This report was printed in a similar format in the September 2008 edition of H & E Naturist Alex had organised a boat tour along the Isar, this would the second I had joined, including an overnight camp on the river bank halfway along the route, and promised to be as good as the first. We met in Munich and took the BOB train down to Lenngries where a bus brought us to a bridge over the Isar where we could assemble our various boats and set off down the river. The group was a healthy mix of young and old, male and female, and I knew about half of the people who had turned up for the trip, it was good to see old friends and to meet new ones with a shared interest. We stripped off as we built our boats, amidst some mildy amused remarks from the other, more traditionally clothed, boaters around about. A student journalist accompanied us for most of the first day to write an article about the tour, and although she remained clothed, (this was the first naked trip she had ever been on), she was very friendly and blended with the group nicely. The sky was still cloudy but the was sun just beginning to break through as we set off along the river. We spent the day drifting and rowing down down the river, with a slight head wind, with the foothills of the alps gently passing by on either side of us. At the same time we periodically passed bunches of people sunbathing and splashing about in family groups on the banks of the river, occasionally being passed by sleeker and faster canoes. As the day wore on the clouds dissipated and the sun came out and we passed more and more groups of swimmers and paddlers. Everyone was very friendly, whether they were dressed in swimsuits, or bikini-bottoms, or naked, didn't seem to matter much. We rowed and drifted along until we arrived at a short resting place, where we picked up a film crew from the local TV station, before heading on to Little Cairo. Little Cairo is a stretch of river where a drop-out has lived for many years, and he seems to spend his time building piled up cones of stones, into circular pyramidal shapes. Apparently his src is Karl Kaiser and while he's clearly not "bring home to meet the folks" material, he's a bit of a local celebrity, while remaining suitably eccentric. The TV interviewer, when I suggested that she join us, declined saying that she thought a clothed person would spoil the effect. I disagree, actually, and contend that a mixed group, of ages, sexes or coverings, is actually a good thing. Too often have the traditional nudists laid down the law and said everyone must be naked together, period, just as the textiles say everyone must be clothed together, period. I maintain that a mixed group means just that, mixed of race, creed, colour, dresscode, tattooed or not, pierced or not, it just shouldn't matter. The clothed journalist who accompanied us, as mentioned above, fitted into the group very well, as a case in point. You'll notice in the photos that various of us donned t-shirts, or suitable cover, against the very strong sun in the middle of the day, there was no suggestion that they should then leave the group - what a crazy idea. We all had a fun day, mostly naked for sure, but having a nice day out was the main point of the exercise all the same. After a break for a late lunch, we paddled on and it was just after crossing a portage point, to get around a weir, that my boat was holed by a stray stone. We sunk immediately with a slice 12 cm long in the front of the boat, fortunatley for Tania and I, just behind us came three helpful Germans in a boat made for six. So we were offered a ride and gratefully accepted. There were several places where we had to wade to take the weight out of the boat, so as to get over the low lying stones which had holed us in the first place, otherwise we made good time and caught the others up quite quickly. Next we had a redistribution of boats, and Tania went to paddle with Alex, and Berno and I too over the pantoffeln, (the aptly src d big slipper), and tiresomely rowed this for the rest of the day together. It was useful having too many boats because some could be used for transporting supplies, and this had the added benefit of providing spare boats in the case of a holing disaster like mine. This stretch of river had been somewhat underestimated by the planning group, and we paddled on and on, into the evening in search of our camping place. Unfortunately because half the sleeping bags and the food had been left at a particular place in advance, this was our target for the day, and it just never seemed to arrive. So instead of stopping wherever we felt like it and leisurely camping out somewhere convenient, we had to keep on paddling seemingly without stop. Eventually, darkness fell and because we had really no idea as to how far ahead the others were, or where the campsite was, the two boats at the back of the line, Berno and I, and Bernie and Birgi, had to pull over onto a small islet and make camp alone. It was fortunate for us that we had our camping equipment with us and could stop wherever we chose, the others, even though they were ahead of us and did just manage to reach the campsite before the light failed would have had serious problems if they had been in our shoes, or boats. Even though we were a bit peeved at having not been able to join the rest of the team at the campsite, Bernie lit a small fire, which had a wild and homely warming feel to it all at once, and we shared some sausage and cheese and a little red wine. Pretty soon we'd wrapped up in our sleeping bags on the pebbled beach, and were really fairly comfortable. The stars came out in that special way when you're a little way out from the light pollution from the cities, and all the black space between the usual stars, which you can see from your bedroom window and know the more obvious constellations of from star charts, were filled with myriad more, and the sky was lit with a distant brightness.
We slept well and after a somewhat slow and late departure, grumble grumble, we paddled on down the river and after about a half hour rejoined the others to the sound of much cheering and jollity. The second day went much the same as the first with us paddling on, and drifting along, the scenery becoming less hilly and flatter as we got nearer to Munich city, and of course we started to meet more and more people too on this sunny Sunday. At one point, Mike became entangled in a tree and capsized, in part because his ballast (the lovely Tara) had gone to paddle with Alex and his weight distribution was all wrong thus making the boat very difficult to steer. All his kit fell out of the boat, including his camera and shoes. He was very lucky, as the camera was in a case which also contained his sister's car keys and this was in a waterproof case which although it floated off down the river, ostensibly never to be seen again, was actually picked up by a rafting crew not two hundred metres downstream. We thanked them profusely and continued on our way, paddling along like naked beginners in our inflatable bath toys, while they stormed on down river in full wetsuits, helmets and life-jackets. They were, in contrast to us, a slightly incongruous sight, and we to them no doubt too. All the same, they were very friendly and gave us a demonstration of writing an overturned inflatable boat, amidst their throwing of crew members overboard just to practice bringing them back on board and saving them. It was most entertaining. Eventually, Tara and I decided to bail out at 1600, as I wanted to spend some time this evening with the family, and we were within a kilometer of passing an S-Bahn train station, leaving Alex to dispose of my boat at a suitable rubbish dump, and the team to enjoy the rest of the day paddling onwards into the sunset. The weather had been extraordinarily good with two days of blisteringly hot sunshine during the tour, followed on the Monday morning by some serious rain, we couldn't have requested more accomodating weather conditions. Oh, and to cap it all, on the Sunday evening I managed to watch Spain beat Germany 1-0 in a very tight European 2008 Football Cup final, televised out of the Ernst-Happel Stadium in Vienna, where I'd joined the Spencer Tunick naked shoot the month before. A perfect weekend!