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is most fun.

*Apologies for length*

If you have never canoed by moonlight, I highly recommend it - the majestic light of the moon playing on the water, the only sound a distant owl hooting and the gentle slosh of your paddle...

One time my brother and I took a canoe and sea-kayak up a loch at night. This particular loch has a bothy on its shore about halfway (6km or so) along, making a good stopoff point to spend the night and come back the next day, after some appropriate boozing and dicking around with the canoes.

This particular night was perfect: we got there about 8pm, launched fine and started towards the bothy. Full moon and no clouds (which is a 12 in 365 chance in that part of the world) and no wind or rain.
We make good time, and get there with no problems.
Then we paddle up a stream (which was bloody hard work) and moor 20 feet from the loch, close to the bothy.

We spend the night and meet 6 guys who we met at the same bothy last time we went, which is awesome. We share some beer, food and hash, and remark how odd it is that we always run into each other in the same place.

It is august.

The next day we get up late and decide to head back.
Weather looks fine, loch is calm.
So we load up and launch, my brother in the canoe first then me. He heads out to the middle of the loch, I follow, keeping a distance.

I'm a little groggy from the various entertainments the night before, and didn't sleep well because of the cold. I should have brought a better sleeping bag, and the sheepskin rug turned out not to be better than a camping mat as I had thought.
Must've been colder than the bag's comfort rating of -2 degrees.

The loch is shaped like a grain of rice, we are heading from halfway to one end.
We make the turn when i'm approaching about 1/3rd of the way across, when a high wind kicks up, blowing almost straight across the loch.
Within 30 seconds rain accompanies it, then sleet.
The initial gust nearly capsizes me, catching me off guard.
I have to fight with all my strength to keep the kayak straight, quickly I realise it's not going to die down and going back isn't an option.

I glance at my now distant brother, he looks back and shouts something, waving his paddle at the opposite shore. I wave back and shout "OK" but he wouldn't have heard.

I start turning the canoe to point with the wind, and quickly get it lined up - but the wind is gusting almost 90 degrees to me, while at the same time being strongest behind me. I have to fight it hard just to keep straight, while the 90 degree gusts threaten to capsize me.

It took 30 minutes of terrified, exhausting work but we made it to the other shore. My brother got there first, me shortly after.
As I ran the kayak aground I crawled out, breathing hard.

I tied it to a tree, then headed over to my brother, 100 feet away. We looked at each other, and grinned- soaking wet, freezing cold and fucking scared.

We walked for 4 miles to get a mobile signal and phoned for pickup, and of course the bloody weather fucked off in the meantime and it was sun, sea and sand by the time our ride got there.

On the way back the news was on the radio. Turns out 4 people in canoes were capsized and drowned by bad weather only a few miles away the previous day.

I've never been so fucking scared to date
(Sun 22nd Aug 2010, 23:50, More)

» Things to do before you die

i'd like to
win at life before the game's over
(Fri 15th Oct 2010, 0:31, More)

» Lies that got out of control

im a geek
but in this case I tried to be a geek outside my comfort-zone...

many blue moons ago I washed dishes for pocket money.
I knew some stuff then, not much of it any use.
I don't remember how it started but one of the waitresses I worked with became impressed with my knowledge of said stuff.

So she asked for more...

"Tell me more bodily facts, salty_peters" she said.

Not wanting to disappoint, I promptly told her that you need to fart 15 times a day to maintain a healthy colon.

Damn you, mis-remembered informational NHS brodcasts...

so yeah. we didn't hit it off.
(Thu 19th Aug 2010, 2:47, More)