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Wireless Nomad Blog post

My Nomad ultra-rugged PDA

Today's Blog post has been transmitted wireless via my new NOMAD rugged PDA computer. My good friend Julia from one of my sponsors Trimble Corporation just sent me their brand new Nomad rugged PDA. It features integrated wireless, Bluetooth, a GPS, 1 GB of flash storage and a high res sunlight visible VGA display.

Plus, you can throw it down the stairs into pool of hot lava and it will still work! (well, I haven't tested the lava part yet, but it is water proof to a meter of water for 30 minutes).

I have my water proof "cool series" USB keyboard plugged into it, so I can type instead of the hunt and peck method o using the stylus to pick out letters on the display keyboard.

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Sponsors
Thanks so much for your support with my Across With Greg name on the boat sponsorship program!! At $30 per name on WiTHiN, I need to sell about about 3300 names to pay for 1/2 of the expedition costs. That's my goal, and so far I have 56 Across With Greg subscribers.

You can help by spreading the word. Send an email out to some friends today letting them know about my project.

EASY and fast: Click here to donate $30

EASY and fast: Click here to donate $100 and buy a PTO T-shirt
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Sea Trails

I have been communicating with the WestCoast Paddler group about my upcoming sea trial trip. I need to accomplish two things:

1. LIVING TEST: I need to spend time in WiTHiN getting used to long pedalling days and living aboard so that I can feedback any changes that are required to the new expedition boat design. For example, one of the things I have recently discovered, is how difficult it is to enter the rear sleeping area with my feet toward the stern. I may have to make the deck over the cockpit a few inches higher.

I'll be experimenting with cooking while at sea, moving about the boat, cleaning, bathroom, navigation, communications, etc.

Ocean rower Greg Spooner thinks this is the most important experience I can gain to prepare for an ocean crossing.

2. ADVANCED SEAS TEST: I need to gain some open ocean experience for both myself and WiTHiN. I would like to test how she surfs down large swells, and the effect of heavy winds from every direction, her stability abeam the sea, etc. I would also like to test how effective a sea anchor is if lashed to the bow or the stern.

The Westcoast paddlers agree that perhaps these are two separate tests. For test number 1, a route through the protected Gulf Islands will probably work well, as I have access to marinas and services and help if I run into trouble. For test #2, they recommend leaving a protected port and nosing into some more advanced ocean conditions during an appropriate weather window. I might like to have an RIB boat accompany me during this test. We inserted two stainless steel tubes through WiTHiN's bow and stern (I call them her nose-ring holes) to securely hold a towing line.


My mini-expedition stuff table

For the living test, I am starting to make a list of supplies, equipment and safety gear a that I will require for 3 days on the water. I've set up a table outside my shop to hold everything I think I'm going to need. Some of these items are linked to more details:

  1. Marine radio
  2. Personal EPIRB
  3. Camp food for 3 days
  4. Stove fuel
  5. GPS maps of gulf islands for Garmin GPS (CA001R inside passage)
  6. Navigation light
  7. Fire extinguisher
  8. First-aid kit
  9. Compressed air horn
  10. Tool kit
  11. Bilge pump
  12. Paddles
  13. Jetboil camp Stove
  14. Water bags
  15. Sleeping bag (should be good for 0 degrees C)
  16. Blanket
  17. Sponges
  18. Extra AA batteries
  19. Nomad computer & Rugged Tech keyboard
  20. Digital Camera and video cam
  21. Cell phone
  22. Garmin Etrex Venture Cx GPS
  23. Toilet stuff (don't ask)
  24. Bathroom kit
  25. Clothes (warm!)
  26. Gulf islands chart (paper)
  27. Emergency numbers and frequencies
  28. iPod
  29. SRM
  30. Bike shoes
  31. Life jacket
  32. Throw line
  33. Compass
  34. Neoprene booties
  35. Extra line
  36. Towel
  37. Coffee
  38. Coffee cup
  39. Flash light
  40. Knife


A small fire-extinguisher is mounted behind the seat
I'll be working with the Westcoast paddlers on the exact route I will take through the Gulf islands. As far as the advanced seas test goes, I might just play that by ear. If the weather is bad, and I get a safe opportunity to venture out into the straight of Juan de Fuca, then I may go for it. Or, I may try to plan that for another trip.


I finally convinced someone to paint WiTHiN for me! She'll be trailered out to Bob Douglas's paint shop this afternoon.

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Marathon training

Helen and I are competing in the Las Vegas marathon this Sunday. It was my goal to go for a PR 3:15 finishing time, but I don't think that is going to happen this time around. My Achilles tendon, calf and hamstring on my left side is still really bothering me. I've been keeping up with my training, but I am afraid that an all-out effort might injure me more, so I've decided to pace Helen instead. Helen has been very close to her Boston Marathon qualifying time, so we're going to see if she can nail it in Vegas with me pacing her. Please send her an email and wish her luck. helen@justhelen.com

My brother in-law Cyrille is also going down with us and he's doing his first marathon, so you might as well go ahead and send him a good luck email also! CArmand@metafore.ca




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6 Responses to “Wireless Nomad Blog post”

  1. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Greg,
    You may want to skim the raw food websites for dehydrator recipes that might work for your expedition. By using foods that have been dehydrated at a low enough temperature so their enzymes are intact you will be getting more energy, so you can get by with less food. I just learned from a raw athlete that proteins are an intermediate state for food in the process of making amino acids. The enzymes don't have to go through the protein stage, your body turns them directly into amino acids and saving you a lot of energy in the process.

