Jamie originally thought of titling this post, ‘Rafting Under Stars with Wine,’ but shortly afterwards, he had the niggling notion that ‘Night Rafting’ seemed to be a somewhat more respectable title. Hoping not to dissuade readers or to purvey a negative image of himself, he retitled the post… and for the sake of experiment, begun to write about himself in the third person, immediately giving away the original post title despite the fact that he had never used it. This was the very first time he had ever chosen to write about himself and his companions in the third person, but being a very primitive writer, he hoped only to try something new (only when you fail, can you know not to do something again).
When aboard the home-made, recycled ‘pirate’ ship (made from billboards and barrels that they hoped to take from Slovakai to Romania along the Danube), it had occurred not only to Jamie, but to all four of the pirates, that ‘The Ship’ was not travelling very fast. In fact, these pirates were travelling at a speed of less than 20 km a day: no match for The Black Pearl. Despite the fact that this raft was a homemade raft, all four pirates had hoped to traverse the one or two thousand kilometre journey to Romania in less than six months. Even three months aboard the raft would have meant spending winter living on the water in Romania: a grim prospect as you may well imagine. Particularly because they barely had a pair of trousers between them, let alone winter clothing.
Despite being terribly terrifying pirates and free from all rules as they pillaged and plundered towns across Slovakia and Hungary, the pirates had not been privy to vast quantities of alcohol aboard the ship. In fact, on only one occasion (which ended in a drunken man nearly driving a Land Rover off a cliff and onto the raft) could the pirates claim to have indulged in anything other than mild mannered sipping of single beverages. Because of this, they begun to fear for their dwindling reputations as pirates.
With blatant disregard, they boldly proclaimed that they would drink wine all day and sail all night. One fine day, after crossing two dams with great difficulty, the pirates decided to indulge in the finest plastic bottled wine that they could find. At more than €1 a litre, they knew only pirates who plundered great riches could afford to live such a lavish lifestyle. And so for the day, they sat in the sunshine, sipping wine, and reading books, as all well cultured pirates are wont to do.
At this point in their journey, they knew that they didn’t have to worry much about where the ship was going. They were on a side river of the Danube with no other boats on it and the wind was calm. All they had to do, was avoid falling off The Ship.
Sadly, when the wine had run dry, they decided that the supplies must be restocked. They docked The Ship in a very graceful way, but sadly, due to unforeseen circumstances, The Ship broke free from it’s mooring place, possibly because it hadn’t been tied up, and a long battle ensued in which two bicycles were lost to the river while certain pirates cut themselves as they were dragged across the rocks. Certain other pirates stripped off their clothes to rescue the bicycles, only to think better of it, and run for the video cameras instead. In the battle that lasted several minutes, the pirates managed to recover the two bicycles from the river: they had become entangled on the anchor (a rock with a rope tied around it) and not gone anywhere after all. During the whole scenario, a fisherman watched on, unperturbed. In fact, as The Ship fought it’s way down the river bank, he didn’t even choose to pull his line from the water, despite the pirates almost hitting it.
Bicycles rescued, the pirates found some beer and the sun began to set.
“We are the pirates and we will sail all night,” they cried, beating their paddles against the deck and attempting a rendition of Castus Rabensang’s version of Fifteen Men (which can be played on the video above). They put tea-lights into jam jars, hung them from the fore-cabin entrance, and knew that they would be able to see up and down the river without difficulty due to their efficient and powerful lighting system.
And so it was that the pirates drifted down the river. At this point, the river was faster than it had been and they travelled at a great pace for most of an hour. Their only danger, was the slim possibility of hitting a large metal buoy that might drag the raft under, or cause it to tip. The pirates then decided that they must watch out for these buoys.
As three pirates wondered through fairy land (that special place in one’s mind where consciousness is active, but awareness is not), Jamie pirate spied that they were approaching a buoy. In fact, they seemed to be heading right for it. With a quick shout, the oars would be manned and the buoy could be avoided, but for reasons that seem to stretch no further than his own amusement, he chose not to warn the others until it was too late to paddle.
Seconds before potential impact, he offered a warning and the other pirates shouted in horror as The Ship missed the buoy by a matter of centimetres while travelling at a fast speed (relative to the situation in question). The three pirates were not happy with Jamie pirate for not telling them earlier, but he told them not to worry, because “Everything is always OK. Until it’s not.”
After a democratic decision, it was decided (in a three to one vote), that night rafting on the Danube was not a safe option and the activity would be terminated with immediate effect. The outvoted pirate (can you guess which one?) didn’t want to help paddle to the shore because he felt that everything would still be OK.
And that was the end of night rafting for The Pirates of the Danube.
I would now like to elaborate on the moral of this story. Except that it doesn’t have one, so I cannot.
Apologies for my musings in the third person, but in future, I would like to experiment with different writing, photography, and video techniques, and this was a good place to start. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this below. Incidentally, this post was written at a time when I had not slept for over 40 hours: oh the joys of sleep deprivation.