HYDERABAD: Sailing a 44-ft Bavaria Class yacht, the expeditation was conducted to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Electronic and Mechanical Engineering (EME) wing in the Indian army. The expedition lasted 42 days and they sailed from Haldia to Porbandar. The motive of the expedition was to draw attention to ocean pollution.
The entire expedition was under the flag ship of Lt Gen KK Agarwal SM and Col Comdt Eme Corps, permitted by Army Adventure Wing, conducted by EME Sailing Association under Lt Gen Paramjeet Singh ,SM ,Comdt MCEME.
Sharing their experiences from the expedition, the sailors had much to say. “The bon homie that we shared among each other and with the other wings of Defence was very heartwarming. Although we interact we rarely ever have time to work this intensely with each other,” says Lt Sonal.
The crew was a mix of first-time sailors, competitive sailors and also experienced ones who all got their chance at helming the vessel. They went through rigorous training for about a month in Mumbai and Chennai before they went on for the expedition. This training not only included the physical and technical preparation for the expedition but also the mental training for it. The planning, training and conduction was undertaken by Major Alok Kumar Yadav for whom the crew is all praise.
“We are trained to expect the unexpected and to keep the environment light and friendly. Everybody is everybody’s responsibility,” says Lt Sonal who also shares that they took turns to steer during the nights. The ocean also was beautiful through the strain of the expedition. “We saw dolphins, interacted with local fishermen, and also saw luminous marine life in the nights!” says Captain Rashmi who . She also shares that the expedition was an experience that will add tremendously to their record as it is the longest ever and she despite being a first-timer was a part of.
Sea sickness isn’t uncommon to anyone and they admit that they were instructed to learn how to cook before they went onboard. Ram Mohan, who is originally from Mangalore and is posted here shares that he was finding it difficult to adjust, and that he could barely sleep with the constant movement of the boat. The most proud they all seemed was about the time a fishing net got tangled under the boat and how they all pitched together to ensure safety even though it was during the night.
“It was a personal experience as much as it was a team experience,” says Capt Rashmi as the rest nodded in agreement.
— Srividya Palaparthi