|Chapter 17 - Page 4|
If the water is warm enough for swimming and you do not have the time or materials to construct one of the poncho-type rafts, you can use various flotation devices to negotiate the water obstacle. Some items you can use for flotation devices are —
Trousers. Knot each trouser leg at the bottom and close the fly. With both hands, grasp the waistband at the sides and swing the trousers in the air to trap air in each leg. Quickly press the sides of the waistband together and hold it underwater so that the air will not escape. You now have water wings to keep you afloat as you cross the body of water.
Note: Wet the trousers before inflating to trap the air better You may have to reinflate the trousers several times when crossing a large body of water.
Empty containers. Lash together her empty gas cans, water jugs, ammo cans, boxes, or other items that will trap or hold air. Use them as water wings. Use this type of flotation device only in a slow-moving river or stream.
Plastic bags and ponchos. Fill two or more plastic bags with air and secure them together at the opening. Use your poncho and roll green vegetation tightly inside it so that you have a roll at least 20 centimeters in diameter. Tie the ends of the roll securely. You can wear it around your waist or across one shoulder and under the opposite arm.
Logs. Use a stranded drift log if one is available, or find a log near the water to use as a float. Be sure to test the log before starting to cross. Some tree logs, palm for example, will sink even when the wood is dead. Another method is to tie two logs about 60 centimeters apart. Sit between the logs with your back against one and your legs over the other (Figure 17-8).
Cattails. Gather stalks of cattails and tie them in a bundle 25 centimeters or more in diameter. The many air cells in each stalk cause a stalk to float until it rots. Test the cattail bundle to be sure it will support your weight before trying to cross a body of water.
There are many other flotation devices that you can devise by using some imagination. Just make sure to test the device before trying to use it.
Other water obstacles that you may face are bogs, quagmire, muskeg, or quicksand. Do not try to walk across these. Trying to lift your feet while standing upright will make you sink deeper. Try to bypass these obstacles. If you are unable to bypass them, you may be able to bridge them using logs, branches, or foliage.
A way to cross a bog is to lie face down, with your arms and legs spread. Use a flotation device or form pockets of air in your clothing. Swim or pull your way across moving slowly and trying to keep your body horizontal.
In swamps, the areas that have vegetation are usually firm enough to support your weight. However, vegetation will usually not be present in open mud or water areas. If you are an average swimmer, however, you should have no problem swimming, crawling, or pulling your way through miles of bog or swamp.
Quicksand is a mixture of sand and water that forms a shifting mass. It yields easily to pressure and sucks down and engulfs objects resting on its surface. It varies in depth and is usually localized. Quicksand commonly occurs on flat shores, in silt-choked rivers with shifting watercourses, and near the mouths of large rivers. If you are uncertain whether a sandy area is quicksand, toss a small stone on it. The stone will sink in quicksand. Although quicksand has more suction than mud or muck, you can cross it just as you would cross a bog. Lie face down, spread your arms and legs, and move slowly across.
Some water areas you must cross may have underwater and floating plants that will make swimming difficult. However, you can swim through relatively dense vegetation if you remain calm and do not thrash about. Stay as near the surface as possible and use the breaststroke with shallow leg and arm motion. Remove the plants around you as you would clothing. When you get tired, float or swim on your back until you have rested enough to continue with the breaststroke.
The mangrove swamp is another type of obstacle that occurs along tropical coastlines. Mangrove trees or shrubs throw out many prop roots that form dense masses. To get through a mangrove swamp, wait for low tide. If you are on the inland side, look for a narrow grove of trees and work your way seaward through these. You can also try to find the bed of a waterway or creek through the trees and follow it to the sea. If you are on the seaward side, work inland along streams or channels. Be on the lookout for crocodiles that you find along channels and in shallow water. If there are any near you, leave the water and scramble over the mangrove roots. While crossing a mangrove swamp, it is possible to gather food from tidal pools or tree roots.
To cross a large swamp area, construct some type of raft.
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|Updated: 12 January 2008||
||Born on 08 December 1999|