Saturday, November 12, 2011
An Aquatic Lantern Parade
The completed lanterns for the floating lantern procession as part of the Dragons Breath festival lined up on the slipway at Birkenhead ready to set sail to the former Port Adelaide Sailing Club .
You can't see the Dragon, that was towed by the Dragonboats. The floating lanterns in the picture were pulled by the Archie Badenoch. My job was to ride tail-end Charlie on the rafts and make sure they didn't get tangled or hooked up on something, and ferry ropes to and from the Archie as they couldn't come in close to the shore. I was entrusted with a wakie talkie even.
Have you ever seen a floating lantern parade from the water? It's fantastic. From a kayak you ahve a real river level view. My job wasn't too onerous, especially since we spent a lot of time circling waiting for the artists to set up, and I could hitch a ride on the last raft.
As dusk fell, the lanterns glow began to appear, our little procession sailed under Birkenhead Bridge and we arrived at the old sailing club accompanied by swirling music.
We sailed around a bit, showing off the lanterns then tried to bring them in. Unfortunately it was dark now, great for the lanterns, but the area around the saling club is full of snags lurking underneath the surface. So this made navigating a little tricky. The Dragon pulled by the Dragon boats got hooked up, but then got off. I was towing the line in for the lead float from our group, when the float got hooked on an underwater snag. A single kayak is not good at dragging or shifting 6 connected rafts, so I did a lot of paddling and going nowhere.
Eventually we had the rafts tied up, I had a quick visit to the festival then paddled back to the Birkenhead slip. The night was warm with little wind. Sliding along the dark river, with the lights reflecting it it, was a perfect way to finish off the evening.