Friday, July 30, 2010

DEBRIEF 4 Funny Stuff and Land crew

Sleep deprivation does funny things to your mind.
I was putting in the hard yards, pounding along keeping an eye on Steve off to my right wing. As usual it was raining but the clouds were beginning to lift. There were sort of horizontal bands of cloud. Although I was probably half a kilometer from the shore a plank of wood appeared in front of me low over the water, I had to immediately duck in order not to hit my head, much to Steve's amusement.

We were coming up to a wide bend in the river, the sky was an absolutely featureless grey, in front of me way off in the distance, virtually from horizon to horizon, was a band of pine trees. The bottom of the band of trees was a perfectly straight horizontal line. The top, being the tops of the pine trees, was a bit like a painter had done a very bad job painting the line around a huge white ocean liner. So convinced was I that it was an ocean liner one of the many cruise ships that does the Alaska coast route, that I stopped paddling and desperately started back paddling in order not to run into this ocean going monster working its way up the Yukon.

The first three nights we changed our GPS batteries when we stopped. I could not find where my spare batteries were stowed so we decided to change them on the water when the batteries went dead and hope what we had would last.

So all GPS battery changing was done on the run in the middle of the river, often in quite quick flowing water.

With his sore hands Steve was having trouble opening his day hatch which was just behind him in the deck on the RHS. I got the battery container out for him. He had his new batteries neatly stowed in packs of three with tape around them. He got two out and asked me to hold them while he took the old batteries out of the GPS.
I remember wondering what percentage of the total volume of the Yukon river two triple A batteries would make up and if it would increase the river flow if I dropped them in the water. In order to find out I simply dropped them in the water next to my Kayak and watched them instantly dissapeared into the muddy water. "What the F... you do that for?" was Steve's reaction. I began to explain that I was doing an experiment on increasing the river flow, when I realized it did not make sense, and got his new battery container again out of his day hatch.

We did not find staying awake when we were paddling was a problem, but as soon as we rested our paddles, we often immediately dozed off, which put us in danger of capsizing the kayaks and we woke again shaking and splashing about before either of us actually fell in.

I did eventually find my supply of spare batteries and kept a few spare in a net under the deck between my legs.

In order to change my GPS batteries I needed to undo the battery clip with one of the blades in my Swiss Army knife. My fingernails were simply not strong enough.
I kept the knife zipped in one of the pockets in the front of my PDF. (life vest)
I had the GPS off the deck and on my lap and started to get the knife out of the pocket. With a little difficulty I got the knife out, and then completely forgot what I was getting it out for, so I zipped it back in my PDF and went back to paddling. I soon noticed the GPS was missing off the deck and on my lap. I could not work out how it got there so I hooked it back in its position on the deck. The next time I went to look at what speed we were doing I noticed my GPS was dead, took it off the deck and put it on my lap and started getting out the Swiss Army Knife. I got the knife out opened up the GPS and saw it had batteries in it, closed it again and re set it up on the deck. Off course the GPS was dead, and I started all over again.
Who knows how long it took me to get my mind in the state where I could do a simple task like change the batteries in my GPS. In the mean time Steve had paddled over the horizon, and when I eventually caught him I had difficulty explaining what had kept me.


Tomorrow thoughts on diet comparisons between Steve and I.

What are the Landcrew doing after their massive journey following the race 3300km???

Lynton is traveling to Purdoe Bay at the end of the Dalton Highway, flying across to Barrow and then to the UK to visit with his newly engaged daughter.

Kobi and Fiona visited Seward with Christine and Tom then took a train to Anchorage, a plane to Vancouver and then to Victoria Island and afterwards maybe a visit with relatives in Canada.

A pile of driftwood near the coal loader at Seward. The big rivers dump thousands and thousands of tons of driftwood into the sea each year.
The Eskimos that live way above the Arctic Circle, and hundreds of miles from any growing trees are expert timber workers, constructing house and whaling boat and of course kayak framing out of timber. They have names for the different species. Most of their wood supply is delivered into the Baring Sea and Arctic ocean by the mighty Yukon River, most of which Steve and I  had to dodge on the way down.

Christine and Tom are spending 3 days in Seward recovering, watching the cruise ships, watching the fish being cleaned visiting the Aquarium and walking to the Exit Glacier.Tomorrow flying out of Anchorage to Los Angeles, a day bus trip around Los Angeles and then 2 days in Palm Springs before flying home.

1 comment:

  1. Tom, Your handle on poetic license makes for funny reading...

    For anyone concerned my hand has not dropped off, but my request to gaffa tape it to the paddle for the last 5 hours was a good one, and through team work Tom was able to do it for me. The post race surgical incision and antibiotics have worked a treat on an infection around my middle finger.

    BTW - Lets not forget who actually pulled us throught to Eagle:-)...The thought of a hot shower and real bed was too tempting to leave ourselves short for the night!

    The battery incident was very funny - especially since Tom watched me pull the new batteries out from my supply that fed both our garmins b/c Tom was unable to find his. He then threw them overboard? Definately worth a laugh.

    Keep up the funny writing - Mum has had her fears alayed after speaking with me.

    Steve P