Sir,can I go for one more round,please, Lt Cdr Abhilash Tomy,34,asked his commanders soon after he became the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe non-assisted.
It took Tomy 150 days of continuous sailing in INSV Mhadei to reach the milestone. He arrived at Gateway of India Saturday afternoon and reported completion of his voyage to President Pranab Mukherjee,the supreme commander of the armed forces,who watched the sailor touch shore from an Air Force helicopter and later felicitated him. Tomys arrival was marked with gun salutes and firing of signal flares. Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranaryanan,Health Minister Suresh Shetty and senior Navy officers were present to welcome him.
This moment marks the end of 14 years of dreaming for me,the years I fantasised about a solo voyage around the world. Four years of hard work and 150 days of sailing have culminated into this day. I remember each mile of my journey, Tomy said,visibly overwhelmed. If there is one thing the sea has taught me,it is humility. The proudest moment for me was when I hoisted the Tricolour on reaching Cape Horn.
Tomy is the second Indian to circumnavigate the globe after Commander Dilip Donde,his mentor who achieved the feat in 2010. In all,80 people across the world have completed this voyage. Tomy,in fact,thanked Donde,along with Mohammed Alam and Ratnakar Dandekar who helped build INSV Mhadei,for his maritime feat.
His father,former naval officer V C Tomy,was elated. I was not at all tense. We emailed each other twice a day. One day,however,he was late than usual and we started getting worried. After two and a half hours,he mailed us saying,Sorry Dad,I had fallen asleep, he said.