The Cave and The Sea by John A. Heatherly

Discussion in 'Survival Reading Room' started by JohnAHeatherly, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. JohnAHeatherly

    JohnAHeatherly Monkey+

    Hey Monkeys! Please keep an eye on this thread for Excerpts from my newly released novel, The Cave and The Sea. The 79,000+ word story takes place in North America in the 1600's and features a myriad of survival skills. I'll be posting Sample Chapters along with related how-to material and links soon. We'll do a few giveaways, too!

    More info. is on the way, and please feel free to contact me here at SurvivalMonkey or at my site,

    I look forward to talking to you guys!

  2. JohnAHeatherly

    JohnAHeatherly Monkey+

    Excerpt One

    Thanks to Neil Strauss and his team for posting this excerpt and article from THE CAVE AND THE SEA, A NOVEL!


    The following two-part article considers the procurement of reptiles, in this case snakes, for sustenance. First is an excerpt from John A. Heatherly, followed by the most outstanding resource information we could find. Enjoy the story and please do not miss the reference material at the end!”


    The afternoon heat found them, even as they reclined in the shade of their temporary camp. They continued to doze but rose often to fill their wooden cups from the water hole. Occasionally a slight breeze would flow around the embankment and into the shade, and by the afternoon they were having trouble sleeping.

    “It is time to finish your moccasins,” Aayoni said, while examining her supply of buckskin.

    “This evening I am going to hunt for rattlesnakes,” Hawk commented, “maybe a couple of hours before dark.”

    “The Song predicts a vast mesa just beyond and above the stony outcropping in the south, with water to the southeast. We should be fine, thanks to Hawk’s water hole, but will be thirsty by the time we cross the mesa.” Aayoni cut into the buckskin pants to make a gaiter while speaking. “Make sure you wear your moccasins when hunting the rattlesnakes!”

    Hawk laughed. “Thank you. I will.”

    A few hours passed before Hawk ventured into the evening sun with his spear. Coe and Aayoni laughed as he slapped at the sage bushes and stopped laughing when they saw him leap into the air. Coe jogged over to Hawk’s location just as he trapped a large rattlesnake’s head to the ground with the speartip. Hawk placed his foot on the snake’s neck, allowing Coe to kneel down and carefully cut off the head. They buried the snake head in the sand as it reflexively continued to bite, then carried the long carcass back to Aayoni.

    “Good hunting, Hawk,” Coe told him. “I will gather sage and grass to lump into bundles for firewood. I have not eaten rattlesnake in a long time!”

    Coe tied the slender pieces of grass into bundled logs then did the same with the dead sage sticks he had been able to gather.

    “These will not burn for a long time but will last longer than just unbundled, individual pieces.”

    They dined on rattlesnake and continued to drink water as dusk arrived; just before dark they started walking. The desert travel was tough; but they were healthy, and they trusted Aayoni’s plan. Occasionally during the night each of them would look back to see the Truth Star above and behind them. They moved with speed, faster than they would have predicted, soon to enter territory that was completely new to all of them.

    A Little How-To and Lessons Learned:​

    Reptiles can make for fast and easy survival sustenance, and are often easy to procure. I recommend the use of a “snake stick.” A golfer’s putter, or a stick shaped like one, works the best. Here is one technique that I have used on Western Rattlesnakes:

    1 Trap the snake’s head with the putter
    2 Immobilize the snake by stepping on its neck
    3 Cut off the head with a knife
    4 Dispose of the head immediately, as it will continue to “bite” out of reflex. Also, someone could inadvertently step on it. I recommend burying the head.
    5 Especially when dealing with poisonous snakes, be aware that the dead adult snake may be carrying live babies; with caution and awareness they can be avoided while skinning the adult

    Here is a great Instructable on how to skin a snake.

    Anyone have experience with hunting, killing, and eating snakes?

    BONUS MATERIAL: If in an area that does not provide large firewood, bundle blades of dead grass and small twigs into larger “logs” – they will burn much longer and allow you to cook. It worked for the characters in the story, and it has worked for me!
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  3. JohnAHeatherly

    JohnAHeatherly Monkey+

    Excerpt Two

    Thanks to The Survival Mom for sharing Excerpt #2 of THE CAVE AND THE SEA, A NOVEL

    INSTANT SURVIVAL TIP: Beach Well | The Survival Mom

    The following two-part article considers the use of a “Beach Well” to procure water. First is an excerpt from THE CAVE AND THE SEA, A NOVEL, by John A. Heatherly, followed by the most outstanding resource information we could find. Enjoy the story and please do not miss the reference material at the end!