    You can find websites on raw endurance athletes. The one I've been listening to is Tim VanOrden at runningraw.com  

  2. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Greg,

    I can think of a few things to think about, although maybe you have already covered them. For a short trip probably these and many of your other safety measures are overkill, but I think as a rehearsal they are more important:

    1. You could be caught in a storm and have WiTHiN break up, swamp or become completely unusable in some other way. For sailboats the first rule is to always step up into the lifeboat. That is, stay with the boat until it is actually sinking. The first question is, if WiTHiN breaks up, or is completely swamped, will it sink or float? I think you should at least consider adding flotation if you need to, so that you always have some reserve buoyancy beyond the life preserver.

    2. I am not sure you can always count on cell phone coverage for your trip and the Coast Guard probably gets more EPIRB false alarms than they do real distress calls. I have also heard that some EPIRBs don't actually work so well. I think you might want to additionally consider a portable marine VHF. Then you can talk directly to the Coast Guard and to any other boats that might be nearer. When you are in cold water and need to be saved, the sooner the better. I'm afraid I don't remember where I read about the variation in EPIRB performance, but it would make sense to do some research

    3. If the worst does happen and you can't stay with the boat, you want to last long enough that the help you have called has time to reach you. Maybe a small life raft, dry suit, or wet suit would be enough. Some way for them to see you would help too. I picture something like a sturdy inflatable beach ball attached to a sea anchor that you could clip on to.

    4. Some of your emergency supplies might be combined together into a disaster kit. First aid kit, life preserver, wet suit... At least that way, when bad things happen, or if you have to abandon ship, you don't have to remember and hunt around for everything.

    5. The lower you can place everything the better. It would be nice to have your safety gear double as ballast.

    6. The plan for the crossing, as I understand it, is still to be accompanied by a support boat. You might want to practice that as soon as you can. Techniques for resupply, for abandoning WiTHiN and for towing WiTHiN all need to be developed.

    7. You should be able to find an offshore break. This might be a good place to do heavy sea trials of WiTHiN. If you were in a wet suit you could use an RIB, or even a jet ski, as a safety boat. In a large storm, big breaking waves at sea can tumble you in any direction. That's what you want to test.

    8. I don't think I would go out in rough seas alone as a test. What if WiTHiN fails?

    9. What is the range of potential bad weather for your planned crossing window? That would give more insight on what you do and don't need to plan for. You don't want to push a hurricane capable boat across an ocean if the highest winds you could credibly see are 20 knots.

    Peter Raymond  

  3. # Blogger fhe

    Greg,

    You may think I am crazy but I would recommend that you try to gain a bit of weight. Being endurance athlete thin is not optimal for this type of event -the ocean crossing that is.

    The excess weight won't affect your performance as there is little or no climbing to do. But it could save your life in an emergency situation.

    -Frank  

  4. # Blogger Adventures of Greg

    Peter - AWESOME comments. Exaxtly what I;ve been thinking about. And you are right. I doubt the protected waters of the gulf Islands will challenge me much, but it is good practice to get in the habit of thinking through the what-ifs.

    1. breaking - yes, we have built in enough solid floatation to keep WiTHiN afloat if she were to flood or break.

    2. I will take a Marine radio and the coastguard frequencies

    3. I've been thinking about exactly that - a dry suit. I think I should probably invest in one. I could stow it under the bed in the back. The personal EPIRB i have emitts a short distance finder frequency

    4. Combine into a disaster kit - good idea. I will do that

    5. lower the better - i know that all too well. Over the last few weeks we have been installing various things into WiTHiN and I always look for someplace I can exchange the dead weight ballast (2 x 25 lbs plates) with usefull stuff.

    6. "Offshore break" is the term that I've been look for. That is exactly what I would like to find somewhere. I call it 'nosing out' into advanced seas.

    gk  

  5. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Hi Greg, you might want to check that your keyboard and Nomad are "salt" waterproof.

    Instead of 2 off 25lbs, how about
    50 off 1lb, much easier to swap out. OK 50 off is OTT, but you get the idea. 2x40 + 4x2.5 maybe.

    zmemw16  

  6. # OpenID richardstephens

    I have used a Recon on several very wet sailboat trips. The connectors and battery compartment are not waterproof and need care if they are going to work in a salt water environment. You need to coat all the contacts with a good water displacement product (boeshield or strikehold) and rinse with fresh water regularly.

    Good luck with the trials!
    Richard (Memory-Map, Inc.)  

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