Friday, September 2 –
Not that we want to drag out our time here or that we are dreading the next two hundred and seventy days but I thought it would be good to keep track of and divide the time into segments. I begin the count today because it is our first full day of aloneness.
We slept until 08:45 this morning. My first act of the day, as it will be every day, is to go out to the generator shack and fire up the 20 kilowatt generator.
After having our morning coffee, Wendi set about doing the lodge laundry that Jordan had asked her to do and I started writing and trying to remember everything that had happened over the past week. I was definitely playing catch-up in the writing department.
After lunch, Wendi followed me out to shut down the generator for the afternoon and incinerate the garbage. Afterwards, we went down to the dock. The weather was calm and partly cloudy and very nice. We indulged in a little mood alteration and then went for a walk in the woods. I neglected to bring a camera and that was a major mistake. I have to go back there and photograph the coolest tree ever.
Upon returning to the lodge I set about making a mouse trap for the basement out of the broken handle of a gaff, a 20 litre pail and two nails. Wendi spent this time snooping through the endless stockpiles of supplies.
With the new mouse trap set, we went back into the lodge. Wendi started supper and I played guitar for a while. Later we played some pool and then had dinner. I lit the fireplace, as it was getting a little chilly and then went down to the basement and shut off the boiler. We ended the evening with a movie, then I went out and shut down the generator and went to bed around 23:00.
Saturday, September 3
Learned an important lesson last night. Never go to bed without knowing where a flashlight is.
We made our way upstairs by the light of a flashlight but when I lied down, Wendi had the light and was searching for something. I must have been asleep by the time she came to bed and later, at (whatever time it was) o’ clock, I awoke with the urge to pee. I got up. The urge became slightly more pronounced. I realized I had no light. It intensified. I felt my way to the bathroom door and thought to myself, “For all I can see, I might as well have my eyes closed”. I closed my eyes and there was no difference. I opened my eyes again and I could not see even the faintest of outlines in the bathroom. The urge became urgent! I thought about trying to feel my way down the stairs to get a flashlight. I thought again… STAIRS! I reconsidered. I felt my way into the bathroom. I found the toilet. All I could do was let go and hope for the best. I heard the safety of water from beginning to end. I did good!
Up at 07:00, start generator, boiler and coffee pot. Start writing the catch-up from previous days.
The weather is still calm but mostly cloudy. The temperature is fairly warm. I wish we had a thermometer and some basic weather measuring equipment. Oh well, after writing for a while, having some breakfast and coffee, I suggest we go and play with a kayak. Wendi’s all over that, giddy up, let’s go. Okay so I finish up what I’m doing on the computer and do a quick Google search for “kayak tips”, grab a couple of pfd’s and we’re off to the beach.
Keep in mind now, that neither of us have ever tried kayaking before, so we are proceeding with caution. We grab the smallest, single man kayak off the rack and put it in the water. I don the GoPro and slip into the ‘yak. Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that graceful but none-the-less, I managed to get in, paddle around to the other side of the dock, land and get out without getting wet. I was pretty happy with that. Wendi’s turn! Wendi slips into the ‘yak and I push her out. She’s thrilled. She paddles around for a bit, lands and gets out. Her too, without getting wet. So! Now that we’re ready for an expedition – you know, because now we’re experienced ‘yakkers – it’s back to the lodge to get some gumboots and provisions, i.e., two bottles of water.
Back at the beach, we take another kayak from the rack. It’s bigger than the yellow one we tried out and purpler too. We take it down to the water and I climb in. Wendi gets in the little one and off we go across the bay toward a group of islets. Makin’ it up as we go along!
The weather is still nice but the breeze is picking up a little and the wavelets are too. They are small and unnoticeable when we hit them bow on but in the bigger and more tippy kayak, even the small waves have an effect when hitting beam on. No problem though and I’m getting pretty comfortable with the feel of the boat. We decide to land on a small islet to have a look around. When I say small, I mean small. Only about a couple of thousand square feet and it peaks at about 10 feet above the high tide line. It has a few trees and shrubs growing on it but one of the regular staff who has spent winters here as care-taker, told us that this particular islet can be completely swamped by waves in the winter storms. I can’t wait to see that!
As we get closer to the target islet, I intentionally start to pick up speed. My plan is to run this baby as hard aground as I can so that I can get out of it with some level of stability. It didn’t work! I ran her aground pretty hard and did beach her pretty good but when I tried to lift myself out of the kayak, she turned over so fast that, in a blink of an eye, I ended up in the water completely soaked from waste down and from hands to elbows. FUCK! So I climbed out and dragged her ashore and said, “Well we might as well have a look around anyway.” Wendi was good with that. Seemingly unconcerned with me, she immediately started scanning for stones, relics, or what-have-you, as did I. Straight away, I found an empty spray bottle of “Mr Muscle” with a Japanese label.
