Saturday, October 6, 2007
I Have Made Fire!
Weight: 214 lbs.
Breakfast: small cup of mango juice
Lunch: roasted squash seasoned with sea salt (3 young summer squashes)
half an avocado
half a mango
Dinner: small cup of mango juice
stewed squash seasoned with sea salt (3 young summer squashes)
half an avocado
Sleeping in a raft at sea is a whole different experience than sleeping in one on dry land. The sea is soft; land is hard. After a little mango juice for breakfast, I spent the morning working on my shelter. By lunch I had a roof over my head and enough raft pieces left to make a nice hammock. Walls and floor will have to come later.
About mid-morning I spotted something bright and yellow at the edge of a field. When I got to it, I found summer squash -- a lot of it. I gathered a few and took them back to camp. Now I've heard you can eat squash raw, but I shuddered at the thought. A hot meal is what I really needed after being rain-soaked so many nights.
Using a rock, a flat piece of driftwood, and a bow I made with a stick and flexible vine, I began spinning a pointed stick into the board while pushing down on it with the rock. After doing this for over an hour and a half, I only got a little smoke once. Maybe driftwood wasn't the best choice? I struck out into the forest until I found a cedar tree. Using my homemade axe, I cut a small plank and took that back to camp. I used a primitive knife I'd made from a seashell to cut a little notch in the edge of the plank and put a little pile of tender beneath the notch to catch any embers I could get out of the cedar. I drilled a little hole near the notch and began again, taking longer strokes with the bow this time. After about 8 attempts smoke started rising from the tender. I grabbed it up in my hands and continued blowing on it until it burst into flame. It was only when I placed it into the fire pit I built with rocks that I realized I hadn't taken the time to gather fire wood. Luckily there was plenty nearby and I ran back and forth with anything I thought would burn until I had a nice hot fire going. There is nothing like a fire to warm not only the body, but also the heart.
It gets pretty dark around here at night, and since this is a large land mass there may be animals around at night. Some of them may be dangerous. I've been relieving myself on all the trees within 50 yards of camp to "mark my territory" in case a night animal did come along, but this fire will probably work even better.
Now that I had fire, I cut up 3 of the small squashes and roasted them, seasoning them with sea salt. I found a much more efficient way of collecting sea salt. I would take my shirt and soak it in seawater, then let it dry out and wipe the salt from it into a seashell I used to collect it. With fire I should be able to dry the shirt much more quickly and build up a supply of sea salt in camp. The squash was great. I ate half a mango and half an avocado along with it.
By this time I was really tired and wanting to try out the new hammock, so I climbed into it and fell asleep. When I woke up it was almost nightfall. I spent the rest of the day gathering firewood.
Wanting a little more variety in my meals I decided to try and stew some of the other squash I had brought back to camp for dinner. I positioned a couple of rocks over the fire so they'd hold a clamshell bowl in which I was able to cook. I made a marvelous squash stew and ate that along with half an avocado for dinner, drinking mango juice instead of water. It was a wonderful hot meal. I look forward to sleeping in that hammock tonight.