Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dead Reckoning

Photographs: Manish Chandi
Photographs: Manish Chandi

We had lost sight of land when the full import of our enterprise hit me. Five of us from the Indian mainland and six Karen from North Andaman were in two dungis (dugout canoes) headed for the re- mote uninhabited island of South Sentinel. We were to make a film about the wildlife of the island.

None of us carried a compass, charts or sextant to navigate the seas because we didn’t know how to use them. Handy GPS devices were not yet in vogue in 1998, and we couldn’t afford flares, radios or satellite phones. There was no way to communicate with anyone should we run into trouble. Instead, we were dependent on two venerable Karen gentle- men, Uncle Paung and Uncle Pambwein, to get us there. Suddenly, our intrepid little expedition seemed foolhardy.

Read more at The Indian Quarterly October-December 2014

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