Perhaps it was my male intuition. Perhaps it was the sudden arrival of my long-awaited sixth sense. Perhaps I was just exceptionally perceptive that morning. I guess I’ll never know. But whatever it was, something told me that getting heavily inebriated the night before a canoe marathon was not a wise move. I looked at my friend, Andy. He wore a puzzled, thoughtful expression, and I wondered if he was experiencing a similar epiphany.
“But you hate canoeing. And you have that weird fear, right? Raftophobia or something?”
“It’s bathophobia – and I don’t hate canoeing. I’m just not very good at it.”
For the record, bathophobia is not a fear of baths. It is a fear of deep water. Especially contained deep water, such as a lake. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember, despite being a perfectly capable swimmer. And as for canoeing, ‘not very good’ was putting it lightly. I’d only ever done it once before and it had ended with me literally going round in circles before unceremoniously capsizing, and then panicking because my feet didn’t touch the bottom.
Perhaps my other half was right to be concerned. I had just told her I’d accepted an offer to take part in a canoe marathon in the lakes of Dalsland, West Sweden, in a few days’ time.
“What about training? It’s a marathon – they’re like 26 miles, aren’t they? Surely you need to train?”
“Actually,” I swallowed hard, “it’s 35 miles. But they said anyone can give it a go. I’ll be fine!”