We left Mumbai on the evening of January 17. We were in good spirits. Our visit to India was interesting, but the shear numbers of people and vehicles as well as the air pollution were starting to wear on us a bit. We had 8 days of westward sailing ahead of us as we headed to Kenya.
All of us took awhile to get back into the ship life routine. Onboard there are no days of the week. We have A days and B days. Global Studies is taught both A and B days, but the other classes meet only on one or the other. It takes some getting used to especially after a break of several days.
At dinner time on the evening of the 18th we realized that the sun was setting behind us. We were heading east away from Africa and back toward Mumbai. The few passengers who were on the Spring 2020 voyage joined us in feeling a bit of trauma and anxiety over this change of plans. Later that evening we heard that there was a “non life threatening” medical emergency on board and that a passenger needed medical attention as quickly as possible.
We hoped that the ship would be met with emergency transport before we returned all the way to Mumbai but got to within 12 miles of the city before we rendezvoused with an Indian Coast Guard boat late morning on the 19th. The passenger who was taken off the ship had suffered a detached retina and only rapid care was going to save his vision. It was good to know that those in command were willing to do whatever was needed to make that possible!
Many of us were concerned that plans made months earlier for travel in Kenya were going to be disrupted by the two day delay. However, the captain headed us back toward Kenya at about 16.5 knots, not quite top speed for our vessel but a safe compromise between speed and fuel economy. The air-conditioning was minimized to maximize power to the engines and the classrooms got pretty toasty. After five days it became clear that we were going to arrive within a couple hours of our original schedule. Scott and I were particularly relieved as we had planned a bit to tight and were going to be meet immediately on arrival to start our safari, plans set in place in October. Whew!
We later heard that the surgery was successful. The passenger’s vision was saved and he will be returning to the voyage at a later port. Huzzah!