50 years ago, 2 undaunted young men Pinaki Ranjan Chatterjee (23 years) and George Albert Duke (25 years) made India proud by rowing across the choppy and treacherous Bay of Bengal in a tiny wooden boat.
This boat named ‘Kanhoji Angre’ made by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, had no cover, no sail and no motor. With sheer muscle power, the heroes rowed from Calcutta (now Kolkata) on February 1, 1969 and reached Port Blair in the Andamans on March 2, 1969.
Our the then President, Dr Zakir Hussain and Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi felicitated the youth on their success. The State of West Bengal congratulated the duo for their feat.
The Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata, for the first time ever had witnessed a massive crowd who had come to congratulate their heroes.
The Sea Explorers’ Institute remembers and salutes its founder Dr Pinaki Ranjan Chatterjee and Lt. George Albert Duke on the 50th year of this historic achievement.
The heroes rowed from Calcutta (now Kolkata) on February 1, 1969 and reached Port Blair in the Andamans on March 2, 1969.
On 24th December, 2008 at 1:10 pm., a team of six explorers of the Sea Explorers Institute, Kolkata and one Sailor of the Indian Navy set out for a rowing and sailing expedition from Kolkata to reach Paradwip along the river and the sea.
The expedition was flagged off by Commodore B. R. Sen, Naval Officer-in-Charge(West Bengal). Members of SEI, a group of BSF Jawans, the Kolkata Police Band and the Institute students were present. Sri. Tapas Chowdhury of the Institute, and Sri. Sadique Mumtaz of the Navy, were the Joint leaders of the expedition .
The boat used for the expedition was a 27â€™ whaler boat â€˜Indiraâ€™, open and non-motorized, operated only with oars and sail. The Navy and the Indian Coast Guard looked after communication and keeping watch on the expedition team.
Kolkata to Paradeep, Phase I was a rowing and sailing expedition. It was of 22 days, commencing on 31.01.2007.
A team of 8 trainees from the Institute under the leadership of Tapas Chowdhury set sail. The team consisted of Ratnadip Bose , Ashim Mondal , Gora Chand Gazi , Rudra Prasad Nandi , Goutam Kodali , Moloy Kanti Halder , Urmila Samanta/Tapashi Das. The expedition was flagged off by Prof. Anil Sarkar from the Institute.
The team proceeded till Bedford Channel near Lower Long Sand but thunderstorm and cyclonic weather conditions made it impossible to move the boat any further.
The weather report on A.I.R. gave a warning that the weather would remain unstable for the next 72 hours. The team contacted the Institute (SEI)Â and received orders to return as the question of safety of the team came foremost. The team turned back on 7th Feb. from 22 degree 51minutes 36 seconds N ; 88degree 06 minutes 06 seconds EÂ Super Bhanga Island.
They returned on 13th Feb.2007. Even then the weather had not cleared and there was intermittent rainfall.