“What is this?!” Aquaman demanded.
“What is what?” I was still groggy after having been woken up by the end of a tiny spear being poked in my chest. The cabin was quiet except for Aquaman.
“This… food!” He was gesturing at the breakfast table that had been prepared for the 14 of us on the morning of our rafting trip.
I used his human name to bring him down a little. “Arthur, it’s oatmeal. Real oats with soy milk and we’ve got all sorts of fruits & nuts to dress it with. There’s even agave nectar if ya wanna make it sweeter. You’re telling me they don’t have oatmeal in Atlantis?” As soon as it came it out, I knew it was a mistake.
“No, we do not have oatmeal under the sea. Y’know, even for an air-breather you can be pretty dim.”
I didn’t care that he was being grouchy. The weather had cleared and we were with friends, ready to experience my first class 3 and 4 rapids.
Let me just say right up front that I highly recommend this experience to everyone. It’s not dangerous if you follow the instructions and it’s even better when you’re in a group. Make the trip to a good river and if you have a good guide, it’s worth the money. We set out at Harris Station dam onto the Kennebec River. Aquaman stowed away in my jacket to avoid any embarrassing questions about a properly sized life jacket, helmet, or paddle. “As if I’d use a paddle even if they had one my size,” he fake-whispered as I jammed him
into a pocket. With a safety lecture that included “This is a helmet. But until you buckle the strap it’s just a hat,” and “Always keep your hand on the end of your paddle. Otherwise you’ll get summer teeth. Summer in yer mouth and summer in yer hand and summer on the ground,” our guides were definitely one of the highlights. They were too busy doing their job, tho’, to notice Artie sneaking in on the fun. “Instructions be damned!” I think he had more fun than he let on. He was splashing around so much, he didn’t even try talking to any of the local fish.
After making it thru the rapids, we landed the raft at a picnic area. There was quite a lunch spread out for us and most of it was vegan friendly. The veggie burger was a brand I didn’t recognize and the best pre-packaged one I’ve ever had. I asked about it afterwards but forgot the name so I’ll have to contact them. There was a bean salad and a pasta salad, too. (The butter and cookie in the photo were contraband.) All in all, quite delicious.
The return bus ride was very relaxing, combination food coma and rafting exhaustion. The only one who didn’t wanna nap was you-know-who. “When are we going again?” and “Did you see when I kept the raft from capsizing?” His highness stood on his seat the whole way back to base camp. “It’s too bad those life jackets get in your way so that you don’t have perfect form the way I do. You think they’d let me be a guide?”
For dinner, some of our friends came up with a variety of veggies that were just what we needed – refreshing and light. There was risotto and broccoli, but the stir fry was my favorite. And everyone agreed that they’d never had tomatoes and peaches together before but really liked it. For dessert, some people brought ice cream, but that just meant we didn’t have to share the last of the s’mores fixins.
There was no rude awakening the next morning. Arthur met me with a toothy “Greetings”, hefting his fork full of tofu scramble in a wave. I realized that he assumed there was more rafting to look forward to rather than the 4+ hour road trip home. “I shall attend to the front of the vessel today. There is no need for secrecy. I have proven my worth on the river!” Neptune’s beard! He was so full of pride. This one was gonna be a king-size task. I’d used up all my promises and bargaining chips just to get him to come along and now I had to reverse the process?
Suddenly Aquaman was doing a spit take of tofu and tomatoes across the table, with what sounded like a laugh except I’d never heard him laugh before. “Oh-HOHOHO!! You should’ve seen your face, land dweller! You were as white as a beluga whale. Relax, I have no intention of staying in this land-locked place.” I felt my heart start to beat again and my appetite return. I silently started to shovel breakfast into my mouth as I imagined where in the luggage Admiral Hilarious would be spending the car ride.