Saturday, 31 December 2011

You've come a long way, baby

As it turned out, I ended up extending my stay on the Trident a total of three days. Yes, it wasn't fun, but hey, those were about the quietest laziest days I'd had all trip! So that was nice, being able to take the time to take a look around. And then I was off on my first helo ride in eighteen months!

This is supposed to be a short break for me, barely a couple of weeks left. Assuming I get the visa in time that is. Ah yes, my favourite travel prerequisite strikes again! Turns out I'm headed for Angola again. Those who've read some of my posts from about three years ago would know exactly how that makes me feel... I have been told, however, that there is a new airport in Luanda. I will reserve judgement for now.

A new boat, a new crew, lots of things and people I don't know the first thing about, and all that in waters that bring back the worst memories. Seems like the new year is about to get to a fun start :(. But let's ignore that for the moment.

It looks like I never quite managed to get to writing about those last couple of days in Lisbon, neither did I manage that detailed account of the surfing and diving trip from last break. I can only say that this year seems to have pulled the throttle wide open and left me somewhat out of breath right at the end!

It's been one of those years, I bounced around all over the place! For work, and otherwise, come to think of it. Starting with the mountains and desert trails of Saudi Arabia and the Connecticut snow, through the seriously insane distances driven on interstate highways, Mexico, the cruise through the Med and that week spent mostly in or around water at Mulki and Murudeshwar, and finally the utterly crazy last trip on the Trident and festive times spent at home. It's been a year with a bit of everything. Except office rotations, of course :).

I figure there isn't much point saving up these photographs for later, so this is pretty much all that I've been waiting to put up for the last couple of months.

Let's hope the new year brings more moments worthy of photographs (and that I'm in a position to click 'em as they come :D). And while I'm only too aware of the dangers of getting what I ask for, I wouldn't mind another year of (hopefully) nice surprises and crazy travelling and running into all those people I want to run into, somewhere, somehow.

Happy New Year! :)

Currently: crossing fingers
Listening to: Adele - Someone like you

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Groundhog day

I'm repeating myself, but this needs to be here as a reminder. You shouldn't make too big a deal out of the last day. If you do, they'll cancel your chopper and give you another day on the boat :|.

I've missed crew change lots of times. But this would have to be the first time because of weather. I know, I know, I've come close a few times! But the irony of it is that the weather's not even really that bad! Just bad enough.

In an attempt to keep things somewhat adult and avoid turning this into a complete 'waa-haa I wanna go home' rant, I shall admit to the fact that I have finally decided to give in. I'm planning on getting myself a Kindle. Not the Fire. Just one of those regular little ones, maybe the touch.

Not sure how fine-print laden the two month battery life spec is. But the whole carrying books around and worrying about running out of stuff to read thing is getting old. Maybe I'll carry around a paperback too. But just one :).

Not looking forward to the unavoidable check-in bag...

Currently: still here
Listening to: Groove Armada - My friend

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Curtain call

Now that it's almost done, I suppose I should mention some of the good things this trip. (What good things?! One part of my mind, benumbed by much of what has gone on these past five weeks, asks incredulously!)

I'd pick the 'window', I think, as the real high point! Matched with a sunrise to sunset shift at a respectably ordinary latitude, it doesn't trouble the sleep cycle, but does give you a better bearing of what's up with the world, so to speak. I even caught a sunrise this morning! Too bad the salt stains make for horrible photos :).

It's been a busy trip. Which is probably a good thing. Seeing how for over a week now I've known that this is my last trip here, and with more time on my hands, I'd undoubtedly have obsessed about it. More than I already am that is :D.

There's some symmetry to it I suppose. But in retrospect, I think I'll rather keep that to myself. Something about perceived significance versus reality.... One thing is true though, the only other trip when I was quite certain I was unlikely to ever see the Trident again as it disappeared over the horizon, was my first! Six and a half years later, am I leaving a very different person?

I guess I'll find out when I get to my next new boat :).

