I built my pedal powered dinghy for several reasons. Firstly I just wondered if I could build a boat that floated and moved along in the water in a useful way. Last year I enjoyed the fabrication and engineering involved in the build and I also hoped the boat would be an alternative form of exercise to my usual sport of mountain biking. This year I’ve needed to do a little maintenance, fixing a tiny leak and one or two other issues but mainly I have a very useable vessel. What I haven’t done is set athletic targets to achieve on the water. It’s a far more gentle affair than riding a mountain bike and if I work harder to go faster the speed difference in barely discernible. I therefore need a use for my boat to make it worth the 15 minutes it takes to reach the canal and return home later.
I did some longer journeys last year and I’m sure I’ll do more when I have time to spare. If I’m at home alone I don’t want to be out for so long that the dog feels neglected and it would be too difficult to take him with me. I can use a boat trip as a regular exercise session but today I wanted to add to my Flower of the Week posts by photographing the environment from the water. Fortunately the dinghy is stable enough to be able to get my phone out and take pictures with no worries about overturning in the water.
At the top of the page is a photo of the canal bank near where I launch. Occasionally the vegetation is cut back by British Waterways, who manage our canals. At this time, though, there are lots of small trees starting to establish along with many other plants including cow parsley, nettles and, fortunately, dock leaves. Some may believe that it’s a worthless old wives tale to suggest that a nettle sting can be cured by rubbing it with a dock leaf but I find that it works. As a precaution I removed the nettles just where I get into the boat but still somehow got stung a little.
I photographed a couple of plants which are only found in or right next to water.
I didn’t sail for as long as usual today but still put some effort in to make it useful training. I came across a gaggle of geese mainly composed of this year’s goslings outnumbering adult birds. Fist time some people on the canal bank were offering them food and this prevented them from being scared away by the slapping of my paddlewheel on the water, which always causes the ducks to take flight. Some of the geese were less brave though and a couple of adults and a few goslings were separated from the group. They called repeatedly as I drove them down the canal so I thought I should turn back to let them regroup. I didn’t encounter the main gaggle for about another half mile since they’d paddled themselves in the direction I was now travelling. Just before I reached them I again turned around to return to my start point. Pedal boating isn’t as aerobic as cycling but it stresses the muscles so after a sail I have no doubt that I’ve done some useful exercise. I’ve also enjoyed nature and experienced the fabulous sensation of floating along, which is a magical feeling.