He thought about how far he might have drifted by now from where he fell in.
It had been high slack late that afternoon, and just at the tail end is when the Hali hit. So it would be ebbing now, he knew it was still early in the change. Knowing his location he calculated which way the currents and tide would take him. Off to the north west would be Aricobra Rocks, so he would be about 20 miles from Namu. To the East would be the camp, maybe 7 miles, and in the direction he had heard the boat earlier. Silent now, though.
Perhaps they were regrouping, choosing a search pattern. What would it be- Parallel, Creeping Line, Expanding Square, or Sector. Each one involving many factors and each subject to the situation. The fog had now cleared, and visibility was good, so he would have chosen an expanding square, had he arrived on scene alone. More boats could be called out to engage in a parallel sweep; they had the crew to do it, a good choice considering they would have a large area and only a guess at his last known location.
When he first arrived in Hakai more than 20 years ago, the boats never got out to these spots. They were off the chart, literally, much too far out to consider. The equipment of the day consisted of hand held compasses and dead reckoning (actually “ded” reckoning, short for deduced reckoning or DR where you use a fixed position, estimating time and speed on course). All very old school, low tech or no tech, but in their day it was what they had and it worked. He had found this spot that way after some productive test fishing expeditions, wanting to return to the area. They lost virtually no boats back then. No one ventured out in the fog, boats fished together, the buddy system was accepted and everyone got home. With each advancement it technology, people’s confidence in and reliance on devices gave way to endless possibilities. Possibilities of discovery and possibilities of danger. Some people relied on tools they had no idea how to use, simply having a hand-held GPS on board somehow inoculated the user from loss. This was brought glaringly home to him some time ago when he was asked if he could demonstrate how to use one just prior to departure for the morning’s fish. The GPS was still in the package, the battery was not in yet, though they were ready to go! So no, he could not demonstrate it, they would need to rely on the buddy system much to their dismay. He longed for those days now, when there were no “apps for that”, people discussed things instead of looking them up, after dinner was sitting around, drinking, talking fishing and bullshitting. Now people were glued to their screens, disconnected with the place and each other. No, he was not a Luddite, he appreciated the tech, relied on it himself but people came first. This was the new reality, change was a given, always has been. He wished he could access some of that tech now. The EPIRB was still in his boat. Had the boat capsized it would be afloat, sending out location signals, registered to the boat, he likely would have been rescued by now. There were new ones now of course, personal one’s that fit in your pocket. Everything was possible now, available at a price. But there was not one in his.
He was alone, waiting, keeping hypothermia at bay, trying to conserve what heat remained. The ways to lose it compounding the situation, radiation, conduction, convection and evaporation. 65% loss by radiation, the normal process of heat leaving the body. Another 10-15% by convection, depending on the wind. Then 2% for conduction from contact with the cold water; the numbers added up quickly. Mitigating evaporation by staying still, no unnecessary exertion, just bobbing a bit with the waves and the currents. He felt his odds were pretty good, he had good layers, floater suit, and minimum exposure of his skin, and luckily his gloves were still on, that hat snug on top. He considered the currents now, he had seen on many occasions a floating log in the same location or near, on 3 consecutive days after two highs and two lows each day. There was a pattern of currents near these islands which betrayed the tide’s assumed direction. It would move an object in a large oval pattern until finally spitting it out after skirting the edge. This gave him comfort- he would just need to hang on. What had he said before leaving the dock, who was there at the time, what had transpired. He was fueling up, he remembered now, chatting with the dock crew at the cleaning table, joking about going to his secret spot, needing to have a full tank. Yes that was it, that would give them something to go on. He was sure. He imagined them talking about it all after, how yes, they recalled the conversation, figured it was “no name spot” and headed out with a search party. Optimism, hope, will to live; check, check, check. Now where were they, it was getting darker, colder.
To be continued…..
Category: Tales of the Pass