Although the water seemed surprisingly warm, I didn’t want to linger too long and end up getting a chill so I took my bounty and put it in the cargo hold of Wendi’s kayak and we relaunched to head for home. That’s enough of that for one day!
After putting the kayaks back on the rack, I headed up to the lodge and stripped naked on the deck and hung my clothes to dry on the rail. I love the feeling of being completely alone here – When everything is working properly anyway.
Since taking a dip of the diesel generator fuel level, it has become apparent that we had better cut back on the generator use. By my calculations, at our current (estimated) usage, we will run out of fuel for the generator about one week before the barge arrives – Assuming it’s on time. We either start conserving fuel now or watch our food supply rot.
One way to reduce generator time would be to have some reserve battery power to run the satellite internet system after the generator is turned off. Jordan left a few UPS battery packs in his room so after dinner I hiked over to the internet satellite dishes with a couple of them.
The modems are set up in a plastic tote, under a make-shift shelter – This is “The Internet Tree”. I opened up the tote and tried to make sense of the tangled web of cables, cords and electronic gadgets. Figuring the simplest thing would be to unplug the power bar that everything is plugged in to and put the daisy chained power packs in line, that is what I did. For some inexplicable, at this point, reason, it didn’t work. So now, until I can figure out what is wrong, we have no internet and, other than the emergency satellite phone, no communication. I’m sure I’ll get it figured out in the daylight tomorrow. Tonight is certainly not the time to worry about it.
Sunday, September 4
I woke up this morning and it was still dark. The back pain I had last night is gone. I am surprised at that as I had taken nothing for it and usually, when it’s as bad as it was, it will keep me awake until I do. The fact that it was gone this morning also says a lot for the bed we have.
I knew I wouldn’t sleep anymore but didn’t want to get up because I didn’t want to start the generator so early. I wanted to let Wendi sleep too as she has a really rough time sleeping because of her back pain.
It got light enough for me to see that it was a cloudy day and even though it still seems dark, it was probably time to get up. Sure enough, 06:45 by the clock above the pool table. I lit a fire and sat down with my lap top.
Wendi was up by about 07:30 so I went out and started the generator. I didn’t feel like going out to the internet tree to fix that little problem so I just went back inside to have some coffee. Today, job one is to get the line of communication back up and get online. Tomorrow is Monday and I have to send an email to check in with the office every Monday so they know we’re still alive. No sense paying dead people, I reckon. After lunch, if it’s raining, maybe I’ll change the oil in the generator.
Wendi got so busy vacuuming and being little miss housekeeper that she completely forgot to do breakfast. I remembered late as well, so by the time we ate, it was more like brunch.
Between cups of coffee I went back to the internet tree and got us back online. On the way back, I took a couple of pictures of the tree that I was so impressed with yesterday.
Once we had hot water and had eaten, I went out to shut down the boiler, the generator and dip the tanks. I decided that I would rather do something outdoors as long as it isn’t raining, so suggested that we go for a walk in the woods and do some more exploring. Wendi thought that was a good plan, so I lied down for a nap. Wendi left without me and went down to the beach to scour for whatever it is she scours for.
After an hour of resting my eyes on the couch I went out to the deck to check on Wendi. She was so focussed on the microcosms of the beach that I doubt she even noticed me as I clambered down on to the rocky beach and went off in the other direction. I followed along the water’s edge until I reached the end of the beach and entered the tree line. I disappeared into the lush green environment of the rain forest. I found a trail and continued on, taking pictures with my iPhone as I went. After about 20 minutes I emerged back onto the beach further out toward the open ocean and looked back toward the lodge for Wendi. She was still there, across the bay from me, scouring the beach for treasure. I whistled and waved – She waved back. I turned and hiked on, moving along between the tree line and the water line away from the lodge.
Further along about ten minutes, I found an interesting looking place to re-enter the forest. Once inside, I turned back toward the lodge and hiked until I found a sort of a trail to follow and decided to make for camp. Before too long I could see the lodge through the trees and when I came out on the rocks where I first left the beach, I looked up at the lodge to see Wendi waving at me. I left the beach and climbed the steps up to the deck where Wendi showed me all her treasure. She has an interesting definition of treasure, that’s all I can say.
After dinner we finished the day with a few beer and some pool. So ends the day and so ends the first, partial, week at The Outpost.