The first week of Argonaut 2012 has been pretty low-key in all fairness, lots of training etc in preparation for the Big One – Bravo Company Senior Expedition Leader’s Course 18 day expedition… This will see about 400km being covered over that time split between canoeing, mountain biking and hiking. With that in mind Wednesday saw 7 platoon head to the water site for a day of canoe training, all good fun – I like being on the water. After some dry training, and a demonstration of a T rescue we were on the water (St John’s River) and paddling in pairs to Cow Island for our box lunches. I volunteered to demonstrate the t-rescue and was prepared for the water to be freezing but I was pleasantly surprised by how warm it was – quite a refreshing change from the UK. I spotted a few mosquitos on my bare legs whilst eating lunch but thought I’d swatted them away in pretty good time… how wrong I was. I was in the rear of my canoe with my staff cadet up front, it was very windy and it was hard work to keep the canoe from being blown back to shore but we managed it. I’ve never canoed in weather like that before, so it was a good experience.
The St John River is pretty large, one of the biggest in Canada, and I was lucky enough to get a spin the in safety speedboat whilst the cadets were changing – much fun indeed. When we got back to camp following the 45 minute walk back on a trail, I noticed my bites were starting to look rather unattractive – nice and swollen and blistered.
I popped them all (yes, with clean hands) maybe I shouldn’t but hell, they were ridiculous. The one that looks the worst in the picture really was pretty bad, so I got some friendly advice from the guy who’d run our first aid training – he said to go get it checked out, so I did. The med centre, cleaned them all and covered me in plasters
They’ve gotten a bit better but are still not fixed, I popped back in today and was told to see the nurse practitioner for some anti-biotics tomorrow.It’s so dramatic. I know I would react badly to insect bites, I always do.
I had presumed that the camp was dry but I have been pleasantly surprised to discover a very active mess life here – I’ve popped in a few times and sampled some local beer. My favourite is called ‘Moosehead’ and I already have a glass to add to my collection from places I’ve visited. Friday night was karaoke night and I couldn’t resist…. I sang Hakuna Matata with an officer cadet before progressing onto Meredith Brooks ‘Bitch’ to a packed officer’s mess – hey, I like to get involved with the social side of life! I had a few of the officers from my platoon come and join me as backing vocals, it was really good fun but I still managed to get to bed by 1130.
Am impressed with myself, though I did give the bar a miss on saturday for the ‘hawaiian night’ – turns out they were all up dancing til 4am. Sunday was a rest day but nevertheless, I can’t handle that: Hula skirts and bra tops are not my style.
So to summarize week one, I’d say it’s been good – the cadets haven’t really been a problem and they are doing well (for the most part). The Canadians are great and have made us all feel very welcome, I don’t have a bad word to say about them. There are obviously some differences in their ethos and training but nothing too massive and they’re certainly not divisive.