Rowing by starlight..!
A spot of starlit rowing to the isle of Tanera Mor, the largest of our lovely Summer Isles, on Thursday night pushed the rowing boundaries for a happy band of Coigach Lass crew-members: Cox Di, Alan, Mark, Di’s WWOOFer Kim and Sue..and myself and Ish in my Canadian Canoe -trying it out with double paddles each.
(Hmmm. Not good form I know, the double paddles thing, but the two of us were fairly skimming over the mile or so of open sea-loch towards Tanera Mor while the rowers got themselves and the ‘Lass’ launched. Funny how even a fairly beamy open canoe feels like you’re paddling sitting on the edge of a knife after rowing the ‘Lass!’)
The season’s rowing has obviously improved our arm strength and stamina because Bill, one of our genial Tanera hosts and owner of the island – was astonished to see Ish and myself apparently zooming round the pier at Ardnagoine on towards the bay in front of the Tanera boatshed Cafe, speed no whit abated after the mile or so paddle. And we were yakking away to each other the whole way…someone accused us of discussing shoes. Probably right. But there you go. Two women technically in middle age, myself well through it actually, paddling like young things! All down to a new sort of ‘Gym.’
Yes, you see, there’s the Gym we all know: (boring, expensive, smell of sweaty trainers pervading): the ‘Green’ Gym (lots of hot, backbreaking digging and weeding – only to do it all again a week later) ….and now we have the BLUE GYM: (getting out on the ‘Lass’ with wide skies arching above, sensational mountain scenery in the distance, pulling through the grade A, pollution-free, crystal sea round Coigach, great craic and camaraderie, and friendly beers at the end.) What a workout!
The ‘Lass’ and my canoe hauled up safe, we joined other rowers Dan and Grethe and friends, a small party of Australian chefs and a larger one of women on Tanera for an Art course all round two long candle-lit tables in the boatshed cafe for an enticingly titled ‘Pig and fungus risotto.’ This was the final ‘Tanera Nights’ meal of the summer season and rowers and friends were going to enjoy it! Click on pic below to enlarge if you want. Thanks Gerry!
Delicious meal over, thanks Rich and Lizzie, rowers tried to preserve their night vision as a few head-torches lit us all back into our two craft. A still, warm night with every possible star seeming to shine its heart out for us over the bay. The black-as-night sea was glassy-smooth with the very Milky Way reflected in it. Magnificent.
Ish and I settled in for a quick getaway in the canoe, knowing that the little Tanera ferry the MV Patricia would be plying the same route as us back to the mainland and we would be virtually invisible – so our paddles were fairly flying. . .
. . . and just when we thought the night could get no more beautiful, as our paddles dipped and lifted it was as if we were scooping sea-jewels and sprinkling them. Tiny bio-luminescent sea life was providing the final superabundance of natural glory!
What a paddle we had, hearing Di calling out the stroke as the ‘Lass’ and its merry band of rowers (safely merry! ) loomed out of the starlit dark, caught us up and passed us on the homeward journey, oars raking through jewels.
What a sight…what a night! Bring on many more of them!