    A flat layer of fluffy clouds floated just above the southern horizon, contrasting blue sky and stone mountains with the darker shades of the sea. Hawk looked stoic and calculating, while Kele and Coe were awestruck.

    “This is indescribable,” she said softly, slowly scanning the horizon from east to west.

    “Look, away from the river,” Coe agreed, “the desert and the sea meet … it is like a vast pool in the sand.”

    Hawk finally spoke. “In many ways it may as well be one big desert.” He pointed to the water. “That saltwater is not drinkable though the weather is still warm down here. It brings back bad memories … though I did learn to survive it.”

    Kele put her arm around him. “We are with you this time, Hawk, and we have a home to return to. Things will be better.”

    They found the walking near the coastline to be easy, much easier, in fact, than any other part of the journey.

    “The sea provides food, does it not, Hawk?” Kele asked.

    “Yes, I suppose it does, though I rarely took advantage of it on my trip to the north.”

    “I have some ideas when we stop,” she said, cheerfully looking over her left shoulder to the water.

    “There is one trick I learned, though. Watch this.” Hawk led them behind a wall of dune and rock, surveying the ground beneath his feet as he went. He smiled when he discovered a low point in the sand, and dropped to vigorously dig into the depression with his hands.

    In only a few minutes he had created a large hole; soon after the sand he was removing began to look dark and moist. He sat back to rest, then leaned against a tall rock while keeping his eyes on the hole he had dug.

    “Water is seeping into it!” Coe exclaimed. “Is it fresh?”

    “Yes, it is drinkable right out of the hole. It takes time though, because the sand needs to settle to the bottom.”

    Kele looked into the water hole. “How did you learn of this, Hawk?”

    He stared into the water as he answered. These were truly bad memories for him. “After I escaped, I moved through the dunes in an attempt to hide. One morning I just happened upon a hole like this, though it had been improved with wood and the top was covered. I was thirsty … I drank my fill then kept going.”

    “I suppose the dunes and the sandy ground make the sea water drinkable,” Coe said.

    “Yes – once I dug a hole in the sand on the other side of the dunes and the water was terrible. What a waste of time!”

    Kele laughed at him. “Hawk, you are funny even when you are trying to be serious!”

    Coe prodded him. “Yes, isn’t Aayoni lucky?”

    Their friendly jokes broke his momentary funk. The rest of the day was spent hiding from the sun and replenishing their canteens from the unexpected water source.


    Please see AFR 64-4, Page 279 AF Manual 64-4 Survival USAF July 1985 for more outstanding information on the use of Beach Wells like the one described above, as well as many other sources of fresh water.
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  4. JohnAHeatherly

    JohnAHeatherly Monkey+

    Excerpt Three

    Thanks to Neil Strauss and his team for posting this excerpt and article from:
    by John A. Heatherly


    The following excerpt from THE CAVE AND THE SEA, A NOVEL by John A. Heatherly, considers the use of Escape Tools as part of a survival kit. Enjoy the story and please do not miss the reference material at the end!


    … His face was smarting from the strike when the young guard knelt down to tighten Coe’s binds. Coe was confused as the ropes cut into his wrists, and more confused when the spear handle bounced against his head another time. The guard spoke harshly to him in a foreign tongue, then left the fire circle. Perhaps he was warning Coe not to attempt an escape in his absence? Coe’s ears were ringing from the blows when he felt the scratch on his wrist.

    His wrist! When the guard tightened the binds that held Coe’s wrists behind his back, he felt the rock. Of course it was there! Since childhood he had carried the round sliver of obsidian. His father had taught him to use the obsidian razor to skin animals, and he had even used it to carve a notch in a fireboard one winter after his cousin had fallen in the icy creek. After becoming a warrior, Coe had sewn a hidden pocket in the back of his waistband to carry the obsidian, and his captors had not found it in their search, even as they took his obsidian dagger. For years he had carried it because of its sentimental value. Now perhaps it could free him!

