Monday, June 29, 2015

Maine Navigation

A fair amount of time was spent on practical navigation and trip planning. Toward these ends we engaged a number of activities.

One was simply landmark navigating the waterways near the camp. Along with the Kennebec, there are several smaller rivers and tributaries streaming through the rocks to the sea, resulting in numerous islands and bay and headlands, and requiring various day markers and buoys. So, with a chart, we ought to have been able to easily find our way around on a simple trip.

With a chart. This cowgirl's problem was that she lost her chart case on a previous training event, and and the "water resistant" charts she had printed may as well have been on newsprint. They were shredded under the bungies within minutes of contact with the water, and completely unusable after the fourth re-folding.

Luckily one of the coaches loaned her a chart - which was promptly washed away in surf.

In any event, on a separate exercise, we learned to use our compasses, taking bearings, putting "red in the shed', determining our position from various bearings, and so on. Having read up on this skills it was exciting to practice them, finally, in an environment that offered up the full range: markers, buoys, landmarks, magnetic variation.

We had an indoor lesson as well. Now, no longer learning how to determine where we were, we'd learn to determine where we wanted to go. Here's a chart, here's a topo map, here's an ordnance survey, oh and here are some photocopies of a pilot book. Now, plot a course around Anglesey, or something. We all managed to, but I have to say course plotting by committee is vexing.

From it all, I obtained a more robust understanding of how to use a compass. Plotting courses I felt familiar with, but the work in the field was something I haven't had to contend with to date.

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