This entry is dedicated to explaining all of the gear on our bodies and in/on our boats. I will attempt to provide a somewhat-accurate picture of our daily dressing and gear-sorting routines, beginning with waking up to the sound of John and Russell chatting over a mug of coffee.
I wake up on the left edge of a 3-person tent with the view of 75 mosquitos trapped between the tent and rain fly. The fly generally keeps rain and dew out of the tent, but I occasionally find myself in a damp sleeping bag on a wet pad. I muster the energy to unzip the door and brace my sore body against cool morning wind.
Nessler has usually already started a pot of boiling water, and Ben and I grab the yogurt and musli (if we are feeling particularly fancy we will cook up cheesy mashed potatoes with bacon or pepperoni chunks). We clean our breakfast Tupperware with boiling water and pack them with lunch-an assortment of fruit, nuts, small sanwiches, peanut butter, etc.
We then begin packing and dressing for a day on the water. I’ll begin with the dressing:
I typically change into a short sleeved polypro top and my Patagonia baggies shorts before putting on my bib. I would describe our padding bibs as a mix between rain pants, a neoprene wetsuit, footsie pajamas and overalls. The bibs haven’t quite dried out from the previous day, so I force myself to slide into a damp bib that smells like old musty algae water. On top of the booties of our bibs we wear neoprene/rubber water shoes. On our torsos we wear either a short or long sleeved Palm spray jackets. The jackets are basically fortified rain jackets with rubber gaskets at the wrists…very difficult to get off and on…Emily has had to help me pull mine off my body on numerous occasions. Our team has a wide assortment of headwear, ranging from visors and baseball caps to headbands, skull caps, knitted beanies, safari hats and blue/yellow Swedish themed Viking hats. Before getting into our boats we put on our PFDs and spray skirts. My PFD (personal floatation device) pockets are filled with chapstick, sunscreen, and various emergency items like water dye, a light, tow lines, etc.
Once my clothes are on we lather our bodies in sunscreen and slide on our paddling gloves. While we dress we pack all of our gear into our kayaks. The boats have four compartments with water-tight rubber lids. There is a front hatch, back hatch, day hatch and whiskey hatch. We have additional storage in deck bags and inside our cockpits below our feet.
We are able to fit an incredible amount of gear into these spaces. We each pack two water dromedaries, ten days worth of food, tents, poles, pots, pans, stoves and fuel, sleeping bags and pads, toiletries, warm clothing and shoes, charts, cameras, “town” clothing, crazy creeks, etc., etc. We also pack a couple of the large plasticky IKEA bags to transport our gear to and from boats and campsites.
We will try to post more in the morning before we leave the island of Nagu where we spent an incredible rest day during the Midsummer festivities.