My First Voyage

Life Aboard a Ship

After completing my training at T. S. Rajendra at Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), I joined as an apprentice in Shipping Corporation of India in the winter of 1982. I remember there were four of us from that class of '82, who had joined M.V. Kalidas, berthed at Indira Docks in Mumbai. It was around nine in the evening. We were asked to go on deck the moment we boarded, so as to get the hang of things. It was a container vessel. None of us had a clue regarding the nature of operations being carried out. We were complete stangers in these new surroundings. It was quite a while before we were allowed into our cabins.
The next day we were to set sail for the ocean. After completion of loading, we secured the vessel for sea, and cast off to start my maiden voyage. Aquaba, Jordan was destined to be my first foreign port. For the first few days I could barely make out if she was moving because of "sea like mirror" conditions. Gradually, though vibrations from the main engines made me aware of her making headway.
This vessel was at that time a "cadet ship" with only a few old seamen in the deck side. There were fourteen of us cadets who did everything that is required of a seaman on board. It was a great learning experience. We made our usual newbie mistakes and the seniors had all the fun.
From Aquaba, it was Baltimore, my first port in the US of A. On the way we faced a severe storm in the Atlantic which gave us the first first hand experience of turbulance at sea. It was amusing at times to see everything moving uncontrollably from one side to the other as the vessel rolled. Some boys got sick. The working conditions became tough especially with huge waves pounding the main deck. We had to occasionally go and check the securing arrangement of containers lest they get washed away with the waves. It was pretty scary to be on deck with the angry ocean showing no signs of mercy. It was exciting at the same time, as such things are, at that age. Finally, we cleared the storm and berthed at Baltimore. It was the breathtaking Great lakes, with US on one side and Canada on the other, next in our voyage. We went right up to Duluth, Minnesota. It was great transiting the lakes even though we had to work round the clock while passing the locks.
That was my first ocean voyage and today many years later, I would soon be sailing another first as the person in command. A long voyage, I guess for the boy of eighteen then who will be meeting more boys of eighteen now, on their first voyage. I haven’t been sailing as much as I should have so as to be with the family, especially during the growing up years of our son. Now that he is a big boy, I guess I would be going to sea more often then I had been lately.
I was in Delhi late last month to fix my next employment. I would be leaving soon for my next assignment. Though it is going to be pretty hectic as a first time Captain, I am sure I would get some time to do a post once in a while.
The weather had been freaky this time here with “The Monsoons” arriving way too early and May being the new July this year.

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On one of my brisk walking sessions while in Delhi, along the perimeter of a natural lake, I found this lucky bird in her front yard enjoying the sundown.

First Life 360 - A blog of humor, nature and spirituality
The Lake View Nest

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Liane Schmidt said...

Beautiful picture.

Best wishes.


-Liane Schmidt.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Super post and photo. :D How cool you must have traveled passed me within a mile or two on Lake Huron when you were on that voyage. It's a small world.


Zatil said...

You have great pictures in here. You took the photos your self?
Ever thought of joining to post your great photos?

Ren said...

Amazing shot!


lareine said...

that's a very beautiful picture... i love the tree outline against the twilight dusk... and the bird, like humans must surely be enjoying the view while resting after a long day... and congrats for being a captain! i wish you all the luck in your first voyage as the captain of the ship --- no stormy weather nor a turbulent sea... bon voyage :)

Paula said...

That is a fantastic shot! Amazing adventure for an eighteen year old!Your posts are so interesting and well written.I look forward to them. Congratulations, you are a captain now! P.S.Thank you for the comment on my blog. I appreciate it.