Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Canoe

Had I decided it was not worth it plunking down $16 and not had been threatened with academic penalty for the decision, I wouldn't have gone. I did have doubts about the worth of the trip, yes, but what happened in the end was a different story.

Today we went up to a canoe rental service on the other side of the Mullica River. When everyone had sorted out their partners, I ended up in the same canoe as my friend Nick and thus went down the path to the creek landing. Once we determined where we needed to stop for luch and then end (I didn't bring any lunch of my own), we loaded the ten canoes out and shoved down the creek, which ran perpendicular to the CR563. As I had gone canoeing before and did not sink, I didn't expect the journey to incorporate hazards that would provoke the incident over and over.

Less than one hundred yards down the creek, the current split and left a small islet covered in moss and divided the creek into shallow and narrow streams for the next thirty yards. One team managed to get stuck perpendicular to the current and asked Nick and me to ram into the side so they could get rowing again. We did, but they remained stuck. When we reached out to their boat to correct them, we overbalanced and fell into the current — the first hazard failure. A minute later, we decided to climb up onto the islet and manually remove the canoes from the current and turn them in the direction of the current so that we could continue.

I had not rowed in years, my last time probably being in Belize going down a river after visiting the Altun Ha ruins and then being scooped aboard a boat that took us to our cruise ship when the storms arrived.* As a result, I found it difficult to alternate sides to paddle on to keep the canoe away from overhanging branches or completely felled and submerged trees. I ended up crunching up against heavy branches at some points but failed to draw blood, and often we had to correct when the bow of the canoe (where I was rowing) crashed into the bank. Although none of these corrections caused us to capsize, we did capsize a second time a mile down from the first incident when the canoe came upon a submerged tree branch and tilted us to the right. The water wasn't freezing and it helped out my toe, but I began to shiver slightly when I climbed back into the canoe once we managed to correct it sufficiently.

Although we didn't capsize after that, my clothes remained soggy and my rowing improved gradually but slowly. We did manage to block the creek after lunch break after we exited a pond and managed to get stuck between the bank and a trapped log while other canoes passed by right over the log. Luckily, the terminus of the route wasn't more than a half mile further, and we managed to make it with the other five able canoes that had passed us at the log. Once we were gathered at the bridge, we stacked up our canoes and walked to the bridge deck to listen for the following canoes, but it took nearly an hour before we were able to hear anything distinct. At 1.15pm, we saw two canoes coming down the creek — the one in front was completely submerged and the occupants were still rowing! Oh, how we shared a laugh at that.

The end result: shower off when I get home and arrive an hour late but not miss the employees feed a stray fox with a milkshake and some chips. As an added bonus, all of my cards in my wallet are soggy, but my ATM card should probably be working now.

* The same cruise in which the teenaged girl was stalking me, not the one in which I was ground against my will. There's a major difference. If you have any questions, just drop me an email and I'll be happy to answer.

1 comment:

16bit said...

Well, better luck next time o.o