    He would have to be careful. Was now the right time to make a move? He decided that he would inconspicuously gain control of the obsidian so that the guard would not be suspicious should he return. Coe would feign submission until the moment of escape was upon him.

    Slowly Coe flexed his wrists until he could feel the rock with his right forefinger. Fortunately his right hand was closer to the hidden pocket and the obsidian, as his left arm was tight, partially immobilized, and in pain. The razor felt familiar to his thumb and forefinger, immediately starting to sever the binds as Coe rolled his wrists.

    Coe stopped cutting for a few seconds to focus on his hearing. In the distance he could hear the nighttime stirring of horses, but they were clearly corralled somewhere nearby. He heard no sounds of humans and assumed that their camp was a short walk away.

    The ropes around his wrists loosened and slid underneath him on the litter. He chose to rest for a few moments to ensure that his arms regained circulation, for his next actions would require efficient speed. One misstep and he could be killed or at least bound tighter. His heart-rate increased and felt like a drum in his chest and ears. Coe considered that he may not have another chance to escape.

    With minimal effort, Coe was able to cut the line that bound him at his midsection. As quickly as he could, he sat up and sawed at the bundle of line around his ankles. He sweated in his injured state, nervous that he would be too slow.

    He shifted his legs and wiggled at the ankles as he cut. One, then two layers of line were severed before the entire bundle loosened, allowing Coe to free his legs and bend at the knees. The speed of adrenalin helped him to cross the fire circle, retrieve his sword and small bundle, and retreat into the darkness. He knew that distance was his ally as his captors would surely discover his escape at any moment.

    The riders had definitely dragged Coe to the North Woods. The grandfather pines were old and tall, and the spacious forest allowed for easy walking but difficult evasion.

    The moon was large and full as it dropped into the western sky, almost allowing Coe to navigate as if it were daytime. He hobbled through the pines with as much speed as he could muster, hoping he would not collapse from exhaustion before finding concealment. He kept the moon to his left as he struggled north.

    Five-hundred staggering paces separated Coe from the fire circle when he heard the commotion. Men were shouting as horses bellowed their protests. He looked back down the gentle hill he had been climbing to see flickering firelight through the trees. They were moving and would start to circle in a search at any moment. His only choice was to press on and pray for a place to hide.

    After a few hundred more paces, Coe encountered the cedar slash. As a child he had gotten caught up in this kind of thicket, where the medium-sized trees grew close together, intertwining their branches. Normally he would rather walk five miles out of his way than traverse one mile of torturous cedar slash, but on this night the dense thicket was a gift. He started his belly-crawl into the maw as his captors widened their circles behind him.

    So back to the question: Handcuff Keys as Survival Gear?​

    In the modern world, Law Enforcement Officers are not the only ones carrying handcuffs – bad guys carry them too. Is a tiny piece of gear like a handcuff key worth having? We know that traditional handcuffs have been used in home-invasions and abductions, so the issue is worthy of thought.

    Here are a few interesting and practical keys:
    LockWrite Key – Looks like a normal pen
    Lockrite Security Locksmiths
    Hide a handcuff key: Paracord Bracelet with Hidden Plastic Handcuff Key
    Zipper-Pull Handcuff Key
    This article explains how to pick handcuffs using a bobby pin: How to Pick Your Way Out of Handcuffs

    Do you carry escape tools as part of your survival toolset?
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  5. JohnAHeatherly

    JohnAHeatherly Monkey+

    Excerpt Four: When Barefoot Running was a Necessity

    Excerpt Four from


    This portion of the story describes a time when "barefoot" or "minimalist" running (also known as "foxrunning") was a necessity rather than a hobby. Please enjoy the story, and do not miss the reference material at the end!

    CHAPTER 93: SAND ​

    Rugged, boulder-strewn territory slowly transformed to rolling hills and sand. Dry washes, whose courses ran down to the river, reflected the evening heat up into their faces. Kele had been correct: the temperatures were warmer in this sandy section of desert.

    The three of them did not push the pace until the sun dropped in the west. The path above the river was much smoother and allowed for efficient walking, so they veered westward while the river flowed south. When sundown arrived, they were almost running. The rhythm of their strides lulled them into a form of meditation, effortless gliding in the night air that felt infinitely maintainable.

