23kg...this is my limit for nearly two weeks fieldwork...in the bush...with the usual array of biting, stinging and crawling beasties to deal with. Do I take the 1kg tub of 100% Deet...that melts all clothing, rucksack straps, watch-straps, etc., that it comes into contact with...or do I risk buying some in Australia (first stop-off) or at my destination, Tasmania? The fact that these repellants dissolve almost all known substances, bar hardened steel, I worry sometimes what it does to human skin! However, the choice of looking like a carbuncled elephant-man (not too different from normal, for those of you who already know me) or slowing melting my field-gear...I choose the latter. This last summer in South Dakota had me attacked on a daily basis by mosquitoes the size of pigeons (see 'Sunburn with Dinosaurs', one of my August postings on this Blog), so I shudder to think what the multiple legged antipodean beasties have in store for me. I am sure I will be able to provide some first-hand descriptions and interactions with the said beasties in only a few days.
Back to my 23kg problem...why do clothes weigh so much? I also have to take my camera gear...now that halves my luggage allowance already. I suspect not having underpants and socks would also be a mistake in the Tasman bush...maybe just three changes of clothes for the ten days?
Thankfully I have my library digitised onto my hard-drive. The digital dino-library is a priceless resource when in the field or on the road...and thankfully my Macbook fits into my 7kg hand luggage allowance. Looking at the luggage allowances online (it is a very small plane that drops our team in Hobart), I have realised that a big overcoat (albeit a tad warm in mid-antipodean summer) is a useful asset in such mass-challenging situations...one with big pockets! It seems that airlines do not weigh overcoats...regardless of how many pockets you have or what is inside them. Having just tried the said garment on, stuffed with camera bodies, lenses, GPS, calipers, etc.....I now resemble a travelling sumo-wrestler....with an inbuilt technology market. If I get body-scanned in airport security wearing this coat, I will look like a walking shop-display.
My flight leaves for San Francisco (SFO) tomorrow, then from SFO to Sydney Australia tomorrow evening...arriving on Christmas Day in the morning. The International Dateline is depriving me of Christmas Eve this year. I had better get-on with my packing...oh for a Dr Who style Tardis!