Last Thursday at dawn I fell from a boat into a lake in northeastern Småland.

Sadly I have form when it comes to tumbling from a tinny.

A few years ago in Australia I ended up in the Tuross River while I was fishing with my niece’s husband, Jack.

This time I ended up in Ålsjön – Eel Lake – while I was trying to retrieve a basket full of crayfish with Peter from Tofvehult, a great little guesthouse in Gunnebo.

My task had seemed simple enough.

Reach out from the back of the boat and grab the yellow plastic float that was attached to the rope that was attached to the basket that was full of writhing crayfish.

But each time I tried the float bobbed a little further out of reach. 

I stretched. And I stretched.

Then suddenly the top half of me was over the back of the boat and under water, far enough in so I couldn’t lever myself back up.

Dawn on Ålsjön (Eel Lake)
A bucket full of crayfish (Peter Moore)
Peter from Tofvehult (Lynn Houghton)
A Swedish crayfish (Peter Moore)

Thankfully Peter dragged me back in before I had to slither into the lake and get completely wet.

Or succumb to the siren call of the Näcken, the naked underwater violin players who lure people to a watery death in this part of the world.

Peter hadn’t noticed me go under at first. He was busy chatting with another travel writer, Lynn, about venison.

He admitted later that he had considered taking a photo of my bum sticking up in the air before rescuing me.

I told him he should have.

Lena presents a plate of crayfish (Jenny Engström)
Birch schnapps (Peter Moore)
Finished crayfish (Peter Moore)
Dressed for the occasion (Peter Moore)

The night before we had enjoyed a Late Summer Crayfish Party at the cottage.

We wore crayfish-themed party hats and bibs and Peter’s wife Lena served up a steaming plate of crayfish.

Each crayfish was toasted with a shot of schnapps and a traditional folksong.

I’d like to think that at future crayfish parties at Tofvehult a song will be sung about the crazy Aussie travel writer who fell into Eel Lake.

I’d certainly drink to that.

More information

Tofvehult – a way of life – is a fantastic guesthouse set in a historic cottage in northeast Småland in Sweden. It is run by Peter and Lena who truly make you feel at home. You’ll enjoy hearty meals, a traditional sauna, (with a view) and plenty of places to hike and boat and generally just soak up the serenity. They also offer self-contained cottages in the heart of a forest.

Website: STF Tofvehult

Address: Tofvehult 3, 593 74 Gunnebo

Phone: +46 702926351 

Email: lenaitofvehult@gmail.com

Main image: Me, moments after I was dragged out of Eel Lake (Lynn Houghton)