Harnessing the winds to sail the ships, the group moved south and landed in the port of Calicut where they were greeted with loud sounds of drums, horns, trumpets and cheering people. Also docked in the same harbor were 13 junks from China that are much larger than the dhows with 5 decks or more which very much impressed Ibn Battuta. These ships have cabins and even private toilets. The crew of these junks can hold about a thousand workers. Ibn Battuta would later realize that these junks were not as safe compared to dhows.
The group occupied 3 junks continuing their journey to China. Their crew relocated their gifts, horses and slaves to these large ships. For the whole day, Ibn Battuta was in the mosque and intended to board the ship that afternoon. Before he can board the ship, a strong storm came up. Since the docking area was shallow, the captains ordered the junks to wait out for the storm in deep water. Feeling helpless, Ibn Battuta watched to his horror as the 2 ships were pushed to the shore and left shattered and sank. Some crew members were saved but none survived from the other one, the ship he was meant to be on.
The other ship was transporting Ibn Battuta’s luggage, servants and slaves. The ship’s captain decided to sail for China without him or the goods he needs to give to the Emperor of China.
Alone, broke and embarrassed for failing as the trip’s leader to China for the Sultan of Delhi, Ibn Battuta was still lucky to be alive. There is still the possibility to get close to the other ship so he attempted to pursue the ship but failed. He discovered 3 months later that the junk traveled to Indonesia and everything in it was taken by the king of Sumatra.
He opted to return back to the Sultan of Delhi but was afraid he might be executed. So instead, he chose to find a job and protection under southern India’s Muslim sultan where he enlisted on a day long actual battle.
And when the succeeding battle seemed to have an impossible win, Ibn Battuta in some way managed to escape the fight and proceeded down the coast arriving again in Calicut. From there he decided to pursue his travel to China alone. He knows he can experience Muslim hospitality on the way.
And so he chose to proceed to China alone but choosing the long way to make a short trip to Maldives before continuing to Sri Lanka to do a pilgrimage to the sacred Adam’s Peak.
Discover Ibn Battuta
There are more interesting stories about Ibn Battuta’s world travel. Uncover his story at the upcoming International Festival of Ibn Battuta on November 9-12, 2017 happening at the city of Tangier in the Kingdom of Morocco. Presented by the Moroccan Association of Ibn Battuta, the festival is a unique kind of offering to the international travel community.
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MohamedDekkak1