Arrival in Mumbai

Mystic of Holyhead (successor to Lynn Rival)
Rachel and Paul Chandler
Sat 5 Apr 2008 17:04
18:54.95N 72:50.26E

All in all we had a good trip here, covering 1178 nautical miles in 11 days.  We are feeling a great sense of achievement after our longest trip ever and are really excited about being in India.  (The one and only time we were here before was 25 years ago for Sunil and Manju's wedding in New Delhi.)

We sailed over 70% of the way, helped for two days by our spinaker which then disintegrated from old age.  A new, and more modern, lightweight sail is high on this summer's shopping list.  The passage was generally quite comfortable, with only a couple of days of the rock and rolly conditions which can make downwind sailing so trying.

On most days we saw some shipping, which is not surprising given our proximity to the Persian Gulf.  But, we were surprised by the number of fishing vessels far offshore and count ourselves lucky to have avoided entanglement in any of the long floating fishing nets.  Memorable was the chatty fisherman (Iranian or Pakistani) that called us up one evening on Channel 16 to ask us to avoid his 8 mile long net.   After some confusion about which way to turn we managed to go the right way and he was very grateful for our cooperation, seemingly fascinated that we were a British sailing yacht.

As we got closer to Mumbai we came across clusters of fishing boats with shorter nets sometimes marked with a flag at the far end.  Sometimes we would simply come across a collection of buoys with no indication of whether it was safe to pass through them or not.  For the last 100 miles or so we were on constant alert, especially at night when it could be difficult to pinpoint whether any of the boats were moving and in which direction they were fishing.

Our total catch was 3 good-sized fish, not counting a flying fish that landed on the side deck one night.  As we neared India (and our fresh meat stocks were exhausted) we realised that our newly learned skills were not enough to fish successfully in the shallower waters off the coast.

We are still amateurs at star recognition but have learnt to spot the Southern Cross each evening, low on the horizon to the south.  Once the moon rises it disappears.   The flares from the offshore oil fields which we skirted round on our approach to Mumbai were an added dimension to the night horizon.

Our first sight of India

Mumbai is a very large port and we had to wait a while this morning before getting the attention of the port controllers (on the VHF radio).  They are not used to dealing with visiting sailing yachts and, although 9 of the rally yachts were already here, needed a bit of persuasion to let us go into the yacht anchorage without a pilot!   The tides and tidal streams are significant here and were keen to get in on the then rising tide.

Mumbai watrerfront

As usual the first thing to do after anchoring is to start the various processes for customs, immigration and port clearance.  We understand that it could take some days to finalise, depending on just how many forms they can find for us to complete, but the good news is that we are free to go ashore in the meantime.  After a bit of R&R we are now looking forward to sight-seeing (and being the guests of the Royal Bombay Yacht Club) until we continue on to Goa.