What To Take, Day 2 Continued
I’m glad Fred is willing to take me in for a night. I have a lot of organizing of gear and decisions to make as to what I will be taking with me. I wish this was already done but no time before leaving. Life is like that and choosing to accept the given that “there is only so much one can do in a day” must be paired with knowing how much “doing” is safe and healthy. Okay, now,I have time.
I head out to the van while Fred goes on with his day. After several trips to and from the disheveled back of the van, everything brought from home is dumped into the “beach” room. I try to drop stuff (Idiom I like to use.) in an organized manner. At least I thought so, but the piles and the stuff in the large plastic bin say otherwise. I stare at the mess for awhile. Get to work!
I focus on emergency gear first. Surviving a disaster that may not happen is my first priority and has been for all my journeys. My attitude toward being in a rescue situation has always been to make myself as comfortable as possible.
Before any trip, I go through as many scenarios as I can think of and make two lists. One is for the stuff I will need and the other is ongoing, right up to my departure. Its focus is on reviewing what I know about what I’m doing and adding to it as much information as possible.
The next step is a plan of action and practice it. I imagine each disaster as it might unfold and mentally go through the motions of how I should handle it. I do this often, so I wont have to think when trouble arrives. Thankfully, nothing truly awful has happened during any of my journeys. But, I do keep in mind that the odds for injury or worse increase as I continue adding more journeys to my life. This is okay. I’d rather die doing what I love than living life according to the fears of others. That would be pure misery. Now, I must get back to work.
I examine the piles and bin for items relative to surviving disaster. Another pile is born and it’s becoming too crowded for me to work. So I shove it all into a bag and carry it inside the house. Ding. Ding. The living room wins! It is just right for my final phase of readiness. I dump the bag’s contents and poke through them, placing items into categories and then go over each one in detail.
Survival Gear List And Where The Stuff Goes
Life Jacket: I.D. and emergency info card (docs, meds, conditions and contacts), Whistle, Knife, SPOT (satellite personal tracking device), VHF Radio with spare battery pack, Signal Mirror, spare compass, Multi-purpose thingy for time, weather, stop watch etc, 1 chapstick (Other uses are for sores and preventing them.).
Bag in Day hold: ACR Epirb (Satellite Position Indicator Radio Beacon – distress call on marine and military emergency frequencies relaying position and info assigned to it. I registered my Epirb with the Portland, Maine Coast Guard, noting that the Epirb is for me and that I’ll be wearing an orange life jacket, my boat is a yellow and white kayak, Matinicus Rock175 “Abbie B.” Kayakers are not required to carry or register an Epirb. However, I felt it necessary because of being alone.), Flare Gun with 4 flares, White light with 3 mile visibility, Emergency Beacon, Mini-first aid kit which includes matches, lighter and a magnesium fire starter. (Experience has taught me to be sure I can start a fire. Any method may fail, so I carry three.), Cell Phone, emergency bivvy sack, 3 heat packs (2 small for appendages and one medium for chest), multi-purpose tool, 2 meal replacement bars and a handful of dried fruit.
All this stuff, except the Epirb, are put in a small red nylon bag. It has a loop so I can clip it to my life jacket in case I go for a swim and can’t back into Abbie B or am separated from her. The Epirb is tethered to the outside of the bag making it available to use without having to remove the bag. (I plan to get an Epirb that will fit in my life jacket for the next outing.). I stand and stretch before picking up the bag and Epirb, then head back to the Beach Room. The table on the west end of the room becomes its temporary home.
Clothing For Camp and Public Appearances
I stare at the piles again and decide to sift through the stuff in the bin, picking out clothing that I may want for the trip. It takes a bit of time for me to find everything. But I do. I clear off the round table in the room and drop the clothing in one big heap on top of it. I organize and re-organized it several times before making my final decision as to what goes and what stays.
The “to go” stuff are: 1 under pants , 1 bra, 2 short sleeve shirts, 1 shorts, 1 pair of socks, 1 fleece shirt, 1 long underwear bottom, a pair of sandals, 1 rain pant, a pair of gloves and a hat. I separate the clothing by use and put them in freezer grade gallon size zip-lock bags, squeeze out the air and seal them. I stack each on top of another and then put them inside my large orange compression sack. A roll of of toilet paper is added before the bag is secured.
These were easy to find because they, along with my snorkel, mask, dive hood and swim cap are stowed in the same transportation bag I use at home. I empty the bag to be sure everything is there. Some loud booms and a heavy rain interrupt my train of thought.
Wow! The lightning was both frequent and intense. I knew some weather was coming but this is spectacular! I’m so glad that I decided to paddle to the mainland early this morning. There is no place to hide from lightning on Richmond Island, except the caretaker’s house which is locked with no one there. The landscape is mostly fields and shrubs with some dunes by the sand beach, and a small interior pond. One corner has trees but they are tall and in a small area (lightning rods!). I pause for lunch and to enjoy the storm which become a set of storms rolling through the area for the rest of the afternoon.
An hour or so goes by before I head back to the beach room. I check off my mental list while picking up each item and put it back inside the black bag: 1 set of long underwear (top and bottom), 1 long sleeve chafe top with 2 mm neoprene on the front, 1 5 mm farmer john wetsuit, 2 pair of neoprene gloves (3 mm and 7 mm), 7 mm Dive Hood, 2 mm neoprene swim cap, 7 mm boots, dry top, and sprayskirt.
