All the efforts of the small core of organisers led by Darshan Bajaj payed off really well to blossom into a lovely picnic to Elephanta Island.
16 boats - 9 Seabirds and 7 Lightnings - set off from their Gateway moorings around 8 am. on a peaceful Sunday morning. Each boatload of picnic-mode crews started sailing off as and when they got their sails up into quite a misty morning which had become cloudy..and remained such throughout the day. A pleasant cool north-easterly ensured that everyone don their wind-jackets while munching sandwiches and stuff on a port beat to move more East before tacking to head for the sought-out Island. Most boats took about two and three quarters of an hour to reach, with some experiencing blasts from moving ships' sirens warning them to stay clear of the approaching giant. A nice morning breeze for a picnic sail..but did fade of in some patches..and again to reappear.....but we're used to the vagaries of the wind!
The East side of Elephanta has a convenient jetty for our landing in a mechanised boat after anchoring our sailboats a little off. The jetty is bang opposite the JNPT Terminal where the giants dock. It was interesting to see a huge container vessel being nudged and pushed by 2 barges head-on like a bull to get it to dock perfectly alongside the Terminal wharf.
Once on the Island, everyone was handed snacks and soft drinks under an old open shed, where a plastic sheet cover was laid out by an advance party led by Tushar Malvia having gone 2 hours before our landing, very thoughtfully for us to sit, sleep, stand or whatever. Soon groups of us scampered off to explore the Island's history of the famous Elephanta Caves of around 10 AD returning by 1.30pm. to an awaiting lunch sprawled out buffet style. And why wouldn't a good wholesome lunch tapering with sweet desserts keep us all smiling and ready to strike the waters again.
All boats finally set off for home around 3.30 pm. or so. A wonderful westerly afternoon breeze aided with an ebbing tide got us all to our moorings in under one and a half hours. Quite a record and all returned in pristine condition - boats and crews!
Editorial By Bejon Madon
Photos by Anand Mutthaya and Viraf Hansotia