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Solo safaris


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[Assume paddler is equipped with requisite saftey gear, including GPS, waterproof or sealed.]

First and foremost, be prepared to NOT paddle. Expect that the weather will not cooperate. Bring books, soduku, journals, geocache, etc. while waiting out Mother Nature. Consider paddling at dawn's crack or evening, when seas tend to be calmer. (I spent the better part of a 15-knot day at a leeward shell beach before embarking at 6pm on a gentle, 2-mile crossing to my intended campsite).

Keep an ear on the VHF (Two of us (sorta solo) jointly decided to open-ocean paddle through 4 miles of fog, a day early, rather than face forecasted 20 knot winds the next day).

Take time to explore terra firma. The favorite part of my journeys is island exploration, via trails or shore-combing. (Noted "finds" include paddle poagy, tilley hat, 50' of rope. Buoys/traps are verboten, the assumption/law being fisherman will retrieve their displaced merchandise :-))

Be expert with chart, compass, and GPS. Practice determining GPS waypoints on nautical charts using rulers and dividers. Pre-load known waypoints into your GPS, to include: island centers, tips of peninsulas, and aids to navigation. Pen these same waypoints and parallel magnetic N lines to your photocopied chart before laminating. Bring a detailed NOAA chart copy. A copy of Delorme gazeteer works, with much editing, but might put you "at sea" when you can't locate that tiny islet you are approaching in the fog. Know your paddling cadence under varying conditions for purposes of dead reckoning.

Enjoy the company of a campfire, where allowed, below the HT mark or in established pit. Maine permits are easily obtained over the phone. Indicate a wide range of days to allow for contingencies, and china or permanent mark your hull with permit # (next to hi and lo tides for the days you are tripping).

Keep your agenda flexible and conservative. Follow the mantra of adventurers: That mountain peak/island/bay will still be there tomorrow.

Your thoughts?


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