Written by Floortje Roelvink
After months of hard work, a lot of coffee from Niek, some beers, moments of panic about credit cards and visas, asking professors to accompany us, beautiful selfies and a fantastic hydraulic drinks the time was finally there: The big study tour of Hydraulic Engineering 2018! The choice for the location was easily made. The name India is derived from the word ‘drop’, and Sri Lanka hangs down as a drop beneath India, it cannot be any better than that was our opinion.
We started our travels in India. Late in the evening we arrived at Mumbai, where we were immersed in the Indian night life. Booties were shaked at us, hands were thrown up in the air, this was a good start of a week full of trips to companies, days full of culture and long walks through the wilderness of India.
The first company visit was Van Oord India. After a couple of interesting presentations about their pursuits, their corporate social responsibility and a delicious lunch we went to the harbour of Mumbai. A ship was waiting for us to give as a tour through the harbour past all the Van Oord vessels. At five o’clock, the time was there to have a beer at the stock exchange and soon after that a wonderful dinner accompanied by Indian dancers was served. What an interesting day, where we learned a lot about the Van Oord projects in India en their view as a company.
To stay in the flow, the next day was all about visiting companies, namely Fugro India. A series of presentations gave us a detailed image about the activities of Fugro, which was reinforced with a tour of all the different departments. De closing lunch gave us the opportunity to ask our questions and ask for more information. After this we went back on the bus to explore the city centre some more.
After three days of Mumbai, it was time for a change of scenery; we went on the road to Pune, a nice city with a lot of green and a nice hostel. We played loads of board games and drank beers because this was our free time! A walk to a fortress was on the schedule. The view of the Rajgad fort should have been breath taking but unfortunately the dense mist made it impossible to even see your own hands. This didn’t spoil the fun though, through the rain en mud we climbed up the mountain en almost as cheerful we made our way down. The next day did not go without a hitch either. The bus was a small five hours late, with as a result that we could not visit the dam. On the bright side we made it to Mumbai the end of the day. We had another two days to explore the beauties of this city before we flew to Sri Lanka.
When we arrived in Sri Lanka we suddenly realised how extremely crowded it was in Mumbai. Sri Lanka was so peaceful and quiet in comparison. We strutted along the boulevard, visited the very polluted Laguna of Colombo and some temples and again enjoyed the various foods Sri Lanka had to offer. After a couple of days the day had finally come, the dream for every hydraulic engineer, thé big land reclamation of Colombo: Port City Colombo. Eelco Bijl of CDR lead us past gigantic tetrapods, an active dredger, the Chinese offices and employees and the enormous breakwater the harbour assets. With a lot of anecdotes and an interesting presentation the story of Port City became clear to us. It was pointed out to us that there are a lot of political, economical and social aspects important for the project and for Sri Lanka in general. After the serious part of the day we went to one of the most fancy hotels of Colombo and while enjoying a nice cold beer, followed by a dinner, we reflected on the fun day.
The rest of the week we had a lot of free time and spent this almost entirely on the beach. We saw the erosion processes from up close and the strong impact of waves on the beach. We tried surfing, relaxed in the hot sand and took long walks down the beach of Tangalle en Hikaduwa. Our last company visit was with the Chinese company CHEC together with CDR. We visited the port of Hambantota, a huge port where no ship ever moored. Again the combination of politics and hydraulic engineering became very clear. Nevertheless it was again an interesting visit, which ended with a nice lunch.
These two weeks were absolutely fantastic. We had a lot of interesting company visits, boardgames, culture, nature and of course the most important thing of all; a lot of hydraulic engineering. We want to thank all the companies, participants and mentors for these amazing two weeks!