We arrive at my crash site by canoe and immediately spot giant Bush Cow footprints on the river bank. Ian led me up an embankment and set a bearing on my compass to a giant Silk Cotton tree - useful should I get lost. He then gave me a quick list of things I need to achieve before my rescue and disappeared. They were:
- Make a shelter
- Make a fire
- Catch food
- Make a trap
The first thing I did was to mark my territory like a dog - several times. I really had to go! Next I sat down on a log and thought about my situation whilst sharpening my gutting knife. That stopped when I slipped and slit my right fore finger. No worries, I just need to find a site for my shelter. So I start looking about and after ½ hour I realise I quite disorientated; mainly because what I thought was North, my compass said was South! Eeek! Then I couldn't find my way back to the river! Was I reading the compass right? Red is North yeah? I start to question even the simplest things. Gulp! If I can't find the river, water's gonna be hard to find, and I'm gonna be ever harder to find! But I trust common sense and my compass and find my way back to the Silk Cotton tree. Phew! That was quite a panic.
I found 3 trees, which I could easily recognise, close to my landmark and decide to use them as the basis of my shelter. Needing 4, I tried crafting the 4th tree but as it wouldn't stand up, it wasn't an option. So I had to use a real 4th tree some distance away making it the biggest shelter ever! Finding tree's tall and straight enough to build the shelter became an issue. Afternoon came and I was no where near finished. I switched to chopping down bamboo as an alternative, but the bamboo spikes ended up cutting chunks out of me instead!
Then I stumbled across a tiny 4 tree den - but it was very overgrown with shrubbery and rotting vine roots. "F*ck it!" I thought, time was is of the essence - I needed a shelter before dark. My machete made short work of the overgrown ground. I hauled all my chopped trees over and re-assembled them in my new den. Job done - almost. I only had time to chop down 2 giant Kutkrit palm leaves for the roof, leaving big gaping holes in it. I just hoped it wouldn't rain!
I get my fire started just before dark - phew! And then spend the evening chopping up firewood by firelight. It only lasts 6 out of the 12 hours needed. I also had the most uncomfortable bed; a mix of Kutkrit palm, bamboo and tree logs - very uneven. Some hard and rigid, some soft, some saggy, some raised, some etc... But there is something to be said about sharpening your machete at night by an open fire, in a shelter you've just hand crafted, in a jungle in the middle of freaking nowhere! Very Rambo-esk! Very cool!
During the night, the Bush Cow cometh... no big deal as I figured if I didn't disturb it, it wouldn't disturb me. Not that I could disturb it mind, as without a fire you can't even see your hand in front of your face! But it was there and it was close! I heard rummaging about, it was big and it was snorting. Having heard the local lads imitate it's sounds whilst hunting I knew exactly what I was listening too.
Posted by Steve Eynon