Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Water, water, everywhere and not safe to drink!

I’ve been rather fortunate in my travels around the world. I’ve only been sick twice. Once was after a dinner in Uzhhorod, Ukraine. I was the only one in the group to get sick and can only possibly blame it on some uncooked tomatoes. The other time was in Nepal. I know what cause that episode. Taking a shower!

Call it what you want but diarrhea is likely the biggest health concern you are likely to face on any adventure travel. But, with a little common sense and some precautions the likelihood can be greatly reduced.

Drinking water: Bottled water is now available almost everyplace. Just because it is in a bottle doesn’t mean it absolutely safe. Here in the US our regulatory control of the bottled water industry is minimal. In the developing world there may be very few if any controls. So what are we to do?

Bottled water purchased in a major city from a major retailer is likely going to be OK. Often it will be bottled by a multi-national company. In the country side from a small store the quality might be questionable unless it is the city available brand. So, what to do?

For short excursions into the country side an easy way is to carry a couple of liters of bottled water with you. If you are going to be on a multiple day excursion, that may not be practical.

On our STEAM SIDE ADVENTURES guide trip we meet the clean water challenge in two ways. First, each guide starts out with a liter bottle of water. A liter will generally provide sufficient water in the morning for our clients. Lunch and the afternoon is a different story. We carry one of the currently available portable micro-filters. These products purify water from the river by passing the water through a course filter to remove suspended materials, a ceramic micro-filter, often impregnated with iodine to remove and neutralized bacteria and an activated carbon filter to remove organic/pesticide contaminants. Most of these products are sufficient to last for over a 100 liters.

In the developing world relying on a micro-filter system alone is not a wise choice. What are you going to do if the pump breaks? As a fall back, carry a bottle of 2%Tincture of Iodine in alcohol. Purchase it at the drug store before you leave home. Here is how to use it.
1) Fill your water bottle from the cleanest source you can find. If possible fill the bottle from a spigot to keep the outside of the bottle dry and uncontaminated.
2) Add 5 drops of tincture per liter if the water is clear. Add 10 drops per liter if the water is cloudy. Replace the top and agitate gently.
3) After five minutes, you need to purify the mouth and rim of the bottle (which touched the original water source and which will touch your mouth). To do this, you need to "un-thread" the bottle. Turn the bottle upside down and slowly unscrew the top until you can see a ring of water appear around the inner rim and flow along the neck. Re-tread the top and allow to stand for 30 minutes.
4) Much of the iodine taste and color can be removed by crushing a vitamin C tablet and adding it to your treated water.

Food: If fruits or vegetables are not peeled or cooked, don’t eat them. And, don’t use ice!

Personal hygiene: My experience in Nepal with “intestinal upset” in all likelihood came from taking a shower. Likely I inadvertently swallowed some water. Keep you mouth closed and don’t sing! If you think you may have taken in some water during your shower, immediately rinse your mouth out with your safe water and spit it out. Along with that, be sure and brush your teeth with either your bottle water or treated water.

OK, so you have done all these things and you still get sick. What to do? Always carry an over the counter anti-diarrhea medication such as Imodium. At the first sign of a problem take the medicine and keep yourself hydrated with “safe” water.

As a precaution, before you head out on your trip, make a visit to your primary care physician and ask for a prescription for a broad spectrum antibiotic like Cipro. Most physicians will write a prescription for you if you tell them you will be traveling in the developing world. These can be taken as prescribed for severe gastrointestinal problems caused by microorganisms in contaminated water, should you be unfortunate enough to experience this problem and Imodium doesn’t work.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ozark Fly Fishing Week-End: Current River and the Little Piney

I hadn’t fished the Missouri Ozarks since last Fall. And I hadn’t fished at all since I got back from Patagonia a month ago! This past week-end I took care of both of those problems.

Finally it warmed up. The river levels were good and my friend and associate in STREAM SIDE ADVENTURES, Preston Larimer, had time to join me. We converged on the Current River within minutes of each other at our appointed time of 10 am. The TanVat access had a couple of cars parked at it and as we were deciding if we would start there, two more cars pulled in - that sealed it. Down to Baptist access and a hike down to the first bluff below Ashley Creek.

What could we expect on the first great spring day? A lot of fisherman. As we hiked down the river we passed two other pairs of fly fishers, both were well above Ashley Creek. As we moved down, Preston stripped a streamer through a couple of our favorite spots but I just walked along, watched him and enjoy the day. Just above Ashley I did see a rise. I believe you should never pass up a rise. After a couple of casts a nice rainbow took my size 16 gray caddis.

Down at the ledge, sitting on a log eating our lunch, we noticed a few fish starting to rise. Since I had a fish already, I got to do “play by play” on Preston’s attempt(s). I have the (s) after attempt since he missed the first fish. Fish were only rising sporadically so we decide to head further up stream.

Two fly fishing scientists contemplating why the fishing was slow would be interesting for a non fisher to listen to. Temperatures of spring water, thermal mass, solar radiation, time of travel and a few off the wall speculations were proposed. The consensus was that the water closer to the spring would be warmer and the hatch should be more vigorous. So Baptist to TanVat was the destination.

I’d like to think that we got the science right but even if we didn’t the change in fishing location was. We got into one of those good hatches, enough caddis coming off to have the fish actively feeding and holding in feeding stations but not so many that your caddis got lost in the crowd.