    After several hours, they reached a long, east-west running depression in the sand that was similar to a dry wash but narrower and more defined. “Does this look familiar, Hawk?” Aayoni asked him.

    “The desert looks familiar, though in the dark I cannot say with certainty that I have been here before.”

    “So this is the Ancient Trail!” Coe said, pointing to the west. “It would be fun to follow it, to find the hidden water sources ... if things were different.”

    Kele nodded. “This is it. My Songs become less detailed as we continue to follow the river south. Hopefully Hawk will start to recognize things soon.”

    They pressed into the night, stopping at dawn to examine a rare, green oasis of river valley beneath them.

    Hawk gazed for a moment then excitedly demanded their attention. “I have seen this before. Much of my journey during captivity is a blur to me, so I cannot say exactly when I saw it or how far we have to go. We are definitely moving in the correct direction, though.”

    “We will need to avoid people and their settlements at places like this along the river,” Coe said.

    “I agree. At night we will continue to travel above the river in the desert, and we should do fine,” added Kele.


    For many sunrises and sunsets they continued on, stopping mostly for water, as sleep felt almost unnecessary; mostly sleep was just something to do to avoid the oppressive afternoon sun. Nighttime temperatures continued to be comfortable, though it seemed that hot summer days here were as permanent as the desert sand.

    Kele and Coe each looked forward to the daytime respites that allowed them to talk and discover one another. Often during the nighttime travel they would think of questions for each other to be asked the next day. Hawk kept to himself, though he silently enjoyed watching the growing relationship between his two friends. His thoughts were of Aayoni, wondering about her pregnancy but feeling confident that Coe’s mother and the others could care for her. He had regained much of his muscle tone, though the serious demeanor that he now maintained felt foreign to him.

    Suns came and went quickly; the desert and the river ran into infinity. At times, the journey felt dreamlike, as if they were simply observing it as it unfolded for someone else. Their sense of purpose was strong - purpose that delivered subtle happiness even in this desolate land.


    Run Like a Child - Dr. John Douillard's outstanding video explanation of foxrunning

    Merrell Barefoot Training - Awesome starter and how-to information
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  6. JohnAHeatherly

    JohnAHeatherly Monkey+

    Excerpt Five - Improvised Light

    Many thanks to Leon Pantenburg at for sharing this excerpt and article from
    ! ​

    This is the first published fiction on Generally speaking, there is way too much preparedness fiction on TV and in print that gets passed off as fact!

    But the following piece considers the creation of improvised light sources for survival. The emergency lighting techniques mentioned at the end of the story could easily be adapted to the aftermath of a natural disaster. And if it takes a good tale to get people’s interest, then so be it!

    First is an excerpt from THE CAVE AND THE SEA, A NOVEL, by John A. Heatherly, followed by a photo explanation of some of the ideas. John is an experienced outdoorsman and has appeared on this website with his previous non-fiction book “The Survival Template.”

    "Don’t miss the reference material at the end!" – Leon


    When the trio arrived at the Cave entrance, Mycha requested immediate access to her wood-and-leather rucksack. From the sack she produced a small wooden cup that was sealed with a piece of rawhide and a leather string. She washed the wound on her forearm with water then extracted a dark paste from the cup.

    “Herbs mixed with tallow,” she commented to Coe, without pausing to look at him. “Will help prevent infection.”

    The wolf-bite wound looked smaller and less horrific with the blood removed. She took a handful of leaves from another tiny bundle in her rucksack and applied a poultice, securing it in place on her lower arm with leather and string.

    Coe had been attentive to her as she cared for her wound. He began to feel uncomfortable now that the process was nearing completion and didn’t know what to say.

    “I … thank you … maybe I can …” His broken statement trailed into silence as he stared at the ground in front of him.

    “You appear to have seen much killing recently,” Mycha said. “It prevents you from knowing a friend when you see one?”

    “We should keep those wolf hides,” Coe replied, clearly anxious and attempting to change the subject. “And we need more water. Stay here near the Cave. I will be right back. Oh, and people call me by my nickname, Coe.”

    He felt foolish mentioning wolf hides and water and hoped that she would see his logic.

    Coe quickly returned to the spring, filled his canteen, and field dressed the wolf carcasses. Normally he would have worked more slowly to prevent waste but in this case, was afraid the other wolves might be in the area. Maybe his decision to retrieve the hides was foolish anyway?

