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aruna
01-02-2006, 04:27 PM
Does anyone know anything about tropical rainforest survival techniques, in particular navigation through a jungle, or can you direct me to anyone who might help?

smallthunder
01-02-2006, 05:18 PM
I've got my trusty "SAS Survival Guide" here -- that's the British Army's Special Armed Services guide -- perhaps I can help? What would you like to know, in particular?

aruna
01-02-2006, 05:50 PM
I've got my trusty "SAS Survival Guide" here -- that's the British Army's Special Armed Services guide -- perhaps I can help? What would you like to know, in particular?

Thanks; I'll IM you, but not right now as I have to go out.

rtilryarms
01-03-2006, 08:44 AM
Interesting. I have advanced survivalist skills. Are you trying to navigate without compass or sunlight? or are you more into the dangers of man or beast predators? Or eating?

Or something else? I find that keeping it simple and basic is best.

Give us a scenario

aruna
01-03-2006, 11:45 AM
Interesting. I have advanced survivalist skills. Are you trying to navigate without compass or sunlight? or are you more into the dangers of man or beast predators? Or eating?

Or something else? I find that keeping it simple and basic is best.

Give us a scenario

OK, to both of you: the scenario is this. A woman with little jungle experience wants to be able to find her way safely between two places in a South American rainforest. The distance is about one mile. She wants to be able to make a track and find it herself later on - day or night; at night she will have a torch. She is not easily frightened, but in this jungle there are snakes, jaguars and other predators - jaguars, however, don't attack humans. Thepredator danger, however, can be kept top a minumum. It's how she finds her way that I want to disclose.

The first time, she is shown the way by a native Indian. Then she asks him to show her how to find the way by herself, and he teachers her a few techniques.

All I need are three specific techniques, and not even in much detail - just to give the general impression that she is really learning something that can help her find her bearings. We will assume that after several months she has learned to find her way by herself.

Would be gratefulfor any help - but as I said, all I need are two or three specific tricks for finding one's way in a jungle. (I have myself been in the Amazon jungle so I do know a little about the atmosphere - but I have absolutely no talent for survival there!

smallthunder
01-03-2006, 12:33 PM
Roger that. I'll see what I can find that will fit this scenario once I get home ... er, no, of course, I'm not logged on the Water Cooler while at work ... oh, no, certainly not!

smallthunder
01-03-2006, 03:02 PM
OK, how difficult will this trek be? I mean, will your character be able to follow a river downstream at any point? Or, is that too easy?

I'll assume she doesn't have a compass -- so, first off, here's two ways the SAS book gives to get a rough idea of direction (one for daylight, one for night):

A traditional anaolgue watch with two hands can tell direction, provided it is set to true local time (ignoring daylight saving and conventional time zones).
-- In the northern hemisphere, hold watch horizontal. Point hour hand at the sun. Bisect angle between hour hand and 12 mark to give north-south line.
-- In the southern hemisphere, hold watch horizontal but point 12 mark toward the sun. Mid point between 12 mark and hour hand will give north-south line.
[Note that this method is less accurate the closer you get to the Equator].

At night: If the moon rises before the sun has set, the illuminated side will be on the west. If it rises after midnight, the illuminated side will be in the east. Thus the moon gives east-west reference at night.

Regarding jungle navigation, the book warns to avoid leaving bamboo spikes (when cutting through underbrush) because they can be lethal if stumbled upon.

Also, it says to be sure to keep your feet covered to protect them from sapling spikes, snakes, and chiggers (aka chigoes, burrowing parasites). Stop frequently to remove parasites; chiggers ignored for more than an hour will cause infection.

I hope some of this is of use to you ...

DaveKuzminski
01-03-2006, 06:19 PM
Okay, a native isn't likely to rely upon using a watch to determine direction. It would also be her luck to have a digital readout watch, so no hands.

If she has a knife, she can mark her trail easily enough on the trunks of the trees if it's a forested area. If it's an area with high grass, she can grab bunches of grass and use her knife to give those a crew cut that would mark each pace she takes. Either method is slow for the first trip, but if she's using the path again relatively soon, both should work.

I do have a question about what kind of torch you mean since it could be the kind that's flaming or it could be a flashlight. I'm guessing you meant the flaming kind. That, in itself, will provide her with a weapon should any predators be encountered. As well, it indicates she has the ability to make new torches since those have to be made. Otherwise, she'll soon be in deeper trouble since it's unlikely there will be a Torches-R-Us store anywhere nearby. So, if she has the ability to make torches, she could presumably use one during the day to mark her trail as well. Smearing charcoal from the torch or searing the bark might work, though the latter carries the risk of setting a fire especially in the dry season if her locale has such. I recommend marking the bark by cutting small notches and cutting tall grass wherever she walks to mark her trail.

By the way, it shouldn't take many trips between the two points to create a trail that's visible to her and during the day she should quickly learn to recognize particular trees because they stand out in some way from the others. If the soil is moist, her feet should cause some of the grass to become stuck and compressed giving even more of a trail. After several months, there will definitely be a well-defined trail even if it's only her using it.

