*Disclaimer: I was also motivated by a need to find/develop paddling buddies here in Belgium, and the awesome t-shirt you get the first time you participate in an Antea sporting event (see above). :)
Then I polled the office to pick a date that worked well for people, and sent out the notice in the Antea Group Sport newsletter. Enthusiasm was high! We had about 17 people signed up at a certain point. Some people even requested a more exciting whitewater trip (will have to organize this in the future!). As the day approached, I anxiously checked the weather forecast and sent emails to manage expectations about kayaking in the rain. Then, as I sat in my apartment on the eve of the trip, eyeing the thunderstorm forecasts and listening to a torrential downpour on the roof, punctuated by thunder and lightning... I cancelled. It was heartbreaking.
Okay, let's be a little less dramatic. We rescheduled, and a week later those who could still join (Inma, Anna, Raquel, Jan, and I) met up at 9am at the rental location in Lokeren. It was a sunny cool day - perfect for kayaking. Just kidding! There were no more kayaks available on such short notice (I tried to rebook 4 days ahead), so we opted for canoes instead. Sadly, we lost some people who seem to think one awesome non-motorized water sport (kayaking) is superior to another (canoeing).
Everyone arrived enthusiastic and ready to paddle, even though human-powered boating was relatively new to most. After a few shakey boat entries (we found out that Raquel likes to stand in boats) and one minor collision with a yacht nearby (no biggie), we were off!
More photos - click to enlarge!
Duration: 4 hours (including ~1 hr picnic)
Distance: 9.3 km (5.8 miles)
Weather: Perfect! Cool, breezy, mostly sun but a tiny bit of rain