Currently: facing the 'to take or not to take' quandary
Listening to: Nirvana - Jesus don't want me for a sunbeam

Thursday, 8 December 2011


Sometimes life is being left suspended. With other lives swirling all about you. For the most part you're in the thick of things. But then something makes you stop, take a look around. And you feel left out. And it hurts.

Life's like that. And when it's the beginning of an end you think about everything else. A lot of little things, mostly. But then it's something you've been expecting, and you don't know what to think.

There's that thing about Chinese curses isn't it? May you live in interesting times. Well, it appears I am about to. And I'm dreading it.

Currently: disconnected
Listening to: Radiohead - Worrywort

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Alt + Enter

We're back in the Gulf. Have been for about a week now, actually. But the way things have been going has been, shall we say, less then ideal. But such is life.

I still haven't been able to get around to taking pictures. I mean not really. One sunset, a couple of sunrises. That's not much to show for over three weeks at sea :). But it's better than nothing.

Which kinda sums this trip up for me really. Much of the time I find myself tempted to run around yelling, "Really?!! Really?!!! This had to happen? Right now?!!!" But before I do, I remember that it could be worse :).

Currently: Radioheaded
Listening to: Radiohead - Idioteque

Monday, 28 November 2011

Vanishing act?

The Bermuda Triangle! I remember reading a book once, and this must have been close to twenty years ago now, but it had made quite an impression! Of course, the exact details of the matter are a bit hazy. But now that we are sailing through the very same waters, I can't stop feeling intrigued by the whole mystery.

Physically the Bermuda Triangle has the island of Bermuda, San Juan (the capital of Puerto Rico) and Miami as its three extreme points. So, given the present day state of sea freight in and out of the Gulf of Mexico to the east, on any given day there are many vessels within this once feared part of the ocean and clearly, it's lost some of that fearsome reputation :).

The theories behind the supposed disappearances are as varied as they are spectacular. But none of them seem quite credible enough. And given that we've been sailing across the triangle under clear skies and fairly beautiful weather for over half a day, I suppose the terror has disappeared just like all those ships!

Currently: trailing Sargasso
Listening to: Creed - With arms wide open

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A sea of shadows

I think I've mentioned this before, but not in some time. Seeing how I haven't actually been on the boat during a transit in three years :). I love bad weather at sea, but only when we are transiting. Otherwise, there's the headache caused by fear of losing the tons of really expensive annoyance we tow around.

Unfortunately, this time I haven't been able to spend as much time as I would like to staring at the wilderness of white-capped waves. Nonetheless, the transit has had the calming effect of an interlude. We've got another week or so till we land up in the West Indies.

It's been a rather strange week :). I find myself rather surprised at how I seem to be doing quite okay, really! Not that I shouldn't be doing okay. Or so I am told :). It's quite nice of people to lie to you once in a while.

While I have taken absolutely no photos yet this trip (despite being awake for sunrises and sunsets) I should really get to the ones from what appears to be my last visit to Lisbon for the foreseeable future. But time has this uncanny ability to slip by even as it seems to be standing quite still...

Currently: trans-Atlantic
Listening to: Chicane - What am I doing here? (part 2)

Friday, 18 November 2011

Bubbles in an empty glass

Sometimes you've just got to let go of some part of your mind. Preferably the bit that keeps reminding you that you are this close to losing it! Every other waking second! Yup, it's been that kind of a start to the trip. What can I say? :)

I'm tired, unbelievably so. But I'm hoping the next two weeks weathering the Atlantic will help. The odds of that aren't exactly staggeringly awesome though. Oh well. Anyway, point of this exercise was supposedly to post some parting shots of Lisbon. It appears I'm too tired to do even that :-<.

Feeling: battered
Listening to: Feist - Comfort me

Friday, 11 November 2011

Here and there

So what have I been up to the last couple of weeks then? Travelling mostly! And for the first week, to out of the way places I'd barely even heard of before :).

The original plan was to head to the Lakshadeep Islands for a week of diving. But last minute cancellations from the dive centre left us in a bit of a lurch, and the need was for some drastic steps. These ended up taking the form of a few days at an ashram about 30 km from Mangalore where we tried to learn to surf as best as we could. And then another few days at Murudeshwar, diving!

