Posted by: williekp | February 3, 2012

Be prepared!

Willie the cub scout

A very long time ago in the cubs we were taught ‘be prepared’. This takes on a bit of a different meaning when we are not surrounded by all of the everyday resources we become so very used to. On the  3000 nautical mile leg between the Galapagos and the Marquesas we will be a long way from anywhere and anyone for a long time. In the middle of that leg, it will take two weeks to reach land assuming a serviceable yacht and 24×7 sailing. This post will give you an insight into some of the things I have turned my mind to this week to become better prepared. It is also by way of proof to some of my closer friends that I don’t sit around all day watching daytime TV!

The image above somewhat focuses the mind, with the line showing our approximate path that can take around 25-30 days. No Boots, no Waitrose, no doctor or dentist, no land in any direction. It is at this point that you are all confirming what you thought you already knew. ‘Willie is completely mad’. Hopefully, we can discuss that fully when I get back, so in the mean time, what are these preparations?

Well, number one preparation was to find a way of making the distances smaller and not to feel so far from home. That one I covered by buying a satellite phone. It is a clever piece of kit. Yes, I can call home and home can call me. It does text and voicemail. It claims to be waterproof. It has a handy GPS built in so I can send my position and a handy little emergency button that puts me in direct touch with Falmouth coastguards who recently organised the rescue of the rowers who fell out of their boat 500 miles from Barbados.  Now, they really are mad. All the bits so far,I have working. It also comes with a little box that when plugged into the phone creates a little wireless network that lets me access the Internet from this i-Pad to get weather forecasts e-mail etc. I have yet to get that bit working.

Once we leave Panama we are going to be short of shops, especially fishing shops. This has exercised my mind and a lot of time has gone in to sourcing all the bits and pieces we will need to catch fish ranging from a marlin,trailing a lure behind the boat , to a bone fish on a fly. Fishing is a big part of this whole adventure for me and I hope to have a lot to report on in future posts.

We have a brewer, two pilots and a product marketeer on board but no doctor or fang snatcher. Being prepared extends to what does one do to mitigate that particular set of risks? A decent insurance policy gives one access to a doctor 24×7 by phone, which is where the sat phone comes in handy again. Getting advice will be helpful but having a good supply of proper medicine is also important. Thanks to my friendly GP , I will be travelling with several sets of antibiotics , antihistamines, local anaesthetic ,syringes, stitching kit etc etc. Let’s hope it all stays in the box. More next time.

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