EID FESTIVAL HOLIDAYS 3-DAY TRIP TO BALOCHISTAN
I am writing this Log primarily for the sailors as many things which are written in here only apply to Sailing Boats. I admit if the power boater wishes to make an overnight trip than he will find many things of his interest.
The colour of water is of great interest to the sailor not only for its esthetic beauty but it also shows depth and the wind.
I, Humayun Qureshi and my friends had been toying with the idea of taking an overnight trip on a sail boat somewhere. Now came the great opportunity of 5 consecutive EID holidays.
A friend of mine, Zia, called me and convinced me to take the trip in these holidays. Hence we set forth organizing the various aspects of the trip: the fun, the safety and the logistics. Working up to the trip was also a great pleasure. But since no one had done this before, we were a bit apprehensive as to how the sea would be in the night, where do we sleep and are there enough places to visit once we leave the safety of our Club?
The final departure:
The 3rd day of Eid festival holidays came and we left for the harbor where we had sent the boats a day earlier. We had the day before sent and put all the provisions and our luggage into the boat and asked our tindals to take the boat to the Karachi Harbor. (Al's note: I found the following definition for tindal on line:
\Tin"dal\, n. [From the native name: cf. Malayalam ta??al.] 1.
A petty officer among lascars, or native East Indian sailors; a
boatswain's mate; a cockswain. [India] --Malcom.
We put the Wayfarer in tow behind the J-22 and started the journey. The wind was good, the temperature was cool. The prediction on the internet was good winds in the day and the night for the next 2 days. We had found a great site on the internet called the “Weather Underground”. This had wind prediction of almost all areas in Pakistan, every small city. The prediction was that the wind would be approximately 8 knots in the day and 15 in the night. The night temperature would be at 8 degrees and the day temperature at 18 deg.
The wind on the day of our departure, Friday the 28th Nov. had started from early morning. We left the harbor around 1 pm. We were a couple of kilometers offshore as the area of Hawkesbay is a curling beach and hence we took a beeline to our expected arrival point. This was a small village called Abdur-Rehman Goth. By 5 pm we had got to Abdur-Rehman Goth, anchored the boat and went on shore.
As what is expected, all villagers are quite nice and very friendly. Here we bought some nans from a hotel there. This hotel is located on the main Hawkesbay Road, just outside Abdur Rehman Goth. These people made us some nans and hot tea, which we brought back to the boat.
The people of this village are non-Muslim, they are from a religion called Zikri. They have the mosques which are the Zikri mosques. They also seem to be the largest fishing village in this area with a number of boats of various sizes. While we were busy talking to them on the Beach, they explained to us that they owned various sizes fishing launches. They fish in all seasons including the monsoon months of June and July.
They were very happy to see our sail boats. They also used sail boats for fishing 10 years ago. Now on the same boat they are using engines. I wondered to myself how these boats which had no keel would be used with a sail. However, my question was soon answered when they explained to me that they use a plank to sit on like they use on the Bunder boats.
We used the Wayfarer to go back to the anchored J-22. The Wayfarer was our kitchen and the nook. The Sea Eagle is very broad from inside and when you take out the seats you have a 2-meter space to do whatever you wish. Here we opened our cooked tinned food, heated it up, made some coffee and tea, and had our dinner.
As you might expect, the darkness comes very fast on the sea; it was 7.30 pm when all around us was complete darkness, except the beach at Abdur Rahman Goth which was very well lighted. For those people who want to venture on an overnight trip, I would suggest this to be a good camping area, because if you do need to go on shore in the night, it is well lit.
As is the custom in the small villages, all people go to sleep after dusk and so did we. We slept on the J-22, 2 in the cabin inside and 3 outside. As was predicted, the wind picked up in the night and gusted to what seemed to be a lot more than 15 knots, but then again I have never experienced high wind conditions in the open sea. The night was quite comfortable, the rocking of the boat was even more pleasurable as I had accepted the fact that while at sea this would be the case.
The high tide apparently brings stronger wind along with it. Which meant more rocking.
After going through the morning rituals, we started the journey. Our plan was to go to the French Beach area, however we ventured much farther, thanks to my friend, Zia. We went right out to the Lighthouse which is off Charna. The wind was still quite strong; we glided along at an excellent speed. I was a bit apprehensive as my friend, Zia was putting up a spinnaker on the Wayfarer. However, everything went on smoothly. Initially, we thought he will not be able to make it back to the French Beach and we might have to anchor at Nathia-gali or somewhere on the way, perhaps the Power House. However, the wind was good and everything seemed to go very smoothly and we were back by 5 pm and at this occasion we anchored the boat off French Beach. There was a lot more confidence in us, as a lot of common myths about the sea were gone. After all it did not take all that long even on the sail boats and the journey was quite comfortable.
Finally we were back on the land and this time we cooked on the land and had our dinner. Sort of quite tired as we had been in the sea for the whole day. We slept at the room available next to the mosque. Those people were very kind. They wanted to provide us with pillows and blankets, however we thanked them as we had brought our own sleeping bags but it felt good. There were at least 8 to 10 people from the village who came and asked if we needed anything else.
Next morning we had cooked our breakfast, had our tea and were about to leave when we saw a number of villagers coming with a heavy feast which was very tempting and of course we ate again.
We left at 8.30 in the morning; the winds were much lower. This time I was on the Wayfarer and Zia was on the J-22. We set off and decided to race till Manora. J-22 obviously had the advantage that it would beat much better, especially in the low wind condition. They went far into the sea and we did some coastal hugging and pointing towards the wrong direction which we thought was Manora, as the day was quite hazy and we could not see very clearly. However, we met up at Manora. Here they were in the lead and we were behind and the second race started to the Sun-well. Primarily, because of better tactics and navigation we got down to Sun-well much earlier than the J-22. We waited for a while just to make sure when we thought they did not have very good navigation. Then we proceeded towards the Marina Club. The time of hitting the Bundle Island was 1 pm. This meant even in the low wind condition and with some fooling around, we had reached here in 4-1/2 hours from the French Beach. I think we could have saved another 45 minutes to an hour had we not gone the wrong direction which meant that we had been beating for quite a distance instead of reaching.
Here we entered the Marine Club with the wind from behind which was perhaps 2 to 3 knots. We started with our spinnakers in the air and arrived at Marina Club. Here we were given a royal treatment; everybody around welcomed us, and took some photographs. This was the largest venture anybody had done on a sail boat from this club. They were all very happy to see us. They had rescue boats ready in case we required them.
I now feel it is much easier than we had anticipated. There are a quite few things we have learnt from the Trip. Let me summarize as below: