Saturday, 9 March 2013

{If I Had A Boat}

Last year, in a desperate attempt to combat post South-of-France blues, I wrote a post on the beauty of travelling by train. Feeling uninspired by the wet weather and daily library trips in Leeds, I decided to have a little reminisce over journeys I've made by boat. Canoe, raft, sailboat or ferry... river, lake or ocean; no matter which way you set sail there is a unique calmness to travelling over water. Of course, I'm strictly referring to warm-weather ventures, as there is nothing worse than a night spent aboard a rocky boat on choppy waters. Nevertheless when the sun is shining, there's no better way to get from A to B than floating along the gently rippling water. Drink in hand is ideal but not necessary.

Deschutes River, Oregon

Every couple of summers 25-or-so members of my family travel from all over America (and London!) for a week-long vacation in Sunriver, Oregon. We rent out a couple of cabins complete with huge decks for evening BBQs and 'beer & hot tub' time. Not every minute is spent chilling though, as we fill our days with tennis, cycling, rafting and canoeing - earning a well-deserved glass of wine at the end of the day! 


Some of my favourite time of the holiday is spent on the Deschutes. Surrounded by pine trees, it is beautifully wide - meaning you can be in total solitude as you float down the river (along with all your screaming cousins). Getting all of the family (aged from 5 to 85) onto a raft and ready to ride the rapids is no easy feat, but a great sight to behold and so much fun to be a part of.




Mediterranean Sea, Greek Islands



Sun, sea... and delicious Greek men food = three weeks of paradise. We hopped our way around the islands of Sifnos, Paros, Santorini and Ios with backpacks full of little else but bikinis and ferry tickets. Most of our boat trips were long-haul, including one overnight trip, which meant we were able to gaze at the sun setting on the Mediterranean. However, in Paros, we set sail on a day-trip to a nearly deserted beach (as shown below), where we splashed around all day in the crystal clear waters.



(Not so) Ready to board our last ferry back to Athens :(


Dordogne River, France

Every summer since we were 13 years old (give or take a few busy years), a bunch of friends from school make the journey down to Souillac for a blissful summer of reading, swimming, cycling.. and drinking into the night with French boys (but that's besides the point). One of the yearly rituals is a canoe trip down the river Dordogne. 

We wake up early(ish), make a trip to the supermarché for baguettes, goat's cheese and other supplies, before heading down to the river. Mostly our trips have been blissful, and the sun has shone down while we paddled along, stopping every so often for a quick swim or picnic. We have, however, had some memorable disasters. Most notable of these include a Notebook-esque (minus Ryan Gosling) torrential downpour, and a complete lack of forward planning leaving one boat sun lotion-less and the other water-less for 5 blisteringly hot hours. However, the crowning moment in our long canoeing history has to be witnessing a French man with exhibitionist tendencies show us exactly how happy he was to see us in our bikinis. Every summer come rain, shine or pervy French men you'll find us rowing happily along the Dordogne river.

Green River, Colorado


As part of my year out between school and University, I took part in an Outward Bound wilderness course in Colorado, USA. I packed away my mobile phone, i-pod and other items dear to my heart and set off down the Green River. Every morning we'd wake with the sun and yawningly practice Yoga by the water-side. By day, we covered miles of water, facing class-four rapids and other obstacles (including a Man Overboard situation). Sometimes we'd hike up into the mountains to enjoy spectacular views like the one above (while I quietly passed out from exhaustion). By night, we'd pitch camp in a new spot and get a hearty supper going over the campfire while we discussed tomorrow's game plan. It was this trip that really taught me what it means to say a river has a certain personality.




 
James Vincent McMorrow - If I Had A Boat

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