I am ready. I can’t believe it it’s been a long time coming, but I’ve only got a couple of days to go. My equipment is checked safe and loaded in the dry bags, all the mapping is finalised and all we have to do now is just relax for the last two days and wait for Saturday morning.
One of the most important things we have to prepare for is a disaster this could be anything from getting caught in a bad storm to having a heart attack out at sea, so each of will have 4 form of communication at all times:
#1 PLB Personal location beacon
This is the most important piece of equipment we carry. When activated it will send a signal containing all your information and location to the rescue services. I never go out with out this ,
#2. Hand held VHF Radio
Normally a vital piece of equipment for communicating with other vessels and the emergency services. Unfortunately for kayakers they have a limited range because we are so low to the water. The range is normally line of sight and whilst sailing boats often have antenna on top of their masts, our radios are at chest height from the water. So we can’t rely on these alone, but they will be useful for communicating with the coastguard at close range in the event of a rescue.
#3, Mobile phone
As we are generally not far from land there is a good chance you will get a signal. We will carry the HM Coastguard numbers stored in the phone and they will help us liaise with the support crew. We will also be running an app called Safetrx which has been developed by the RYA and HM Coastguard. This allows us to tell the HMC our route for the day and an expected arrival time. It sends alerts if we don’t arrive on time and contacts our next of kins to alert them.
These are used to send out a distress signal and also to help the helicopters or lifeboat locate us in the event of an emergency. We will carry two types, red parachute flares which will let people know we are in trouble and orange smoke flares to help locate us.
By choice Mark & I will also carry a Spot location device. This will update our
location on our website every 2.5 minutes, providing live tracking and also give reassurance to our support crew that everything is OK. In addition, it can be used like a PLB to contact the emergency services via satellite, providing them with our location and alerting them to the fact we are in a distress situation.
We also carry a compass, Hand held GPS, and charts So as to can see we should be ready for anything the seas and the weather might throw at us. Although it might seem strange, one of the things I love about being at sea is when a thick sea fog descends. There’s an eerie feeling you get when all you can see around you is water. As long as you keep your wits about you and know how to handle it, it’s a fantastic sensation. If that does happen, we’ll try livestreaming it on our Facebook Page so you can experience it!
Tomorrow we’ll be doing a Live Q&A with the whole team on Facebook at about 8pm. This will be an opportunity to ask us anything you wish about the challenge, the cause and how we’re feeling. That’s all for now. Looking forward to chatting tomorrow evening!