Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Plan . . .

The Great Circumnavigation Adventure! 

Plan your paddle. Paddle your Plan! 

Friends have asked me to provide my paddle plan. I don't tend to write in list format unless I am making a list but I think in order to get through all the questions that have been asked this is the approach I will start with . . . who knows where I will end up! 

Barry and I are *gear freaks* and have spent our lives together adventuring. Plus we run an online outdoor adventure store. What we didn't have I borrowed from my oldest son or bought just for this trip. Space is an issue and so some of my camping gear wasn't suited for this voyage. 

Purchases included a small Pelican case that I outfitted with an updated First Aid Kit, including a compact pill organizer for my daily chemo meds.

Another addition was a Voltaic Fuse Solar Charger for recharging my iPhone each night. No I am not intending to call or text all day, every day. The iPhone is being used for running my GPS tracking system. It will also be used for two daily text messages to my granddaughter relaying my location. 

Because I need to limit iPhone usage to only those two activities I needed a camera I could rely on for photo journaling. My wonderful husband, Barry, bought me an early present for the trip. The Panasonic Lumix. Waterproof to 33 feet, dustproof, shockproof against a drop of up to 6 feet, and freezeproof down to -10°C. No more fuzzy iPhone photos! Love you Bear!

With the wind playing a HUGE factor in the success of this adventure I also purchased a Harmony Gripper Elite Spray Skirt.  No point in getting soaked and/or swamped if I can avoid it! The skirt has proved to be a bonus and a negative. Bonus - I stay dry in wet weather. Negative - it eliminates the possibly of Chloe' riding along AND seriously restricts my movement in Solo Paddle Recovery maneuvers because of the built-in *hoop* system for greater leg room.

What am I paddling?
A Calypso 12. Designed specifically for women, with a lighter weight and lower cockpit walls. For full-day or overnight tours on calm water, or with a spary skirt on whitecaps. Sold by LLBean. Mine has the optional rudder system. I added a SeaLine Baja deck bag (borrowed) for additional storage.

Safety Gear:
PFD, Throw rope, Strobe beacon, air horn, whistle, iPhone WITH two extra external batteries, hand-held marine radio, flashlight, glow sticks, flare gun w/eight flares, Leatherman, folding saw, matches, lighter, compass, laminated maps, water purifier, duct tape, extra carabiners, First Aid Kit, sunblock. Lots of sunblock! 

Safety Plan: 
Plan your paddle and paddle your plan! When in doubt - head to shore! 

Dehydrated all the way! Space on a 12 foot kayak with only one dry well is a HUGE consideration. I have enough Enertia Trail Foods  for 7 days (we expect the trip to last 5 to 6 days - it doesn't hurt to be over-prepared!). I will be cooking them via a JetBoil stove. Water will be supplied via a MSR Expedition Water Treatment system. 

Health Concerns:
I had my monthly injections just before heading up here along with blood work to have a baseline for my doctor's to refer to. Based on those results I was given a *good to go* send off from every member of my team.

I take daily chemo drugs and have filled my 7-day organizer. I have an *emergency med* that I take if I feel a flare coming on. Trust me - I know the signs by now - and I have packed enough to handle any situation. Epi-pens and benadryl are also packed. As is an emergency supply of Altraban (a potent Rx antibiotic) and 7 Flextor patches for pain relief at night after a long day of paddling. 

I have relied heavily on the advice of my oldest son, Aaron. He is an international rep for Marmot, Keen, JetBoil, Camelbak and Vasque. He knows the gear world inside and out. And is also a very experienced kayaker. I have nothing but respect for his opinion(s). He has let me know that this adventure is more than do-able - even solo if need be. But also cautioned me to not do anything stupid! 

Barry wishes he was going with me - first for the adventure! Second because he worries so. I have had many close calls over the years and he never takes a single day for granted that we are able to spend together. We have shared my plan and practice adventures daily. He is the stable, logical one in this marriage and told me to have fun BUT don't drown on him!  

I have also sought the advice of Jay Bouwkamp - a dear friend who has completed this trip in a canoe. He had some harrowing experiences and I learned a lot about what not to do. 

I can't thank Gerry & Betty Bailey enough for all the information they have shared. Gerry painstakingly plotted distances on a map for me, while Betty marked out all the remote State owned lands where a kayaker can easily beach to set-up camp. They also provided me with the Camp Registration Cards required by the DNR for camping on State owned lands. 




Final Thoughts: 
I have learned that the richness of life is found in adventure. It develops self-reliance and independence. One's life then teems with excitement. There is stagnation only in security. In relying too heavily on one's comfort zone.

No comments: