Loading Abbie B, Day 3
I slept in a bit this morning and am just laying in bed watching the rays of the sun filter in through the curtains. This is nice. I breathe in and out slowly while letting go, to just be and nothing more.
Time floats by but without its irritating tick tock, tick tock. In fact, I hear nothing and oh, I love silence. I consider it to be one of my most powerful allies. Silence speaks for itself and is the strongest form of communication. At least, it is for me. I feel the strength of its voice and sense the lofting of bodily tension. Today is going to be better, especially when Abbie B and me float away from shore. We will turn our backs from the expectations and worries of society and welcome what ever comes our way.
I climb out of bed and wear my land clothing for the last time. Fred has done his juicing and there’s some great tasting flavor waiting for me. I love Fred’s concoctions and his great cooking. I’ve enjoyed the pleasure of he and his wife cooking many a meal or snack. They make a great pair and everyone benefits from their talents.
I’ll be launching at Portland, Maine’s East End Beach. Sally and Ned will be meeting me there around four pm. They’ll be reclaiming their van after watching Abbie B and me paddle from shore. But, there’s still much to do and I head out to the beach room to prepare my maps for today’s paddle. I plan to sleep either on Cow or Little Chebeague Island.
I seal the enlarged map of Portland Harbor inside one of the three waterproof map cases. These “cases” are more like a sandwich bags. They’re made out of a heavy duty vinyl with two deep grooves as a double-lock closure. I have a second small scale map, covering a good portion of Casco Bay from the Harbor to the south, Cousins Island to the North, Great Diamond and Long Island to the East along with Little Chebeague and Great Chebeague Islands to the North East as seen from from my point of departure.
I don’t need any other maps or mark the tides. The day’s paddle is late and memory is all that is needed. So, I slip the Casco Bay, Maine Tide Chart inside the third mapcase to have it ready for tomorrow. All three cases are clipped to a carabiner.
Well,it looks like everything is ready. So I haul all the bags outside, lay them under a massive Maple Tree, and fetch Abbie B. She’s parked behind the van. I drag her by the bow handle over to the shade of the tree, where I’ll figure out how to load her.
I have a pretty good idea of what I want based on last year’s little practice trip and years of backpacking. There isn’t a lot of room inside Abbie B so loading her will require the best use of available space and still be able to trim her.
Oops, there are a few things in the van that should be out here. I walk over and open the back hatch to fetch my spare paddle (two pieces), deck compass, bilge pump, paddle float, sponge, tow-rope (in a bag), both water bladders, and two pieces of foil that came in package some time during the summer.
I shove the narrow items in both the bow and stern as possible. Everything else is goes in according to the I might need this order. The water bladders are filled to their six liter capacity and then placed on the bottom of the fore hold. I can move these as needed to keep Abbie B trim. Water is heavy which makes it perfect for ballast. It also take up a lot of room. Room I hadn’t considered, until now.
I didn’t mention food and stove for yesterday’s gear list. Like I said, it was hard to remember everything. The food and stove weren’t difficult to miss. The full water bladders are removing the space intended for my cook stove. It goes back to the van along with any food that requires cooking. Yep, or now that I’m in Maine, Yup, my menu just got a lot smaller. But I that re-supplying food can be done along the way. Don’t sweat it. As it is, I have peanut butter, grape-nuts cereal, protein powder, milk powder, and plenty of dried fruit. What a delightful menu! (I’ll be learning how pets feel as most owners feed them the same food everyday.)
I finished closing the fore and aft holds and secure them with the cinch straps mentioned before on Richmond Island. The hatches also have tiny holes on a tab so I can tie them to a deck line. Triple precaution for the hatches are a good thing. Imagine losing one somewhere out on the great big ocean!
The day hold is next. I load and unload it several times before figuring out where to put what. I want the emergency bag with Epirb right under the hatch cover. I also want to be able to reach my camera, phone, or the fully loaded first aid kit that I didn’t mention on yesterday’s list either.
I get it done and then secure this hatch which is flush with Abbie B’s deck. The lid is round and has open and close written on it along with little arrows that will line up with arrows on the ring lid fits into. I don’t have to screw the lid on, just drop it in, turn it to close and it will snap shut. I open it by aligning the open arrows and pull it out. This lid has a tether integral to its design, and being flush with the deck there is no need for straps.
Just for fun, I attach and orient the deck compass, clip the maps to the line across the bow right in front of the cockpit. I clip the paddle float, bilge pump and sponge to deck lines behind the Abbie B’s cockpit. The spare paddle blades are secured under the aft hatches straps. No other equipment will be on deck. I don’t want to lose stuff to the ocean and I want the sea to be able to wash over Abbie B unhindered.
Where did the time go? It’s almost two thirty and I need to leave by three to get to Portland’s East End. I also want to be ready to go before Sally and Ned arrive. They are doing a turn around trip and will be returning to New Hampshire once I’m on the water. They shouldn’t have to help me carry and ready Abbie B too.
I unload Abbie B and decide to back the van up, rather than haul everything to it. Uh, Oh! The won’t start. I’d left the key in the “on” position for the past four hours. Thankfully, Fred is around and has a battery charger to start the van with. Whew, that was close.
I go back to the beach room for the last time and toss all extraneous stuff into the half empty bin. I’m finally making my final trip to the van.