The Old Sea Dog’s Gear Locker [30]

By Norm Sanders

Thanks to modern science, the OSD has discovered a whole new oceanic world. No longer are his kayaking days just a blur. Cataract surgery? Contact lenses? No. Rain-X™!

His once salt-encrusted Glarefoils now glisten clearly in the sunshine, even after a trashing in the surf. Rain-X™ is an expensive liquid ($12.95 per 100 ml bottle) which is used on helicopter windscreens, car and boat windshields and motorcycle helmet visors with dramatic results. Good stuff. When applied only to Glarefoils, 100 ml goes a long way.

The OSD gratefully acknowledges the cleverness of Fishkiller who discovered Rain-X™ while searching for a way to keep his amphibious video camera free of water droplets on the glass of the housing.

Modern science has also come to the aid of the OSD’s paddling energy, which is much in need of assistance. He has learned from Marathon freak Jim Croft and others that carbohydrates are the key. They break down into the sugars which fuel the muscles. Mars Bars™, unfortunately, aren’t as good because they give you a sudden sugar hit and then let you down.

The OSD learned that bananas are an excellent source of carbohydrates. After further research he found that many grains are also good. “Why not,” he thought, “bake a bread of some kind which would be suitable for long kayak trips??”

So he did. The famous Carbo Cake™ was born. It has since been tested on a Nadgee trip and came through with flying crullers. (Pun) Most found it edible, some even pronounced it good. The frequently nibbled Carbo Cake™ certainly kept the OSD from getting the usual depleted, headachy feeling he ordinarily feels after a few hours of paddling. In addition, he found that a breakfast of Carbo Cake™ gave him all the nutrition and goodness of his usual semolina without cooking, thus saving a great deal of time. The public-spirited OSD has offered to share his secret:

Carbo Cake™

  • 2 Cups Wholemeal self raising flour (fine stoneground)
  • 1 Cup Semolina
  • 1 Cup Wheat germ
  • 1/2 Cup Buckwheat
  • 1/2 Cup dried paw paw or other fruit
  • 1 1/2 Cups milk
  • 2 Whole eggs

Add all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl and beat the hell out of them with a spoon. Take tablespoon-sized globs of dough and form into balls. Place on non-stick tray close together. Like their close relations, the rock cakes, they don’t increase in size while cooking. Bake in Hot oven for 25 minutes. If not used immediately, put in freezer for the next expedition.

Enjoy, energetically.

Water is also essential for good paddling performance. Most paddlers don’t drink enough water. The human being is the only animal which doesn’t get thirsty until after there is already a water deficit. The OSD has been drinking lots more water than usual and benefiting therefrom. Adding a fluid and energy replacement like Isosport™ kills two birds (so to speak) with one stone. They recommend consumption at the rate of one litre per hour for heavy exercise, AND a litre during the hour after exercise to replenish supplies.

Of course, what goes in, must come out. If not as sweat, then as piss. The OSD uses his bailing bucket while at sea. At night, in the privacy of his tent, he utilises a plastic container to avoid that time of excruciating decision — bladder pressure versus leaving a warm, dry sleeping bag to venture out into the deluges which characterise NSWSKC outings. The OSD urges that paddlers make sure the bottle is big enough, or else the problem is just compounded.

So much for liquid effluent. The solids require a different approach. The traditional Aussie method involves walking a few steps into the bush with a wad of old newspapers, which are liberally strewn about after the act. More environmentally aware types carry neat little plastic shovels for digging cat holes and burning the used toilet paper. However, the US wilderness health gurus have other ideas. The OSD found that present thinking in Alaska is to shit in the intertidal zone, letting the forces of wind and wave break down the lumps. Popular camp sites were running out of cat hole locations. The OSD recalls seeing the natives of the Pacific Islands using the intertidal technique before (and indeed, after) the US Peace Corps arrived with their water-seal toilet projects. A fish called the Roi ate the turds and the islanders then ate the fish, which only seems fair.

When no intertidal zone is handy, the Yanks advocate the smear. It was long assumed that microorganisms in near-surface soil rapidly rendered shit harmless. But then came the turd-testers, scientists who purposely cat-holed, pathogen-impregnated excrement and dug it up a year later to discover some of the pathogens were still active.

Now they say that shit rots away to harmlessness more quickly if it is smeared over the surface to maximise sun and air exposure. If no good smear or intertidal sites exist, then the only alternative is to carry the shit home in plastic bags. Already, some of the more adaptable NSWSKC members have noted the new approach. “Well,” said Jim Croft at Nadgee River, “Guess I’ll go take a smear.”

While more or less on the subject of the US, the OSD spotted an item in Backpacker Magazine about how United Airlines is confiscating all fuel stoves and bottles. Official airline policy is to destroy all liquid fuel stoves, with or without fuel “To prevent the possibility of a detonation.” Travellers beware. Hopefully this pernicious Yank paranoia won’t spread to our azure and peaceful skies.

News Flash

REI is now Online!

The OSD’s ego recently got the better of him and he had his old (1954) membership number re-instated. REI now has some 4 million members. The OSD’s number is 00004863, which brings gasps of respect and awe from the REI personnel. However, the OSD is quick to add that the service was just as good when he was just one of the herd.

Gear rules, ok?