During the 'Around Ireland 2011' expedition, fuel was paramount. On a small paddling day we were burning just over 3000 calories and on a long one in excess of 9000. How were we going to be able to keep on going when we were trimmed so close to the bone - in fact we both lost about 2 stone in weight over the 25 day period.
Off the water we were using a combination of 'Look what we found' meals and pasta, where possible supplemented by a pint or two of the black stuff - in the morning it was porridge. Harry and I also had regular intakes of a hydration supplement.
On the water however, our diet consisted of practically just one item - we were eating 'Mule Bars'. These were devoured with relish, half a bar each, every hour and you could feel the energy value kicking in as it was chomped down. When I became hypothermic it was energy shots and mule bars which kept the inner fire fuelled and helped us land.
It was last year that Jim Frampton, my paddling partner in Scandinavia discovered these energy bars as a fuel source and it was in the cold Arctic North that these little nuggets of nutrition were tested; and as soon as we started to plan for Around Ireland, I approached Mike at Mule Bars like Oliver - bowl in hand.
Mule bars are the perfect pit stop either of us had experienced, in fact back in Ireland on one of the odd days where we came ashore to rest for a while, Harry and I popped into a local store and purchased several Mars Bars and Snickers to add change to our dietary routine and found that the fuel efficiency, or lack of, was instantly noticeable.
I have now decided to carry two Mule Bars in my PFD along with one energy shot to serve as emergency fuel for that time when either I, or one of my paddling mates runs out of fuel and struggles to get home.