A six member crew of Indian Navy created history as they became the first Indian all-women crew to complete a circumnavigation of the globe. The six-member crew broke many stereotypes during their record-setting sail. The six women naval officers journeyed aboard INSV Tarini, and returned to India on May 21, 2018. The journey, titled ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’, was started on September 10, 2017 in Goa, and was completed in a span of eight eventful months, or 254 days.
The crew was led by Skipper Lt. Commander Vartika Joshi, along with five women officers, Lt. Commanders Pratibha Jamwal, and Patarapalli Swathi and Lt. Aishwarya Boddapati, Payal Gupta and Vijaya Shougrakpam. They travelled 26,100 (approximately 42,000 kms on land) nautical miles, an expedition falling under the project Navika Sagar Parikrama.
The expedition was carried out in the 56-foot sailing vessel which was made in India.
A circumnavigation get completed only when it meets the following criteria: crossing the Equator twice, crossing all longitudes, as also the three great capes – Cape Leeuwin, Cape Horn and Cape of Good Hope.
The crew travelled around five countries including Australia, New Zealand, Falkland Islands (UK), South Africa and Mauritius, stopping at all their ports, namely Fremantle, Lyttleton, Port Stanley, Cape Town and Port Louis respectively. After landing in Delhi, they were felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Speaking about this, Skipper Lt Commander Vartika Joshi said:
“We knew at the very start of this voyage that we had a daunting task ahead. However, the many challenges we encountered brought in a new found strength from within, which we ourselves never knew we were capable of. Our close bonding helped us overcome those difficult times.”
The feat of the lady officers will be showcased in a documentary that will premiere on National Geographic on March 8, 2019. The trailer showcases some “rare footage from the on-ship cameras that were present throughout the expedition”.
The six women officers had trained under Captain Dilip Donde, the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe solo in 2009-2010.
The historic voyage of six brave Indian women naval officers clearly broke all stereotypes and is a shinning example for those who want to take on daunting challenges and strive for success.