    He carried the wolf hides back to the Cave with plans to tan them soon. He approached the Cave to find Mycha happily organizing her gear while talking to Soldier. The puppy wagged his tail as he lay on the ground next to her. Coe felt a mix of emotions, guilt being the most supreme.

    “Thank you,” he said. “You saved me while I had your dagger … I just … something is wrong and …”

    Mycha interrupted him. “You are welcome, and don’t feel the need to explain everything to me,” she said. ” I have been traveling away from my people for a while now, too, and know what it is like to be afraid. Help me with these.”

    She handed him a buffalo horn that was filled with tallow and kept one for herself.

    “We need a wick for each of these lamps,” she said while surveying the area around her. “I have been using cattail down and need a better solution now that I have found the Cave.”

    “One advantage of cedar slash is the abundance of bark,” Coe commented, stepping into the Cave’s entrance. He returned with two strands of reverse-wrapped cedar bark cordage and handed one to her.

    “I have a fire-pit we can use to complete your lamps,” he said. “Why don’t we move inside?”

    Coe sensed that Mycha would be patient with his awkwardness. He had many questions for her but felt uncomfortable when talking about anything other than the necessities of their situation. He had been injured and alone for so long that her presence affected him immensely, in good and bad ways.

    His loneliness was gone but had been replaced with questions, anxiety, and shock at the entry of this new person in his life. Mycha’s exotic appearance, foreign accent, and mysterious demeanor confused him while increasing his stress.

    Hopefully he could relax soon. He tried to organize his thoughts and questions while helping Mycha move her pack inside the Cave. They ate small portions of jerky from her store and spoke little while they worked.

    Modern Adaptions

    From John A. Heatherly: "While the characters in THE CAVE AND THE SEA used a buffalo horn with tallow (rendered animal fat) and cedar bark as a light source, I like to recreate their idea using these modern, low-cost items."

    A lamp for emergency lighting can be quickly improvised from a soda can. (photo here)
    This simple lamp uses kitchen drippings from a meatloaf pan along with a cotton wick. Simply pour the drippings into the can, reverse the pop-top, and insert the wick!

    This lighted collection of lamps made from cans and bottles can provide quick emergency lighting. (photo here)
    The “Oil-Lamp Candelabra” is constructed of soda cans of different varieties, a metallic soda bottle, and a wine bottle. Some use tallow from kitchen drippings as fuel, while others use oil from the frying pan or even conventional lamp oil from the hardware store.
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  7. JohnAHeatherly

    JohnAHeatherly Monkey+

    Excerpt Six - Surviving Crazy Women!

    Check out this hilarious AND educational article over at Neil Strauss's site! A little background information: FLYBOY is a member of Neil's Inner Circle, and his experiences with a crazy ex-girlfriend inspired this installment. Enjoy!

    The following was inspired by none other than: our good friend, Flyboy, who commented that he started carrying handcuff keys after a crazy ex-girlfriend left him bound! Perhaps we all have dealt with feminine nightmares AND craziness from time to time? So, with no further adieu, this excerpt from THE CAVE AND THE SEA, A NOVEL serves as a salute to Flyboy and those like him. Don’t miss some pretty awesome survival reference material at the end, as well.


    The sound of a scream wakened Coe from a deep slumber. He could not see in the depths of the West Chamber but could tell that Mycha was standing near the wall to his right. He walked from the bough bed on his knees to investigate while her loud thrashing continued. In confusion he rose to comfort her and felt the rush of wind as she spun in the dark to strike him with her arm in a circular motion. The point of her elbow met the Cave wall instead; she screamed in pain then crumpled to the Cave floor. Coe thought that she had waked and knelt to console her as she cried.

    She was almost inconsolable in her pain. “It hurts,” she cried. “It must be broken…” Her agony sounded unbearable.

    Coe hurried to the coal bed in the Council Room and quickly ignited one of their lamps. He added wood to the fire before returning to the West Chamber to tend to her.

    She had stopped crying but seemed in shock while saying, “My arm is badly damaged, Coe; please help me … please … is it broken?”

    He examined her arm in the torchlight. In the dimness he could tell that it was misshapen.

