said earlier, take your time - we want to savour every bit of this journey), and planning to finetune my swimming now.
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Old 26th March 2013, 04:23   #54
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

What a wonderful narration of each day !!!! The interest in this travelogue is increasing day by day. First of all imagining this kind of activity and then putting a plan together to implement this activity is nothing short of miracle.
This requires lot of committment, strength & will power which god has given you.
Waiting for more installments of this thread
Rated 5*
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Old 26th March 2013, 08:28   #55
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

"I had to make it back to Ganpatipule by sundown, and two Jaigarh had transformed from a quiet bay to a commercial port owned by the Jindal. Not exactly the kind of the thing I would enjoy. I have a fear that Ganpatipule's pristine nature is short lived - enjoy it while you can."

You are right. There was a time when I could take a boat 1KM into the sea and yet see the bottom. Now you dont. Also the color of the water is different. If you are wearing polarised glasses you will see the different color of water near Jaigarh (brownish) mixing with the clean water of the Arabian sea (blueish green). You also need to be carefull of the currents near Jaigarh. There are few cross currents in there!

Thanks for sharing your expereinece. I will never be able to do this. ( Not in physical shape niether have the mental capacity to take the plunge.) Its a motor boat for me always.

Please keep going on these adventures and take care.
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Old 26th March 2013, 08:49   #56
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

This is one very inspiring travelogue Rahul. Hats off to you for trying something so different and challenging! I have one word for you- RESPECT. Now even i am inspired to do something different than the run of the mill things !

Last edited by sagarpadaki : 26th March 2013 at 08:52.
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Old 26th March 2013, 09:02   #57
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

You are just amazing dude. Adventure of/for/by the free spirit.
I think you will give Amish a run for his money with your thrilling adventure.

Your writing is excellent as well.
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Old 26th March 2013, 09:35   #58
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

Tell you what. Earlier, I was like what can better this http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...i-cycling.html (Goa conquered!! After 587.73km and 29hrs of bi-cycling).

I was spellbound then. And So I am now.

Absolutely amazing feat and equally well put down to the minutest of details. Its another bible coming through. There got to be zip mouth smiley somewhere we got to find. There is nothing one can say on such things. Thanks for sharing. I am glued from the moment it started pouring in.
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Old 26th March 2013, 10:11   #59
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

How very interesting.

I could literally taste the ocean when you mentioned your kayak capsized and you tasted saltwater. I am glued to this thread!

Ever thought of advertising for Mountain Dew? Darr ke aage jeet hain

Fantastic travelogue. Rated five stars.
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Old 26th March 2013, 11:03   #60
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Default Re: Going solo at 5 kmph - Mumbai to Goa in an inflatable kayak!

I'd be really interested in understanding more about your training preparation and nutrition/hydration plan for this trip
  • Are there India-equivalent RTE meals that you considered
  • What was the daily estimated calorie burn
  • Hydration - I understand that you beach at the end of every day but there's still the risk of getting potable water. What did you use? Steripen types?

Oh, one final one, can you show how small the kayak packs down to in real conditions (aka not factory-fitted precision!) Sorry for all the questions

Last edited by mobike008 : 26th March 2013 at 22:53. Reason: Please do not quote images, text or videos. Next time infraction
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