Sunday, May 31, 2009

Rowing on the River

Right, scullers on the Wairoa River near Tauranga, NZ
Below, Bay of Plenty Coast Rowing Club at regatta

Essay from Ellen while waiting for a weather window out of NZ:

Rowing was the sunshine of my life in Tauranga. I found Bay of Plenty Coast Rowing Club online. The club was a friendly, supportive and growing group of seventeen men and women developing their sculling and occasionally, with some groans, sweep skills.
The thrice weekly drive out to the boathouse was a like a tonic to my soul – out into the country, away from the sprawl, the traffic, the gusty harbour, the endless work on the boat. We rowed up the tidal Wairoa river when the tide was coming in, and down the river when it was running out, past green hilly farms, bush-clearing fires, past herds of cows and sheep, kiwifruit groves, lifestyle estates, twittering birds, lush monstrous deep green ferns, autumn leaves, rainbows, magnificent autumn sunsets and full moon risings, watching out for other boats, logjams, flooding, sharp turns, and duck hunters.
My teammates are a hardy bunch. We went out in big rains, near gale winds, whitecaps, tipped over in floods, went out in radically new line-ups all the time. Fall in, get up and shake yourself off. Freezing cold – it’s shorts and T-shirt weather. Who needs shoes? We walk across vast parking lots of gravel in our bare feet. Warm up before a race? Dash from the finish line to the next boat, get in and go!
I participated in three regattas rowing in 8s, quads, and doubles. I even brought home a gold medal. I learned how to respond to “easy!” (instead of “weigh enough”) and to “right” and “left” instead of “port” and “starboard”. Got comfortable with sculling, learned to steer a boat with my foot, enjoyed rowing with the opposite sex, and possibly even made some progress with my technique.


Blogger Richard said...

And we enjoyed your company too! It was great to have you as part of the team.

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