And it begins. 1000 miles in front of us. We have become like Thelma and Louise but in a team. We are tight. Day one consisted of bridges never getting closer, flying fish, a sheriff and protecting the ginger. Formations were practised. It was like training to be a celebrity bodyguard but with everything a little bit wonky. We also had the Aussie adventurer Mark Kalch join us for the day as he kayaks the length of the river. Just another nutter to add to the mix.
We took the first day easy and set up camp along the river in time for naps, food and surprise guests. I mean how amazing is it to meet people like Jim and Jess who bring their families to meet us, support us in every way possible and bring us treats of food and drink. The way to our hearts. Chicken and cola wasn’t exactly the night in the wilderness we were expecting. We are a little bit in love with everyone we met in Chamberlain. Especially the local Sherriff. Well he wasn’t actually the Sherriff but it makes the story better.
Tents were rocked out. Hammocks were slung. After an amazing meal, chats to the cracking people we met in Chamberlain, a lift in the Sherriff’s police car to the local shop for a loo stop, we passed out. Into a boob and river filled sleep.
Day two (said in Big Brother voice). The team had a hard morning. Nailed the formations. A storm came in. Grey clouds rolling. Months without rain and we bring the British weather withwith us. Lunch was munched snuggled under a tarpaulin. Sleep was had. The journey continued.
Now, nobody wants to fall in the river on a good day, let alone in a storm. I have been asking for a topple for a while now. My alter ego is a ninja. With double switch turns and yoga moves and that. But the afternoon was a hard graft (for the Americans that doesn’t mean we were stealing things. It means we were tired). Winds blowing directly into us. Waves flowing. The journey was tough for boards and canoe paddlers and especially the man in the water. For some reason my board took a life of its own and I floated out into the middle of the river and couldn’t turn around. Backwards flying into the middle of river isn’t fun. Especially when you can see the campsite ahead. It really isn’t fun when your bags fall off and half of your body falls off. So there I was flying backwards, bags adrift, soaking wet and nothing I could do would turn me around. So I came into shore backwards and because of our lovely sponsor Aquapac, absolutely nothing was wet. I mean not a drop. Thank the river gods for Aquapac.
Right now, Annie is giggling, Sarah is being Nigella Lawson, Ben is DJ-ing, DZ is stretching, Sarah is Nigella Lawson, Twoobs is in a strop, Ness is pottering, Miguel is like the guy from American Beauty, Dave is stretching and I am sitting on the edge of the river. Looking at the sunset. And preparing for day three. And smiling at the fact I’m sitting on the edge of the river, on the dock of the bay, chasing waterfalls or whatever water inspired song you can think of.
by Em Bell