A ‘unique picnic’ to cherish for a long time

Family members of the officers and men, including civilian personnel, of the Indian Coast Guard could not have asked for a better deal. It was a ‘unique picnic’ they would cherish for a long time to come.

The ‘day at sea’ was organised by the Coast Guard District Headquarters No. 6, Visakhapatnam, on Sunday as a run-up to the 37 Guard Raising Day Celebrations to be observed on February 1.

Children restless

Though the employees and their families were asked to report at the Coast Guard jetty by 8 a.m. they gathered at the place much before the appointed time. By 8:15 a.m. most of the guests, particularly women and children, were seated in the chairs arranged on the upper and lower decks and waited with bated breath for the day-long sojourn to unfold.

The children turned restless even as the ships’ officers and men made last-minute preparations to make the trip memorable for the guests. Some of the children were seen asking their parents as to how long they would have to wait. The ships began leaving the jetty one after the other around 9:30 a.m. and ‘Samudra Paheredar’, a pollution control vessel, was the last one to leave around 10 a.m.

Tarpaulin spread out

The young team on ‘Samudra Paheredar’ ensured that the guests on the ship had a gala time. A huge tarpaulin was spread out on the vacant space on the deck so that children could squat and play. The naval ships and a submarine, anchored on the other side and passing speed boats caught the attention of the children as the large ship was guided through the narrow port channel into the open sea by a tug.

The temple, church and mosque, which were once on a single hill that was cut to facilitate rail connectivity to the port, multi-storeyed apartment complexes along the Beach Road, Kailasagiri Hill, the row houses and the IT Towers at Rushikonda presented a spectacular view from the sea. Children and others constantly clicked pictures on the digital cameras and cell phones and a few captured the everlasting moments on their video cameras.

Soon after the ships took off the guests were served snacks and later in the afternoon ‘biryani’ as they enjoyed their picnic on the deck. The kids, however, had a gala time playing on the lower deck, which had modern equipment like a pedal exerciser, twister and a pull-up machine.

Fly past demonstration

A fly past demonstration by a Coast Guard chopper alongside the ships sent the pulse of the guests racing. The search and rescue operation of a man who drowned at sea, ships moving in a formation, firing from the ships forming specific patterns on the water surface were some of the other attractions.

The operational demos would have surely inspired many of the young minds to think of challenging careers in the Coast Guard. Deputy Inspector General (Coast Guard) Commander M.A. Thalha participated.

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