1st of May I completed two years employment onboard Kalizma. Wow, times run fast the older you get.
The noise of the IPL scandal has since then died down and nothing is being heard of Modi either - yesterdays news...
4th May I signed a years contract to continue on Kalizma as Captain as well as to assist in relief work on other yachts and maintaining the local fleet.
On the 7th I met Avnish and Eddy Powis Jr from Phuket at the Mumbai yacht club. We had a nice dinner at Aashim's flat. His daughters were entertaining us with Bollywood dancing.
The Mumbai yacht club
Next Sunday went having Biryani lunch in Alibaug at Avnish & Bijoya's pad. The weather was fine but the humidity was really killing this weekend.
Otherwise working days went chasing up quotes and prices as well as doing routine maintenance. Sunil has been busy trying to find a fitter to come and assist him in engineering works. Saini is on leave. I also had some meetings with RINA regarding our commercial certification issues. I believe this will come to an end when I return from my leave in July.
Richard is applying for his UK visa as he is due to become a castle guardian in Scotland. He'll enjoy the single malt in the cold winters there.
Sunil is again getting his visas to go to UK and complete his Y3 and Y4 certifications as well as a short visit to France to get familiarized with pre- & post- maintenance of an offshore Cigarette boat that does 90 knots.
24th I do a short visit to Crawford market with Sunil and fit 2 kurtas for me, Sunil fitted one. There was no bargaining involved as all shopkeepers had started with fixed prices. Hardly could we negotiate 70 Rs down. I also shopped for some souvenirs for my family as I was going to Finland for vacation. Thailand and The Red Shirt demonstrators are at the moment a bit too restless for my taste. So, I'll go to my home country for the first time since 2004.
Sunil & me in our new kurta's
26th I join Cmde Mongia to do a recce up to Borivali to check out berthing for the smaller yachts in Mumbai. We pass the CST container terminal, Elephanta Island, the oil terminals and the unfinished Reliance bridge. There is some land claims taking place and I believe a small marina in the making.
Land filling at Reliance bridge
Lifting smaller yachts for rain season storage
I could see numerous barges being loaded to the hatch coaming with riversand and discharging it for the landfill. At the same time Aashim was already lifting up yachts for rain season storage on the rented field. I also met Bob Pinto who was also checking out the area for storing is own yacht.
We met the small marina manager, the son of Ganesh Naik, MLA and had a chat with him. They are planning to build a clubhouse soon and dredge the pier for some more docking space. It will be a nice smallboat marina if this takes place.
On the way back we stopped by the Princess dock and I could see that landfill preparations were underway but had not yet started. The pier was loaded with big cement blocks just waiting to be dumped into the sea. Custom house was still berthing their launches inside Princess docks. The seawall was occupied by various wrecks, we had actually a pending application for their berth. The Cross Island islet seemed to have lost all its vegetation and some elevation as I believe it'll be leveled for land reclamation.
Princess docks entrance & cement blocks
Our berthing issue has yet to be resolved as the Mumbai Port Trust is dragging their legs and refusing to grant anything for the yacht Owners (not only us). The MPT has this very low intelligence plan to convert the Victoria and Princess docks to a container terminal.
I see it as a money racket to milk the central government of subsidies. For years to come. One opinion I heard was that the area would be covered and made into a container terminal and when the protests about the container trucks clogging up the city would rise to unbearable levels they would justify more land claims at the seawall and then develop it into housing area (meanwhile pumping money out of the central government by the bucket load).
The CST container terminal
If MPT would have any sense of honesty and integrity I think they should start developing the housing project straight away and forego their plans of graft. There is already a big container terminal (CST) on the other side of the Bay handling the incoming cargo to Mumbai. Writing about issues like this is easy but having scratched the surface a bit about the complexity of Indian democracy and politics, I also realize that nothing is easy in India and certainly not on issues where money is involved (is it anywhere?). Everyone has an opinion and a voice to contribute. E.g. the sealink project in Bandra easing the Mumbai traffic north has taken the government 14 years to complete.
A local "yachtsman"
Today the MPT decision makers are at station and hopefully we will have a positive reply in the next few days. Saini will though have to make the transit as I will be enjoying my vacation. Also congratulations for his promotion as officiating Master on Kalizma during my absence.
Fishing vessels leaving for Gujarat upon end of season