    “Mycha,” he said calmly, “Give me your good hand. You have to stand and walk to the other room. Your arm will be fine – I will fix it.”

    He helped her stand as she winced in pain while doing her best to support her wounded arm. He guided her to stand in the firelight against one wall of the Council Room so that he could examine more closely. Gently he ran his fingers from her shoulder down past the wounded joint to her wrist. She winced again but was able to maintain control.

    He made an effort to speak with calm clarity: “Your arm is not broken; you have dislocated your elbow.” Gently he held her hand as it dangled beneath the mangled joint. “Mycha, turn your head away from me. Stand still. Take a deep breath then let it out.”

    He didn’t hesitate; as he heard her complete her exhale he forcefully pulled her hand diagonally away from her body. While maintaining downward pressure with one hand he pressed inward on her elbow with the other. The entire procedure took less than a second; her scream was delayed. She cried desperately as he helped to lower her to a seated recline against the wall.

    He supported her arm near her midsection while carefully pulling her head to his chest in an embrace. She cried for several minutes as he spoke to her.

    “I have seen an injury almost identical to this before,” he said. “We can handle it, and in a matter of weeks, it will be much better.”

    She continued to cry and eventually reached with her good hand to support her arm. “Okay, thank you. It still really hurts …” Soldier crept into the Council Room and rested his head on her lap.

    “I will build up the fire for you and need to make medicine. Will you be alright while I go to the willow?”

    She nodded; quickly Coe placed three small rocks in the fire then exited the Cave to navigate through the darkness to the willow tree. His familiarity with the area enabled him to move quickly in the starlight. He extracted pieces of bark and also took a small piece of willow branch that had several green leaves attached.

    Upon returning to the Cave, he filled a wooden cup with water and dropped in a hot rock. After adding the willow leaves, twigs, and bark, Mycha’s tea was steeping.

    “This will make you feel better,” he said. “I will make a sling for you.”

    She managed a smile as he folded a piece of leather from her pack into a large triangle. “When you are ready to stand, we will sling your elbow,” he assured her. “Please drink your tea – it is ready.” He placed the cup in her good hand.

    “What is happening to me, Coe?” she asked, before taking a small sip of the willow tea. “How could this occur?”

    He touched her cheek, smiled, and tried to look unafraid; in truth, he had no idea how to respond. He put his arm around her shoulders and kissed her as she sipped from her cup.

    Reference: Survival Medicine​

    So unexpected, bad things can happen, even in a “safe” environment. A little Survival/Medical know-how can make things better!


    For centuries, willow bark has been used as treatment for a myriad of ailments. The bark contains a chemical called salicin that is similar to aspirin, although some studies have identified other compounds that have “antioxidant, fever reducing, antiseptic, and immune boosting properties.”* Some show that willow can reduce pain and inflammation at much lower doses than aspirin. It has been shown to help with headaches, low back pain, and osteoarthritis, and is also recommended for the treatment of menstrual cramps, fever, flu, bursitis, and tendonitis.

    How should willow bark be used? For adults, administer as a tea: “Boil 1 – 2 tsp of dried bark in 8 oz of water and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes; let steep for ½ hour; drink 3 – 4 cups daily.”* Willow is not recommended for children under the age of 16 due to the dangers of Reye syndrome.

    As with all treatments, there are some precautions. For example: those who are allergic to salicylates should not use willow. For more information and a thorough listing of usages, precautions, interactions, and depletions, please see The University of Maryland Medical Center website, listed below.

    *Willow bark


    While internet resources are great, it never hurts to have a few paper resources around in case they are needed in times of trouble. Here are a couple that we recommend:

    Field Guide to Wilderness Medicine by Dr. Auerbach
    US Army Field Manual, First Aid, Survival Medical Manual
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  8. JohnAHeatherly

    JohnAHeatherly Monkey+

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2015
  9. flightorfight

    flightorfight Monkey+

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2015
  10. JohnAHeatherly

    JohnAHeatherly Monkey+

    Hello flightorfight! How are you?

    Hey - if you had any trouble downloading the novel please send me a private message and let me know what happened. I know that 74 people who are not Prime members downloaded the novel for free, so it worked for some.

    Mostly, if you want to read the book, I want you to read it!! Send me a message with your private email address and I'll see what I can do.

