My daughter's an experienced river and lake swimmer, so I was proud to be guided this hot month on a three-hour, 5km swim in the River Orb from Ceps to Roquebrun - including some exciting feet-first trips into the rapids. Thanks to her, I picked up a fair amount of 'water-craft'.
This stretch of river is used by groups in kayaks, so we were rarely alone in the water. Especially in the sections where we had to step carefully through water too shallow for swimming, on rocks too slippery for confident wading.
Swimming in moving water can be like gently coasting downhill on a bike - effortless, silent, exhilarating. Halfway down, I was suddenly a playful seal: in tune with my element; totally at ease; rolling onto my back to ride the soft current; suppressed laughter bubbling inside.
My greatest discovery is obvious in hindsight: the river surface may be flat; its bed, not at all. Water finds the easy course - sometimes you're squeezing over flat rock trying to avoid knuckle contact - at others, you drift suspended over seemingly-bottomless ravines.
I'll never visit a river now without this memory - guessing what secrets are smuggled beneath its cloak.