Traveling With The Indian Columbus
While you are reading the newspaper, eating lunch or simply dozing in the sunshine, there’s one Indian who is at this very moment in a rowboat alone in the middle of the choppy, unpredictable Atlantic Ocean, rowing away. While Christopher Columbus set out to find India, but found America instead, 28-year-old Bhavik Gandhi is retracing his footsteps, rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean from La Gomera in Spain toward Antigua in Barbados. In this way, he plans to take advantage of the trade winds in the mid-Atlantic.
Gandhi, who set out on March 14, will spend 90 days rowing nonstop ten to 12 hours daily in a boat that has been designed specifically for ocean rowing and will serve as his home for the next three months. Gandhi, who is co-founder of Development Venture Capital Group in Sweden, trained for the past 12 months with a combination of rowing, running, swimming, weight training and cycling.
The Atlantic Ocean is the world’s second largest ocean with total area of 77 million sq kms. The risks include tropical storms, sharks, whales, icebergs, hypothermia, freak waves and currents, but apart from the physical hazards, there’s the mental stress of being completely alone on the high seas. Gandhi prepared by spending winter in Siberia, cycling to Istanbul and participating in many marathons. Rowing across oceans is tough business and he will require at least 4,000 calories a day to maintain his energy levels without losing muscle or bone mass. He’ll be eating plenty of pasta, chocolate cookies, dried eggs, Spam, turkey and M&Ms. At mid point, he will be about 4-5 days from the nearest ship and has just enough inventory in the life raft to survive, if he rations it.
Thanks to the Internet, rowing alone will not entirely isolate him. This is a well-planned trip, and well-wishers and the curious can speak with Gandhi as he rows across the Atlantic by satellite phone or by emailing him on his satellite email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read Gandhi’s daily sea journal at www.bhavik.com