While I was at it, I even managed to get that Advanced OWD certification :D. To top it off we decided to spend a supremely lazy few hours in Goa on the way back to Bombay, which is where I am now!

As usual, the city continues to surprise me with the ever increasing volumes of traffic it seems to be able to fit within its narrow congested roads while maintaining a certain festivity about it all. But maybe that's just me visiting after a couple of years.

Well, that'll be all in this rather hurried update. A more detailed account of the surfing/ diving trip will have to wait. I'm not here for long, unfortunately, the weekend will see me heading back to the ship. A process that promises to be rather long. Let's hope the unpleasantness is restricted to that.

Currently: marvelling at the multitude of surfing/ diving bruises!
Listening to: Red Hot Chili Peppers - The adventures of Rain Dance Maggie

PS: Finally! Photos!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Fountains of sparks

I hate it when things begin to happen all at once. Ok, let me rephrase that, I get annoyed when things I don't care about in the least, start intruding on time I'd set aside for other things. Like sorting out my coin collection for instance. Something I haven't done in years! The fact that others may find the priorities precisely reversed doesn't really make it any less annoying :|. I guess that makes me a selfish person. Oh well.

Anyway, a rather belated Happy Diwali to all! As it turned out, this was the first time I was back with family and celebrating the Festival of Lights with fireworks in a decade! (I hate round numbers like that. Seems made up. Nonetheless, it is actually true in this case. I checked :|.)

Of course, that merely meant that I was hanging around the fringes, trying not to choke on the concentrated fumes of spent fireworks while grinning profusely as the often unpredictable, occasionally belligerent but always delightfully colourful and bright fireworks worked their magic! Ever since a misguided rocket had charred some of my clothing back in junior school, I've been rather circumspect about these things. It was endlessly amusing however, to see my mum join my aunts, uncles, neighbours and some completely random party crashers in having an absolute blast :D.

Around the same time, I decided it would be a good idea to get some serious reading done. I'd started with Sea of Poppies sometime during my flights back home. Somehow, the story, almost from the beginning, caught me a little unaware, beginning as it does somewhere in the middle. But it might also be because being settled firmly in a reality quite familiar to me, it was at odds to most of my reading of the past few months.

The familiarity, however, was riddled with such a profusion of languages (or rather variations thereof) that it added a whole sub-plot by itself, it seemed to me :). Thing with reading a book quickly is that the days seem to intertwine with the story. I was so immersed in the goings-on aboard the Ibis that the end came upon me quite suddenly!

One might say the book begins and ends somewhere in the middle. We are left to devise any future we wish for the protagonists. But such is life, I suppose, and any tale can merely touch upon some small part of its flow. I couldn't really have asked for a better break from my immersion in fantasy :). But now, as I prepare to run away again, chasing haphazardly made plans towards a dubiously diaphanous kind of joy (hopefully, that is, and no broken bits), I've got the next two Artemis Fowl books to keep me company :).

Currently: looking forward to the next fortnight!
Listening to: KT Tunstall - Uummannaq song

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Zig zags

It's shaping up to be something of a busy break. Already! Ah yes, I am on break :). Got off on time too! Despite the weather throwing more last minute curve balls.

Anyway, like I said, busy break. Within five hours of landing up in Cal, I was off already. And within 48 I was back again! Incidentally, as it turns out, the name of the state has changed since I'd been in country last, and no one seems absolutely sure as to how it is spelt any more :|.

Not that I particularly mind spending all of six days in town, in three pieces. It's Diwali time, and the thunderous fireworks have begun early! Can be rather uncomfortably startling when one goes off particularly close by :(.

To top it all off though, there is that diving trip to look forward to!! Right, I've had enough of trying to type sensibly on this stupid keyboard in the dark, so I'm just gonna stop.

Currently: sleepy :)
Listening to: KT Tunstall - The entertainer

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Mighty rollers

Data, I suppose, is only as good as one's ability to interpret it. Happily so, in this case :).

