It was a weekend and I was in Indianapolis so on the Friday night I had a look in the hotel literature for something to do the next day. A leaflet about canoeing on the Blue River caught my eye and so the next day found me on my way south. The drive took about two hours and the SUV that I was driving was using a lot of fuel. Good that the petrol is so cheap in the USA.

After one false start I found the headquarters of Cave Country Canoes and hired a kayak, paddle and life preserver. We rode about 10 kilometres up stream in an old school bus and then launched our canoes next to a wooden bridge across the river.

There were about 40 people in the bus so to start with I put on a good turn of speed to leave them all behind and have a stretch of river to myself. I'm sure that the Blue River looks nothing like the Mississippi but I kept expecting to see Tom Sawyer round the next bend. The entire stretch ran though wooded country and the trees hung over the river keeping things cool despite the extremely hot sun.

This had been a very dry summer in Indiana so the river was very low. I had to portage some rapids and the situation got worse as the boat began to sink. There was obviously a hole somewhere and the space between the double skins slowly filled with water until I was sat in rather than on the river. I eventually found a dead tree which I could pull the kayak on to and tip all the water out. After that things went a little quicker. The river was relatively slow flowing and I spent an enjoyable two hours covering the 10 kilometres.

Once I was back at the operations headquarters I explained that I was soaking wet because the canoe had sank and they offered me another trip free. Shame I was flying home two days later.

Neill Hogarth | |