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Up to now, fragments

February 1, 2011

January 8, 2011, Montreal

I ordered the chart books for the Intracoastal (ICW) from Miami to Norfolk as well as the guide for the Hudson River from Lake Champlain to New York. I’ll be missing the New Jersey section but I may simply use the general guides or Google satellite. It’s funny how land that shows on Google satellite does not show on Google maps and vice versa. A long narrow stretch of land south of Cape Hatteras shows on the satellite images but not on the maps. I suppose this will be true of the charts also.

Today I bought the kayak pants and a dry bag. I also took a hammock to see if I can actually sleep in such a thing. A hammock is used by at least one Island Adventure owner to sleep near shores that are patrolled by nasty sheriffs. In the US, sleeping on shore is generally illegal. Campsites are not really an option since I cannot leave or drag the kayak very far. The hammock has a mosquito net and a rain cover. I will also test a bed made of two planks that I could put between the hull and the hamas (outriggers). If I can find a comfortable way to sleep on the boat, it will be settle a lot of legal issues. This is such a problem that I’ve contemplated doing the Canadian west coast but I’ve set my mind on doing the East Coast.

The expenses in clothing and charts alone are quite steep. I already have a camera with a casing and strobes, as well as a three GPS. I’ll try to use what I have in terms of electronics. I may crack and get a GoPro HD sport camera for instant recordings and a GPS with more complete charts would be helpful but certainly not a necessity.

January 10, Montreal

Blair wants 2900$ for the AI with the trampolines. The trampolines create a living surface and give me a lot of options. That’s a good price to start with. I’ll try some negotiating and bartering since I know he’d like to get into spearfishing. He may be more into having money though.

My apartment was quite a site for the last two days. I installed the hammock in my kitchen. I used four clamps to tie it on one door frame and the partial wall next to my washing machine. The first night I got cold even though I was using a really warm sleeping bag. I learned that heat escapes quite fast when you sleep on air. The second night, yes I tried it a second night, I used a standard foam sleeping mat inside the hammock and that settled the heat loss problem. The mat also helped keep the hammock open and made sleeping a little easier. Overall, for me, sleeping in a hammock is a last resort. I don’t find it comfortable enough.

I also got the GoPro camera. Now I have to learn its possibilities. Choosing angles for the story such as geography, social aspects of the intracoastal, environment, fauna, fish etc. should be part of my planning.

January 18, Montreal

I’m tired of the waiting game. I got my new passport today. I only have to wait for one camera lens on the material side. I will purchase the rest of my equipment at Bass Pro Shop and other American sporting good stores. I will find a way to sleep on the kayak if it kills me.

The marine charts of the ICW are now a permanent feature of my life. Consulting it, I see a great amount of bridges and structures and the notes do point to busy traffic. The more I look at it the more the ocean side is tempting, especially in Georgia where it turns into an ever ending sinuous puzzle. My odds of finding covert sleeping spots increase as I leave the crowds.

I have to go see Blair before long. I talked with a store owner in Fort Lauderdale. He’d be willing to sell me a new AI for 3175$ without trampolines. The tramps themselves are 300$. Perhaps I can get Blair to lower his price somewhat.

On the health side, the doctor put me on nasal saline solution and local Cortisone. I have a chronic sinus infection or inflammation. That would somehow explain my cough. I doubt it. The infection or inflammation is not going down in any case. I’ll end up taking antibiotics.

January 21, Montreal

Yesterday I found out the mailman failed, yet again, to deliver any of the notices of delivery of my lens. It had been at the post office for more than two weeks and the final notice had been sent ten days earlier. I never got the first notice, never mind the final notice. I was told that I should complain to Canada Post. I wonder how that would get a unionized worker to do his job.

My sinuses are just as infected as before. I noticed that my cough stops as soon as I leave Montreal. Perhaps the cough is not related to my sinuses after all. I went to St-Boniface to see my mother. She lives in the sticks. I did not cough at all the entire time I was there. That a good enough reason to go hike up north to further investigate.

I met Blair at his home near Lancaster Ontario. I checked the kayak with him. We’re working on a price and checking if there is any sort of workable agreement towards a sponsorship from him or Hobie.

The kayak is not very long and will easily fit on my car. The hamas will go inside my car in all likelihood. That would cut on unnecessary drag. They are quite small. Once you take them apart. I will have to make a set of wheels for transport on beaches. I’ve seen the existing models and they are so primitive it will take me half an hour making a set superior to what’s available. I very confident that trip will pan out alright. This would give me a chance to do the most populated and less inviting part, meaning Florida, section by section while doing underwater photography and spearfishing. I’ll go all out after I reach the two hours drive from my condo.

I spoke to François. He’s supposed to send me a video of the condo. It will be 250$ per week for less than 4 weeks or 200$ for 4 and more. I’d have my own place instead of a room with other people.

This sort of semi long term living arrangement would really entice me to explore the keys and the Everglades. It sure would make my trials interesting.

January 22, Montreal

People asked me why I’m doing this. I always find it difficult to answer this. No because I don’t know but because I cannot imagine an answer that will be satisfactory for them. Certainly, I’m not seeking approval but my reasons I suspect are likely to cause unwanted reactions, at least an uncomfortable moment as the person asking me the question assimilates the meaning of the real answer.

The fact is, I’ve never been convinced that most people live full lives. Teaching time management to a bunch of college students, I did a simple exercise. It’s simple but generally generates a lot of stress and panic attacks. I started by asking them to write down what they did, minute by minute during the course of one day. I invited them to estimate how much time they devoted to different activities during the week, including sleep and social networking, based on what they learned from that day. A week later I gave them the assignment of writing down their goals for the next 5 years. I made it simple by dividing it in categories such as family, work, educations and so on, instead of asking them about their true life purpose which would have been criminal. As a final exercise, I had them go back to their no doubt embellished week activity list and asked them in what way these activities would help them attain any of their goals. It’s pretty standard stuff that you will do in any time management class but I felt as though I may as well had told them they had a terminal disease.

Most people feel they are pretty much out of control and are not working towards these goals. That should be enough to create a malaise.

If you are seeking higher meaning, this exercise feel utterly useless since the only part that would truly be worth exploring is how do these 5 year goals align with their higher purpose, reason for being alive. These exercises are meant to make us into functional goal seekers, achievers, and to make us more industrious. My problem is that most of these socially accepted goals like having a career, a nice household, material security, comfort, and general social approval fail to inspire me. I don’t see how they are paths to anything meaningful. It’s mostly about increasing comfort and security. In fact, I don’t know how I could make myself care about a lot of these goals.

Don’t think that I’m going to say that kayaking 3000 km is a meaningful way of spending your time. It’s not in itself but if you ask me why I’m doing this I may have to ask you why you do what you do. You’ve been forewarned.

2 Comments
  1. rseale permalink

    Sounds like an epic journey man…I came across your blog quite randomly, but I really dig your ideas…I did a cross canada bike trip and had some similar feelings about the journey. People can’t seem to understand why you would do it in the first place…they tend to change their tone as you get further and further into it…. its as if your journey can change how people feel about adventure… keep it up….

    • Thanks, I’m reading Matthiew Mohlkey’s Floating down the country and I believe he’s describing exactly that. It’s strange how people are baffled by people doing stuff unless it’s for money.

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