It’s all here except for my hat, glasses and sunglasses. I write myself a note reminding me to either wear the stuff or put it on the front seat by tomorrow morning.
These go in either quart or pint sized zip-locks: Travel size toothbrush, toothpaste and shampoo. A sliver of Irish Spring soap which is great for swiping all over my body before interacting with civilization. (I become accustomed to how I smell but other people don’t. (Stinky! Stinky! Stinky!) I like to bring the small sized Baby Powder on all outings, even if just for a few hours or a day. It’s great for drying off because it absorbs moisture from the skin which is helpful toward either getting or keeping warm, especially my feet. Medications are bagged along with two individual plastic containers for each day’s supply. I rifle through the pile of bags and sacks and find an old nylon zippered cooler bag. It’s perfect.
Other personal items are my camera which goes in a waterproof plastic container and is stored in the day hold. The other is a Waterproof Journal with a bombproof pen which goes in the blue sack with my navigation stuff to make the pen available for charting.
I also am bringing my mask and snorkel with me hoping my knee will allow for a little looking around underwater. I want to bring them even if I don’t. I consider these items, along with my 7mm gloves and dive hood, as extra safety gear which will be stored in the small area behind the back of my seat. They’d be nice to have if I can’t get back into Abbie B. I also have a “crapper” (plastic container for solid waste) and this is not going in any hold. Imagine that leaking inside Abbie B. She’d blow her top! It’ll be a tight fit but behind the seat it goes.
I rummage through the bin again and find my guide book, maps, tide charts, map cases, orienteering compass with ruler and my long insulated winter trekking water bottle thingy (perfect size for rolled maps and tide charts). I sit at the round table again and go through the charts and maps to be sure I have them all. I organize them and roll up all but the ones I need tomorrow. These are set aside while the rest are put in a gallon sized zip-lock which slides easily into the bottle thingy (chart holder). “Perfectamongo!” (from Movie Ice Cake.) The guide book, Journal, Pen and Compass are secured in zip-lock as well.
The chart holder and other bag of stuff go in a blue waterproof nylon sack. I put the maps and charts for tomorrow on a chair next to three waterproof map cases. I’ll deal with them tomorrow.
The rain finally stops, allowing me to check out my tent after last night’s blow. It’s still in the van and like the “Cat in the Hat,” Out I go. I go out, to the van, I go. I’m getting punchy. Duh, ” am that I am.” Okay, get the tent.
I set it up and inspect it thoroughly before attaching the rainfly. I want to be sure it fits after the tent’s experience with last night’s gale. It does. What next? Ah, the stakes.
My tent is free standing, meaning it doesn’t need stakes. Well, it did last night, and thankfully, they held in the sand. But most of the time, the tent will be sitting on rock. What do I do if they won’t go in the ground? Glad you asked. I’ll gather a bunch of stones or anything else that has weight and put them inside 4 stuff sacks and tie the tent poles and tabbed grommets to them.
I thoroughly inspect all aspects of the tent from seems, zippers to the amount of tension on the poles. I also have an ultra-light nylon tarp that I like to use when camping on rocks and roots. It protects the integrity of the tent floor. This being done. I move to the next task, packaging the tent in a practical manner. The fly is going to get wet at some point and I don’t like having it get my tent wet in transit. So, I separate its components.
The poles and stakes have their own bag already. I take of the tent fly and set it aside. The poles are easily removed via popping them out of the grommets and pushing each one (There are three.) out of their respective tent sleeves. I let the tent drop to the ground and walk over to the poles. They are easy to work with because they are sectional, just pull and fold. I put both the poles and the stakes into the pole bag. My next task is to package the tent.
I fold it once width wise and then in half from each end. One more complete fold makes it the right size for its bag. The best way to keep it sized properly is to use the pole bag to roll the tent up the rest of the way. I accomplish all of this in about 3 minutes.
The tent is now ensconced inside two garbage bags and is compressed into its stuff sack. The rainfly is next and it too is folded and rolled, then stuffed into a compression bag. The tarp has its own little bag and is added to the compression bag with the rainfly. I grab the two bags and put them inside the van and head back to the beach room, again!
Yes, my sleeping bag is there, tucked inside two plastic bags and into a stuff sack. The ensolite pad is right next to it. For those who don’t know, ensolite is a type of foam that has a waterproof coating on it. It provides some comfort from the hard ground. But, its main feature is to keep the body warm. I even use it with my hammock, except for the really hot nights. It’s closed cell construction creates a barrier between the cold ground and a warm body. It is already rolled up, cinched tightly with two wide velcro straps, and in its stuff sack which is lined with plastic as an extra measure to keep the pad dry.
I stack everything neatly on the long bench in the beach room and then check the back of the van to be sure my paddle, deck compass, sponge and bilge pump are stowed inside to the far left.
Yep, they are and I’m done for the day.
Fred arrives around five pm and fixes us both something to eat. We relax and watch a star trek movie before going to bed. I’m so tired that I feel nothing for tomorrow, launch day. My body falls like a brick on the mattress and sleep over-takes me. Ahhhhh.