The Great River Adventure for FNE Explorers

As in the days of Lord Baden-Powell at his first adventures with his boys on Brownsea Island so many years ago, today use your imagination and Explorer skills as together we build a great raft to sail down the mighty river. We will hoist our own flag, explore new found lands, climb great river banks only accessible from the water, to find the treasure that our leaders have left for us, and to enjoy a great feast (called lunch) at the side of the never ending flowing river!

We can dress as savages (with life jackets on of course), use our custom made paddles to help steer our mighty ship (really a home made raft) while keeping the River beasts of the deep jungle at bay. Robert will be our Captain, Jonathan our first mate, and Frank along with Eric as our trusty river guides.

But before we can embark on such an adventure we need to build our great ship (raft), with help from our leaders and perhaps even a parent or two we can use our well earned Explorer skill sets to create this masterpiece! For the daring, determined and hard working Explorers out there here are a few suggestions as how to make your raft not only come together, but also to effectively sail the river. Note – under no circumstances is a raft to be used in or near fast flowing water, white water, or rapids - safety for all must always be first and foremost!

When using wood make as few cuts as possible in the logs so that the raft will remain buoyant, this will measurably increase the stability of the raft as you float down the river! By using wood from dead trees or trees that are approved for harvesting cut 12 to 14 thick sturdy logs of equal length. The cut an additional six logs that are 30 cm longer in length as these logs will be used as retainers to hold the raft together. Using a large knife cut a notch along the whole length of each of the retaining logs while leaving 30 cm uncut at each end. These notches should be about half the depth of each log. Please make sure that each notch is reasonable level and of the same depth.

Now lay the two notched logs carved face upwards as these will form the base. Now carefully start laying the long logs between these two supports to form the deck of your might ship! (raft). Now lay each end of the long poles into the notches of the support logs, but remember always start from the outside ends of the raft and then move towards the centre of the raft! If you have planned it right, the last long in the middle should be a nice tight fit to help keep the raft together. Now place the last two notched logs carved face down across the raft on top of all the deck logs! These logs will act as a retainer and is a critical piece in keeping your great ship intact.

Now we get into some series rope work, first make sure that the two retaining logs at each end are firmly bound together, and we do mean firmly, no sloppy rope work can be done here! Keep the knots face up at the top of the raft so that they can be adjusted if need be once the raft is in the water. Now lash together the retaining logs on both sides of the deck using square knots (also known as a reef knot). If time and rope supplies allow it is also a good idea to lash into place each of the length way logs. You can install a rudder, but space will not allow us to explain the how in detail. Remember to build your raft close to slow flowing water so that you can slide it into the water. Go, have fin and explore the great outdoors as only an FNE EXPLORER can!


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