Last year we found fish rising below down trees or other stable habitat. http://www.streamsideadventures.com/features/where-are-the-caddis.html The fish we found rising this year were in the same types of locations. A significant river rise in the late Fall and another in mid-January had moved a lot of the stream bottom, washing away the larval caddis. But as in past years, large woody debris and “chunk rock” had been a safe haven and below those areas were where the trout were.

Sunday was my day to fish the Little Piney. I had made arrangements to float the Little Piney with Brent Frazee, outdoor writer for the Kansas City Star. Brent had written about the Little Piney 20 plus years ago when he had fished it with Tom Shipley of the musical group Brewer and Shipley. Back then the Little Piney was a put and take stream. Now it is managed as wild rainbow fisheries.

It only took a few drifts of a mohair leech http://www.fedflyfishers.org/Default.aspx?tabid=4478 through the first riffle to produce a beautiful 8 inch wild rainbow. At each of the next couple of riffles the leech worked it magic on those 8 inch beauties.

The Little Piney had a winter of fluvial processes affecting its geo-morphology. Stream side trees were down ever where. If they were lying at an angle they had changed the Little Piney’s course, filling in some runs and creating others. And there were root wads. Root wads with some deep scour holes. At more than one – five to be exact – the scour holes gave up colorful fat and sassy 14 to 16 inch fish.

By our best estimates the 4 and half mile float from the US 63 Bridge to the “Vida Slab” produced upward to 20 rainbows touched and near half that many on for a while. Except for our 5 good ones, most were 7 to 9 inches but beautifully colored and in great condition.

As I drove home through Rolla at about 5:00 pm it was close to 70 degrees. We had seen a family having a picnic at the Forest Service area, a mother and her son passed us in their kayaks and about a half a mile above the take out tat the Vida slab we passed a fisherman who had been fishing his way upstream. On the first truly nice day after our long cold winter we had the Little Piney to ourselves. Good fish and no crowds, it is one of the Ozarks hidden trout fishing gems.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Packing for the Adventure

My Turkish adventure is still over a month away but I’m starting to get my gear together. I’m going to need a lot of space on the trip back for all the goodies I’ll accumulate. Airlines are charging a pretty dollar for checked bags. How do I maximize space for souvenirs and avoid the bag fees?

One way I’ll save on space for my return trip is to take as many dark clothes as possible. Dark clothes don’t show the dirt – and my case food spills – the way lighter colored clothes do. Since I’m hoping to go with just a carry on sized backpack and will be taking a fall back sleeping bag, being able to get a couple of days wear out of each item makes a difference. If I can reduce may outfits by a third, I’ll significantly increase my space.

A lady friend of mine once told me that the only advantage women have in adventure travel is that they can cover every situation with just a couple of pairs of jeans and a black dress. Visit a market during the day and go to the opera that night! Since it is rather unlikely that I’ll need anything fancy during my trip I’m going casual, and I’m going to go cheap casual.

As soon as I finish this, I’m off to visit a couple of thrift stores. I’m looking for some “gently’ worn dark pants and shirts and maybe a sweater. I have no compunction at all about leaving some dirty clothes behind as I travel. Since a great deal of my travel is to the second and third world, I’m sure it is appreciated. And not having to bring it home has made some space for a nice piece of pottery.

Every wonder how a Chicago Cub’s tee shirt found it’s way to Fez? Someone found something really neat in the Medina and needed just a bit more space in their backpack!

All the best


Monday, March 1, 2010

Wading, Unencumbered, into Technology


In the last few months I’ve made historic leaps forward into this new world of communication. I now “Tweet”, have friends on Facebook, and am even thinking about getting an iPhone... for a techno-dwarf like me that is something. And now... a BLOG!

I resisted setting up a BLOG for one primary reason: I didn’t understand them. But after urging from some associates and doing some background research, I decided to do it. This folks, is my first entry.

As you can see from the title: Norm Crisp on Fly Fishing & His Travel Adventures,

I am going to be sharing my experiences and knowledge, which includes my successes and screw ups, in fly fishing and my travels around the US and the world. Initially there may be more entries on the travel side but I’ll be BLOGING about fly fishing and may even include an “editorial” BLOG or two as well.

The early focus on travel is simple. In late April I’m heading to Turkey, Armenia and Georgia with my son Dan for about a month, with a brief stop over in Prague. As I get ready, I will be BLOGING about things like figuring out bus and train schedules, visa requirements, health and safety, and as that great philosopher of our day Bob Seger said “what to leave in and what to leave out” of my backpack and what to leave at home.

So why go to Turkey, Armenia and Georgia? I want to go where I've never been and I want to catch a Trout in Asia. I have been briefly to Turkey years ago on my way to Bulgaria from Greece, but Armenia and Georgia are new terrain.

I’ve fished in Asia (Nepal) but never caught a trout there. Turkey, having native brown trout and being in Asia, will be a great place to check this off the list.

Its also about the booze.

Armenian brandy is by far the best brandy in the world. A friend of mine, Duane Brandt, has a connection for it in Glendale, California, but that is not quite the same as getting it from the source. Also, some years ago, while working in Russia, I was introduced to KINDZMARULI an interesting Georgian red wine. I haven’t had any in about 10 years. Now is my chance to get some more!

So here it is: my first Blog, with hopefully many more to come. I look forward to any and all comments and remarks or suggestions on topics.

All the Best, Norm