When I was training, many years ago, on a dragon boat team, the coach warned us not to swallow the water of the Keelung River.
The problem wasn’t so much that you might drink the stuff. Nor was it a problem of falling in and being submerged and saturated head to toe, or the fact that water would slosh over the side and into the boat and soak your feet. The real problem was that when you plunged your oar into the river, pulled the oar toward you to sustain the forward momentum of the boat, then drew the blade of the oar skyward out of the water and thrust it forward in preparation for the next cycle, the river water would splash up and spatter your face.
You didn’t need to have been drenched, you didn’t need to have been doused. Just the tiny droplets of water spraying onto your face and your mouth would be enough to cause you to accidentally ingest some water.
Photo: Perry Svensson, Taipei Times
That was almost two decades ago. Back then, it was definitely not advisable to swallow the river water; you might easily contract a stomach bug by doing so.
I’ve heard that the river has been cleaned up since. It’s much safer now should you accidentally ingest some river water. But I still wouldn’t recommend drinking it.
(Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)
Photo: Perry Svensson, Taipei Times
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