Monday, 20 July 2009

K is for Kayaking!

Well. Actually we slightly cheated and hired a canoe rather than a kayak in the end as that was more practical option for two novice paddlers, their two dogs and a picnic!

We paddled along the River Waveney, on the Bungay Loop, and look how beautifully tranquil it was!
I should probably put the following trauma into some kind of context.

1) We are not experienced canoeists and had only paddled together once before in Florida when we were in search of manatees. That was over a year ago!
2) Keep in mind that we had two small dogs in the canoe with us and that this was their first trip on the river.
3) I was a little fragile having attended a hen do the night before where I imbibed far too many cocktails.

Now imagine several swans floating serenely on that river...

It took the dogs a couple of encounters to work out what these big white things were but once Safi twigged it, things became a bit tricky. We managed to get past the first group of five swans without too much incident (other than me ending up in a patch of nettles) and then past a young, very inquisitive, male whilst managing to hold both collars, the paddle and keep moving upstream before we decided to pause and enjoy the riverbank with our picnic for a while!

At this point, of course, it started to rain but we had waterproofs and were happy to get a bit damp. Then a swan came to check out our canoe and decided to start fishing near it. The swan doesn't want to leave. Eventually we decide to launch the canoe anyway and hope he stays downstream. He does not. We ended up stuck in the reeds, me twisted around holding Oscar's collar (keen to jump in) with Safi firmly clamped between legs (keen to bark) and pinned in by the swan who was alternating between curiously attempting to locate the source of the restrained and increasingly frantic whines and then hissing at us.

Remember that hangover. I am ashamed to admit that I did shed a couple of pathetic tears before Mr B heroically extracted us. After spotting a pair of swans further down the river with their cygnets we decided that it was probably best if we returned upstream.

The dogs must have sensed that they were skating on pretty thin ice as they behaved beautifully for the rest of the trip and the experience of allowing the current to take us through the group of the five swans we'd encountered earlier was absolutely magical. It quite made up for the earlier trauma. I'd love to go out on the river like this again - but next time I think we might leave the dogs at home!

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