Birol
01-03-2006, 08:18 PM
I do have a question about what kind of torch you mean since it could be the kind that's flaming or it could be a flashlight. I'm guessing you meant the flaming kind.

Aruna is located in the UK, so I believe she was referring to an electric torch. What we crazy Americans call a flashlight.

aruna
01-03-2006, 08:32 PM
Aruna is located in the UK, so I believe she was referring to an electric torch. What we crazy Americans call a flashlight.

Yes, you're right, Birol! Nevertheless, the fire idea is worth thinking about more.

Thanks for your suggestions. Re the watch, though she would have one, her Amerindian guide wouldn't, so she couldn't learn that method.
Everything else was most useful; every little tip helps and can be referred to somehow. Thanks! And if you have more, keep them coming in!

Elijah Phoenix
01-03-2006, 08:53 PM
Who would even attempt such a thing? Who would try walking thru unknown at night? You'd build a fire a few hours before dark because it takes an hour to build the fire and a couple hours to find wood to keep it going all night.

As for navigating, trails are trails for a reason. Whether it's a deer trail , people trail, rat trail. All trails lead to the same thing. water. Most trails are only a few inchs wide, but stand out if you look for them. they will have considerable skat.
If you stay on a trail, you'll find something to kill and water to drink. Trails are no harder to find that the yellow lines on the road outside your window. Skat will tell you what you can expect to kill and eat. Little round skat means you can kill it with a rock, big skat piles could mean that something could eat you. You best have a long stick with a sharp point. trails also lead not only to water, but to people. look at the ground and not the forest. stop walking to look up, you can walk off a trail in a second. Everything takes the path of least resistance. Make it easy on yourself and you'll come out on top. High ground isn't always available, like in a desert. A jungle is the easiest to navigate. In SE asia I got my fireteam lost, but we always found water and a village. Just follow the wee little trail. I even found grass hut stores in villages that sold warm bottles of pepsi. True.

Whats the payoff for the trekker anyway. If you don't mind my asking.

aruna
01-03-2006, 10:02 PM
.

Whats the payoff for the trekker anyway. If you don't mind my asking.

hmmmm... she's investigating something, in the hope that something something something, and then something something something, unless something........!!!!

Sorry, still secret, but I'll reveal all in due course. I'm just very superstitious about discussing plots before a project is finished, at least in first draft.

Water and food are not a problem, and she doesn't need to kill to eat. She comes from a village up a creek of pure sweet water ; the start of the trail is where the boat stops and she gets out to go investigating. She has a safe home, food etc but needs to do this stuff for there to be a story at all. So have patience - please?? :Ssh:!

smallthunder
01-04-2006, 06:04 AM
Okay, a native isn't likely to rely upon using a watch to determine direction. It would also be her luck to have a digital readout watch, so no hands.


Yes, I thought about this before posting the info ... but I decided, what the heck! I thought it was too interesting to pass up passing along ...

Mike Coombes
01-04-2006, 04:07 PM
http://www.wilderness-survival.net/tropical-3.php

this link may be interesting to you, Sharon.

aruna
01-04-2006, 04:29 PM
http://www.wilderness-survival.net/tropical-3.php

this link may be interesting to you, Sharon.

Thanks, yes, it is very useful. And there really is no reason why she should not have a compass, which will make life a LOT easier!

DaveKuzminski
01-04-2006, 05:10 PM
Who would even attempt such a thing? Who would try walking thru unknown at night?I have with no lights of any sort under the worst of conditions... by myself in combat.

rtilryarms
01-04-2006, 08:52 PM
Sorry Aruna, i am just getting back online.

Finding direction in the deep jungle gets more and more difficult the deeper you go. The old moss grows on the north side is increasingly unreliable.

A field compass is easy to make with any kind of needle or pin (from a badge or piece of jewelry etc). Stoke it on a piece of silk and place it on a blade of grass. Carefully lay it in water and it will point northish. Accuracy depends on the iron content of the needle but any metal will do.

In some jungles, though mostly in clearings, the most unique method to find north is to stumble upon a termite mound. Termites build their mounds oriented from North to south. I forget which axis faces the north but one side is thicker than the other. I think the north side is thicker. You should be able to research this quick enough. I am using that in one of my stories but no harm done to share it since Aborigines boy scouts know about it. I don't know if South American jungles have termite mounds but it's an idea.

Marking trails can be as simple or as hard as you want it to be. From breaking small branches and facing them in the direction of the next broken branch is very simple. Scouts used to exercise combinations of dead reckoning and false markings to throw off potential pursuers. Depending how cat and mouse your story is depends on the complexity of trail blazing.

And Elija, it is very clear to me what the angle is and why the protag would want to do this. What's with the snarley response? the purpose of the post was to ask for information not to enter into a debate about a book that you have no knowledge or information in. Let her finish the book and buy it if you are interested.

Hope this helps.


edited because: horrible spelling errors!