Leaving while everyone else was still tucked up in their bunks was not a bad idea, not just because we wanted to avoid the delay in repeating last night’s farewell rounds of the port. It seemed to us that if there was to be a cool of the morning, then we should be travelling in it, but even before eight the heat had arrived in a great slick of airless heaviness, leaching the colour from all it touched, adding a listlessness to the landscape.
We were glad to be underway, although on a stretch of the river which offered no shade there seemed no point in stopping and losing the little apparent wind that our movement created.
Eventually of course we had to find a place to stay, and even in this we discovered difficulty of a type hitherto not experienced. Every piece of riverbank that offered suitable access for boats conversely offered access for swimmers, and access it they did.
When we did spot a vacant pontoon it was covered in kids of all ages, basking and jumping and trumpeting to each other like colonies of seals on the only rock in a great ocean, but we found a place, gently making our presence felt so that the multitudes parted just enough for us to moor amid their teenage exuberance, and they seemed happy enough to share their party with us until late in the evening.