LONDON: An Indian Navy sailing team out to make history as the first-ever voyage by an all-women crew to circumnavigate the globe is now docked at Port Stanley, the capital of Falkland Islands – a British Overseas Territory.
The six crew of the Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Tarini started their maiden voyage on September 10 from Goa and is expected to complete it in about eight months.
INSV Tarini entered the port earlier this week after covering approximately 15,000 nautical miles since setting off from Goa, crossing the Equator, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn.
The vessel is captained by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, with her crew comprising Lieutenant Commanders Pratibha Jamwal and P Swathi, and Lieutenants S Vijaya Devi, B Aishwarya and Payal Gupta.
"It is always a surprise when nature catches you unaware just when you are lost into its mesmerising beauty, such as our awe when we witnessed the Auroras – the southern lights… only a lucky few get to witness this at sea," said Lt.
Aishwarya, who has been maintaining an online blog of the group’s experiences.
The indigenously-built INSV Tarini is a 56-foot sailing vessel, which was inducted in the Indian Navy last year and the voyage is described as a showcase of the 'Make in India' initiative on an International forum.
They’re here! #INSVTarini is moored in Stanley. We’re so proud to welcome these adventurous ladies and look forward to their time with us. His Excellency The Governor and MLA Stacy Bragger were there to greet the crew. pic.twitter.com/tZTW5V5Aqu— Falkland Islands Gov (@FalklandsGov) January 21, 2018
The vessel and the crew experienced rough weather and stormy winds during their passage across the Pacific Ocean, which spanned 41 days. This coupled with the extremely cold climatic conditions of the region, involved winds in excess of 60 knots and waves of up to 7 meters.
The expedition, titled 'Navika Sagar Parikrama', was flagged off by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as part of the national initiative to empower women to attain their full potential. It also aims to showcase Nari Shakti" on the world platform and help revolutionise societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India, by raising visibility of their participation in challenging environs.
The vessel is scheduled to return to Goa in April, and will set off for Cape Town in South Africa on February 4. The first port halt was at Fremantle, Australia, in October 2017, the second at Lyttelton, New Zealand, in November and now Port Stanley, Falkland Islands.
The crew has been collating and updating meteorological, ocean and wave data on a regular basis for accurate weather forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), as also monitoring marine pollution on the high seas. They have been interacting extensively with the locals, especially children, during their port halts to promote ocean sailing and the spirit of adventure.