    Thanks for the heads up. Talk to ya soon!


  11. JohnAHeatherly

    JohnAHeatherly Monkey+

    Pop Quiz and Contest!

    For all of you who took advantage of the complimentary download of THE CAVE AND THE SEA, A NOVEL at Amazon on May 5th - take a look at this contest over at Forever Young Adult. The winner will receive a signed copy!

    Pop Quiz Time | Forever Young Adult
  12. JohnAHeatherly

    JohnAHeatherly Monkey+

    SurvivalCommonsense Review of THE CAVE AND THE SEA, A NOVEL

    Thanks to Leon at SurvivalCommonsense for this thorough review of THE CAVE AND THE SEA, A NOVEL!

    "What I like most about the book is how Heatherly weaves aboriginal survival skills into the plot. Heatherly is an experienced writer and outdoorsman and has appeared on this website with his previous non-fiction book “The Survival Template.” He is the graduate of several survival schools, and uses that knowledge to create a tale of fantasy with real survival techniques.

    It’s possible for the reader to get immersed in the plot, and before he realizes it, he has been exposed to a survival technique, such as learning how to make an improvised lamp from pine resin and cedar bark. The survival skills are mentioned in passing, and are brought up as part of the natural sequence of events.

    This is the strength of the story and plot. As a survival writer, my concern is education and providing information, and The Cave and The Sea provides a vehicle for getting young people interested. Written for a young adult audience, the novel combines an adventure story with an introduction to wilderness survival skills..."

    The full review can be found at:


  13. JohnAHeatherly

    JohnAHeatherly Monkey+

    Friday Gear Report: The UVPaqlite Series AND Bonus Reading – Survival Fiction!

    by JOHN A. HEATHERLY on MARCH 22, 2013

    By John A. Heatherly, Author of The Survival Template and The Cave and The Sea
    UVPaqlites are described as “Reusable – Reliable – No Batteries – No Bulbs – Non-toxic – Glows All Night Long – Keep It Forever.”​
    Years ago we trained with those old-school, J-shaped military flashlights (the bulky green ones.) While those relics kept us from floundering in total darkness, their limitations fostered an appreciation for quality light sources. For $20 plus shipping, the “Scout Pack Combo” pictured above provides additional options for light to complement our various flashlights, candles, lanterns, etc…​
    For me, the main appeal of UVPaqlites was their advertised ability to recharge. Secondly, I wondered just how much light they would provide. Given my concerns, the Scout Pack was a good starting choice as it allowed me to test one UVGloStik, one UVO Necklace, one Tooblite, and one Small UVPaqlite.​
    Each item did in fact, “glow all night” after charging during the day. The amount of light, of course, is relative to each product’s size. The UVO Necklace, Tooblite, and UVGloStik all work well for marking pieces of gear or objects in a room or camp. The Small UVPaqlite is my favorite of the bunch, as it would easily illuminate a small tent if necessary. In hindsight, the Larger UVPaqlite or the UVMatlite would have been a better choice for me, as I believe they will easily illuminate a dark room during a power outage. Of course, the combination of my Scout Pack with any of the larger UVPaqlites will vastly improve my abilities to function in the dark, and I plan to place another order soon.​
    Before ordering, I recommend that a consumer read the FAQ page ( Here are a few highlights:​
    Q: How do they work?
    A: They are glow-in-the-dark lights. Our products utilize a specialty formulated non-toxic- glow-in-the-dark crystal called Strontium Aluminate. Their unique jagged shape allows them to absorb light from nearly all angles which maximizes that light absorption. The absorbed light is then stored inside the crystals and when taken into a dark environment, they glow!
    Q: What are they crystals made from?
    A: The crystals are made from Strontium Aluminate and combined with a rare earth called europium. They are all non-toxic & environmentally friendly. Strotium is actually found in some toothpastes. They do not produce heat, radiation, or any harmful side effects. They are basically made from dirt/earth.
    Q: How bright are the UVPaqlites?
    A: The large UVPaqlite provides enough light to act as a night light in a 6 person tent or small bedroom. The medium UVPaqlite, in my opinion, is the perfect 3-4 person tent light. It provides just enough light to see your surroundings, find your socks, etc. but not enough to keep you awake. A lot of our customers use the small or medium UVPaqlites on their night stands. The mini UVPaqlite is more like a marker used to identify trails, locations, items, exits, etc.