The weather is awful! We are sitting around twiddling our thumbs at the moment. But at the same time it is benign enough to render all the doubts and drama over crew-change completely unnecessary! I shall not bother explaining how that is ;).

Having said that, of course, we are not off the boat yet, so I shall not get too carried away.

Currently: counting down hours!
Listening to: Black Eyed Peas - Just can't get enough

Thursday, 13 October 2011


It was all going so well :|. Well, nothing earth-shatteringly awesome or anything, but things were definitely not going terribly. I'm almost done with Season 5 of NCIS, slowly warming up to the new book. Quietly slipping into the last week rituals... Not any more!

The bad thing about 5-day weather forecasts is that you know what's about to happen, but can do absolutely nothing about it :(. (I suppose one could choose to ignore the info, but thus far the thing's never been wrong. :S)

Just when I'd started making more last-minute(ish) plans too!! I could resort to the usual 'why me?!!' type rant I guess, but why bother? And no, I have to admit, this doesn't happen all the time. Come to think of it, working where we are and the time of the year, it would've been nothing short of miraculous if we didn't have at least one or two crew changes blown off the tracks by the weather.

That, and the dozen or so days of buffer time is currently keeping me from going completely ape shit. I mean come on!! I haven't been diving in like two years!!! And now that I have a plan, things have to... Okay, I did say I wouldn't. So I wont. For now. And maybe, they've got it wrong! (I know, even I don't really believe that :-<.)

Currently: grrrrr
Listening to: Radiohead - Bulletproof... I wish I was

Friday, 7 October 2011

Experiments in nocturnal illumination

Ever follow a train of thought till it makes absolutely no sense?

Here's an idea, the devil in the details. The small, everyday, supposedly ordinary details. There appear to be in most of us a number of idiosyncrasies that masquerade like any other completely natural thing to do. Music, or rather the ever-growing confusion of random favourites. Shifting priorities on things that do or do not happen while you are sleep... (I mean, why even bother?! You're asleep!) Anyway, you get the idea. Or not.

Which brings me right to something that's been at the back of my mind for a while now. Assumptions, the really basic ones. For the longest time I held the notion, probably like anyone with a reasonably developed ego, that I know best what's going on inside my head. After all, it is, in fact, my head. Or rather, that if I were to make an effort, put some work into it, then I'd most likely be the one with the best chance of figuring things out.

And then someone I have infinite respect for literally laughed to my face. Well, didn't laugh out loud. More like an amused sigh while muttering under her breath something to the effect that there were whole books that proved me precisely wrong. And that it had nothing to do with one's proficiency in psychology. After the customary initial violent indignation subsided, I decided to take her word for it.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Of all the things that we take as self evident, with or without proof in any form. Foundations for our very lives. Built slowly and probably (although admittedly, not necessarily) meticulously. How much of it is really just hollow? About to crumble at the slightest test of real weight.

Damn! Right? Or maybe, who cares?! But shouldn't we? Care that is. And that's just one thing. You see what I mean?

Currently: weathered down
Listening to: Red House Painters - All mixed up

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


There has appeared on our boat, quite recently, a person who looks almost exactly like Hugh Jackman's Wolverine! He had a full beard, and then I suppose he took it upon himself to experiment with facial hair for want of anything better to do... Why is that worth the time it took to type it? Dunno, I was just sufficiently amused to make the effort :).

I have long had a grievance against browser sourced geographical info based advertising. But this I thought was really quite annoying. I was immersed within the pages of IMDb, as I often am, poring over new releases I won't get the chance to see on a proper big screen. Which is when I noticed a new innovation. Well, it might not be new, but I only just noticed. Anyway, down one side there's this whole list of movies 'in theatres near you'. Or so they say. Only, I find it irritating in the extreme when someone (or something) tries to tell me that there are at least a dozen films I want to watch 'showing within five miles' of me as I sit on a boat, sailing around in circles, half a day's ride away from the nearest point of land :|.

Yes, this title was more to the point than most. On other fronts, this year's Durga Pujo is halfway over by now I suppose. So is this trip. Yay.

Currently: bored, kinda
Listening to: Skunk Anansie - Search and destroy