Latest fascination. Ever since I started reading Patrick O' Brian's "Master and Commander" stuff. Another book (tangentially connected) is The Honourable Company. Fascinating history of the East India Company, very nice narrative history. Got to remember to read more by John Keay.
The web is full of tantalizing bits of information on this subject, nothing really does full justice. The British Library has a 101 version Trading Places which is a pretty useful starting point. Google turned up with this digital version of the Oriental Navigator circa 1794 at the Mystic Seaport museum. Good stuff includes: blow by blow information on how to navigate the murky waters near "The Coast Of Orissa - Vizagapatnam - Bimilipatnam - Chickacole - Ganjam - False Point and Point Palmiras" :-) Interesting for obvious reasons.
obvious reason = not so obvious. I grew up in "Vizagapatnam"
Respectable number of links for a first blog eh, old chap?