'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Day 19. Sap!

After a night in the jungle that I would rather not talk about, I have discovered what I think may be the perfect solution to my problem!  After wandering around all day yesterday, making cuts in every tree trunk I came across, it was barely two hours today when I struck it lucky and thin white sap immediately began to ooze out of one, which I am almost certain is a rubber tree, judging also by its leaf shape.  I have bored a small hole and stuck in a sliced hollow reed-stem, which seems to be working to direct the dripping liquid into my half-coconut shell.  I am extremely hopeful that this will prove to be rubber latex.
I have sacrificed one of my lavalavas and torn it into strips to mark the path back to this tree.  Hopefully by tomorrow I will have enough to repair my dugout.   It's good to be back at the beach tonight.  The weather is unsettled and windy but warm.


  1. I suspect that I'd be a gibbering wreck after a night in a jungle although, who know, we often find strength when we need to. Good luck with the project.

  2. Thank you Geeb. It was the scorpions that were the worst bit.

  3. If the 'hole' in the dugout is a split - could you not cut a thin branch and hammer it in longways into the split with a rock?- or if (again, if it is a split) could you not caulk the split with cloth mixed with this rubber latex you have found or cloth soaked in some sort of waterproofing (cosmetics?) - carvel planked yachts have caulking rammed between plank edges.

    Good luck.

  4. Or - instead of the branch or cloth, maybe you could find an old piece of rope to lay on top of the split and ram in with a rock.

  5. Or - if the hole is not a split - being a hole you can put your fist through - you could hammer some waterproof cloth or a layer of plastic bags on the outside - again use the sap - but of course you need a hammer and some carpet tacks.

  6. Good ideas Alden. Much appreciated! Day 16 shows the craft with its hole, which as you see, is quite substantial. I have no waterproof material, tacks or hammer. (and no cosmetics nor rope) What I do have is a 'Sheffield' Swiss army-type knife with which I have collected bark fibres of various descriptions and, hopefully by tomorrow, some latex. Combined, these two might do the trick.

  7. Ok, not very observant on my part but I have now had a look. If I was fixing it I would gather a number of branch trunks of varying sizes (imagine picking up a fistful of straws)and I would fit them vertically into the hole. The branch trunks don't need to be too long, and make them poke out under the canoe a couple of inches. If you take the bark off the branches that will help. Now fit in all your large branches tightly first so that they stand alone - then fill all the little gaps around the bigger branches with smaller ones until you can't see any light. If you make this reeeeaaaallly tight by hammering them in hard AND the branches are reasonably dry they will swell with the water and close off any gaps.

    BUT whatever you do when you get your craft floating - wear a b----y life jacket.
    Good Luck

  8. The grass is always greener on the other island. And when you get there, then what? At least you're keeping busy planning your escape.

  9. Another excellent idea Alden. I may well do this if my other idea doesn't hold water (ha).

    Robert. I have no idea what the next island holds in store for me, if I even make it there. But I have established there are no humans here, although there is material for five chapters of my autobiography, and a dozen art series! ( There's a silver lining to every cloud).

    So I must leave. I crave not the usual trappings of civilisation. I have established I don't need them. It's cheese that drives me on.
    (I dreamt all night I was consuming a massive pongy gorgonzola. Perhaps it was brought on by the smell of the latex.)