    So modern gear, such as UVPaqlites, makes survival much easier. The following sample chapter from THE CAVE AND THE SEA, A NOVEL, discusses the use of fire and a unique improvised light source to illuminate a cave. Enjoy!​
    The journey back up the hill to the Cave was not a long one though it took its toll on Coe. The Cave had safely sheltered him so far, but more work would be required for it to be considered an ongoing solution. He could feel his energy waning. Upon exiting the rocky clearing near the spring, Coe gathered a few necessities: the sharpest small rock he could find, as his obsidian razor was delicate and he could not risk breaking it on more rugged work; several globules of pine resin that had seeped from the larger pine trees near the clearing; and four flat, stackable rocks that were easy to carry. If the gods continued to smile on him, he would sleep warm, happy and hidden that night.

    By his judgment he would have almost four hours of daylight left to accomplish his tasks, though he worried that his body’s energy stores would fall before the sun did. He placed his sharp and flat rocks just outside the Cave entrance along with the pine resin and noticed that a ray of afternoon sunlight had fallen through an opening in the thicket near his working area.

    Quickly he peeled multiple handfuls of cedar bark from the surrounding trees and placed it on a rock in the sunlight. The bark felt dry when he gathered it, but he wanted to take advantage of the afternoon sun to ensure that his fire-making materials would contain no moisture whatsoever.

    Under normal circumstances, Coe would use a hand-drill to start a fire; but with an injured left arm and a lack of energy, a bow drill solution was more viable. The cedar slash provided a straight stick that would serve as his spindle and a wide, flat stick that could be split into a fireboard. As he started to carve a handle, he realized that one of his flat rocks was round enough, like a hollow bowl, to provide an effective handle that would not require carving. He found a long, curved branch to serve as his bow and planned to use a piece of cordage from his bandages to complete the bow-drill set. He wanted to inspect the cut on his arm anyway; and if he had enough firewood, he could easy reapply the cordage and bandage before sleeping. He gathered dry firewood for more than an hour.

    After placing his sizable stash of firewood just inside the Cave entrance, Coe took his newly acquired, rugged-sharp rock and began carving his spindle and fireboard. The stone instrument was crude but adequate in creating a fine point on one end of the spindle and in halving the fireboard. He used his obsidian razor from his hidden waistband pocket once but did not want to risk breaking it as he would need it later for more delicate tasks.

    Before attempting to turn the spindle with his bow, Coe took several small bundles of cedar bark, mixed them with balls of pine resin, and placed them individually on the small flat rocks, which served as baseplates. If he could get a fire going, his day would be near complete.

    Being naturally left-handed, he had grown up using his right hand to steady the spindle handle and his left hand and arm to work the bow. In this case his injury would require that he work the bow right-handed, and he wished that he had taken his grandfather’s advice more seriously when Grandfather had warned him to learn to use both hands for basic tasks. He removed the leather cordage from the bandage on his injured left side and got to work.

    At first the bow did not turn easily, and Coe began to feel scared; but his awkward right-handed cadence improved, eventually burning a starter hole in his fireboard. He had to use his obsidian once more to create the notch in the board and stopped to rest after organizing his materials around him.

    He used a small portion of firewood to construct a tipi fire-lay just outside the cave entrance. This small fire would be for temporary use until he could move into the Cave and build a larger fire. To his relief, the cedar bark was bone dry, and though he nearly exhausted himself turning the bow, he watched the marriage of the spindle and fireboard produce dark, fine dust and eventually a small spark. With care he cradled the spark in a bundle of bark and coaxed it into a flame with gentle breaths.

    His tipi fire took immediately, warming his body and his spirit, inducing yet another sense of natural, primal gratitude. This time he offered his prayer of thanks without stopping his work.

    Coe allowed the fire to burn for a few minutes to produce a small coal bed. He carefully dragged a portion of the coals away from the fire with a stick and then placed the glowing coals on two of his baseplate stones. Almost immediately, the cedar bark/pine resin mixtures ignited, providing Coe with lamps that he could easily carry by gripping the baseplates. He was proud of his work and knew that each of the four lamps would burn for just under an hour. He planned to be asleep before the lamps burned out.
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