Mar 272022
Review: Journey To The Edge Of The Earth – A True Adventure
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Title: Journey To The Edge Of The Earth

Author: Joeanna Rebello Fernandes

Illustrator: Missy Dunaway

Publisher: Penguin

Type: Paperback

Pages: 224

Age group: 13 years+

Cdr Abhilash Tomy is accorded the supreme honour of being the first Indian ever to go round the world on a solo sea journey.  This challenging solo circumnavigation mission was the dream vision of Admiral Awati. 

This is a book about solitary glory, amidst howling winds, tearing sails, and no one in sight. Except for the occasional ‘flying fish’. 

Yes, for lovers of Hollywood classics, this is Titanic with the tilt, Jaws with the danger, and the Poseidon Adventure with the fear. 

It’s about our hero, one man, against the forces of nature. The infinite blue ocean and a single boat, tossed by wind and wave. 

The year 2012 marked this historic journey of a lifetime, and Cdr Abhilash was awarded the Kirti Chakra for his heroism, as he circumnavigated the world, for 151 days. He returned to Mumbai to a hero’s welcome in  2013.

Travel with Abhilash across the ocean, as he navigates the Mhadei, his yacht made in Goa, which is Indian and global in equal measure. The red cedar is from Kerala, the engine from Sweden, the galley from the USA. There’s even a water maker from Italy! 

The magic juxtaposition of words, sea myths and legends, lyrical geography explorations and explanations, is a team effort by Cdr Abhilash and Joeanna Rebella Fernandes, a well known features writer and editor.

A very inspiring read for those who love the sea. As well as those who fear the sea. Because one by one, despite the best of global technology, everything stops working in the middle of the ocean: the generator, the water filter, the engine. And yet, our unflappable hero sails on! 

That’s where resilience and survival skills win the day. Discover the power of rain water, the tricks to help onion  sprouting, and the popcorn, gajar halwa, biryani, roti, upma, that comes not from the kitchen but from the Defense labs. 

Cast your thoughts to the first human who set out to fish on rafts, around 800,000 years ago. Discover if you too have sea legs and a sea head. And how you can celebrate 2 New Years instead of one. 

This is also a tribute to the Indian scientists whose brilliance enables the Inmarsat C – an egg shaped satellite communications device that remained tacked to the Mhadei, for easy location tracking even in deep sea. 

A book to treasure and savour, for true endurance stories are a rare find. 

Science Quiz from the book: Fresh food doesn’t last long at sea, so how did 3 fresh apples last so long? Simple! The lady who gifted these to Cdr Abhilash, placed the 3 apples in a can, along with a lit candle. The lit candle ate up all the oxygen, and stopped the apples from browning and rotting. 

Art of writing from the book: The sun had turned into a new fruit: the lemon of noon ripening into the orange of evening

Forgetting that one thing on this historic voyage: Cdr Abhilash remembers to come on board with everything, except a chopping board

Ranking this achievement: First Indian to circumnavigate the globe non stop and unassisted
Second Asian
Seventy ninth in the world

UPDATE: As per latest media reports, Tomy is ready for the ultimate sea challenge. A solo with no frills of technology, in this race, you navigate with stars and charts. Tomy the challenger had to give up this idea mid-way due to a bad back on sea, in 2018, and he was rescued after 70 hours! This time, he hopes to complete the toughest sea race in the world. The retired Kirti Chakra winner is in the Gulf, gearing up, he has been sponsored by an Abu Dhabi company. Wish Tomy the sailor all the best for GGR (Golden Globe Race), the toughest non stop circumnavigation race ever. 

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