A few people have asked about what our typical morning is like when the weather is not so good. Don’t we feel like staying in bed? So here it is.
Around 6am alarm goes off. More recently though the wind and rain on the tent usually acts as our early morning wake up. We’ll check the inshore forecast again and for double measure, peer outside the tent at the sea state. If all looks well, we’ll start by packing up the inside of our tents: sleeping mat, sleeping bag, phone charger, shore clothes, journal etc. Next we climb into our base layers – leggings and either one or two long sleeve tops depending in how warm we expect it to be. Yep, normally two then. If these were damp from the day before we normally keep them between the sleeping bag liner and the bag itself overnight – that normally dries them out and warms them up for the morning, although I’m sure it does nothing for the general odour of our kit!
Next the slightly unpleasant bit – pulling on damp paddling kit – either a dry suit or two piece cag and trousers. Now we can brave the rain. All the kit is packed into dry bags and the trick is to squeeze them inside the three hatches in the boats. Each bag has its designated place, pack them in the wrong order and nothing fits. If it is raining, we try and wipe each one down before packing to keep the hatches dry. After 75 days of packing an unpacking – this bit is now down to a fine art.
Next we’ll eat breakie and hope that the wind will dry the tents (if it has stopped raining). Once tents are packed we’ll check radios, GPS devices and route plan for the day and get on the water.
Of course, if there is a cafe open nearby we do feel it is rude not to pop in and get a strong coffee.
Finally, when I’ve procrastinated enough, we’ll get on water.
Immediately the negative thoughts about being damp and cold disappear. We are where we should be, covering miles and getting absorbed into the scenery and wildlife. It can rain all it likes in the water so long as it stops when we land.
One consequence of being this damp for so long is that our hands look like we’ve been soaking in a bath for too long. All wrinkly. Even when we think they are dry, all you need to do us wash them and instantly they go wrinkly again.
But 75 days into this little adventure of ours and we have come to the conclusion that damp and cold isn’t all that bad. The experiences that we have daily more than make up for minor discomforts.
Having said that, there are a few things that help us get by: Eccles cakes, carrot cake, decent coffee, chocolate. Oh and the bottle of 16 yr old Lagavulin that makes a regular appearance at the end of a day!