Rating Bodies of Water: Part 1

Evaluating bodies of water that surround our communities is an important way to understand how our relationship with nature. Thus, I will be creating a subjective report of lakes and rivers, based on randomized suggestions and a criteria filled purely based on my preferences.

Initially, I was going to rank all 10 bodies of water in one post, but because research is taking much longer than I predicted (and I have a lot more opinions about bodies of water than I imagined), I am going to split this post into two parts.


  1. Generate 5 lakes via https://www.bestrandoms.com/random-lake
  2. Generate 5 rivers via https://www.getrandomthings.com/list-rivers.php
  3. Do research on all lakes and rivers, then rank them based on the following criteria:
    • Size
    • Swimmability
    • Visit-ability (Ease of access from YVR)


Here are the ten bodies of water that I got:


  • Amazon river
  • Nile
  • Padma River
  • Mahanadi
  • Arkansas River


  • Lake Martin
  • Flathead Lake
  • Lake Erie
  • Lake Pend Oreille
  • Lake Chelan


1. Amazon river


Size: 5/5

Counts for 1/5th of the world’s river flow. Quite big.

Swimmability: 1/5

While a quick google search online tells me there are spots along the river that are safe to swim in, I’m not sure if I’d take the chance because of other articles warning me of poisonous animals and plants that reside in the Amazon River, and also because of piranhas. Another factor is the possibility of catching a waterborne illness – it seems swimming in the river comes with a risk of catching cholera or typhoid fever.

Ease of access from Vancouver (visitability): 3/5

To get to the Amazons, I’d most likely fly from Vancouver to Manaus airport – I didn’t know this, but it seems like I’d have to go through Florida no matter what to arrive. While it wouldn’t be the most difficult trip in particular, even just looking at flights is a little discouraging, as the fasted possible route I could find takes about 23 hours, and the least amount of layovers I could find was 2

There are definitely worse options out there:

but I’m not particularly a fan of layovers, so I’m not sure if a flight to the Amazon would be my first choice if I were to plan a trip to a body of water.

2. Lake martin


Size: 3/5

Again, not much to say about it. Looks like a sizable river, and if we had one of these in Vancouver, it would be pretty impressive. The overall zigzag shape makes it confusing to judge, however.

Swimmability: 3/5

Lake Martin has a website dedicated to showing people whether it’s safe to swim in it or not. The concept is straightforward:

“Our Lake Watch test results are displayed in Swim Guide as easy-to-interpret icons: GREEN for safe – go swimming, and RED for not safe – stop and consider swimming elsewhere since the water is contaminated with E. coli.”

However, when it comes to using the actual map, the icons are neither red nor green, nor is it any colour in between, making it difficult to judge how one’s day would end should they decide to go swimming in this lake.

Based on the fact that there are no dangerous currents and no dangerous animals, however, I would still give the swimmability of this lake a 3 despite the possible risk of E. coli. This score may increase if the map is improved so that it fulfills its intended function.

Ease of access from Vancouver (visitability): 3/5
  • it’s in alabama
Overall: 1/5

Its shape is grossing me out, plus its website leaves much to be desired. But other than that, it’s got a machine gun lodge near one of its shores, which strongly discourages me from visiting simply as that is terrifying.

3. Nile

Size: 5/5


Longest river in the world

Swimmability: 1/5

Since the Nile is so long, I decided to look for points along the river where it might have been safe to swim in. However, news outlets and blogs alike discourage people from swimming anywhere in the Nile river due to risks of water-borne illnesses and dangerous wildlife.

I could find pieces of evidence that people, locals perhaps, maybe used to swim in the Nile river: Nile Swimmers was an organization in Sudan that aimed to lessen cases of drowning by teaching children how to swim. This organization however has been forced to disband due to the war in their country.

Although maaaaaaaybe locals who live in the right spots along the Nile may swim in it, the only reason that I would like to give the overall swimmability of the Nile a low rating out of five is because as an outsider, I would not have the means to know how to safely navigate the river if at all.

4. Flathead lake

Size: 4/5

It’s hard to wrap my head around how big this lake is – Vancouver is maybe just a third of its size. It leaves a little to be desired in comparison to the rivers we have compared so far, which is the only reason why I deduct a point.

Swimmability: 5/5

Not only is Flathead Lake swimmable, but it’s an encouraged activity. The website copy speaks for itself on how excited they are about it.

Flathead Lake in northwest Montana is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi; slightly larger than Lake Tahoe at 27.3 mi. long, 15.5 mi. wide, and max depth of 370.7 ft..  As one of the cleanest in the world, Flathead Lake is perfect for OPEN WATER SWIMMING!  No sharks, no jellyfish, and no lane lanes…just clear, clean, and crisp water!https://flowswimmers.com/#:~:text=Become%20One%20with%20the%20Water,perfect%20for%20OPEN%20WATER%20SWIMMING!

Its average surface temperature during the summer is an alleged 20 degrees celcius as well, making it slightly cooler than lakes in B.C. by about 2 degrees, which is also appealing, just a bit.

Ease of access from Vancouver (visitability): 4/5

There are several direct flights available from Vancouver to Montana – including one to Kalispell Airport, which is right next to Flathead lake, which makes it an incredibly easy trip. The only downside is that most of the options are from United airlines, my least favourite airline.

Overall: 4/5

There are many positives to look at here – Flathead lake is a huge lake with some enthusiastic folks running the website, topped off with a relatively easy trip from Vancouver. However, I just could not see myself giving a perfect score to this lake – there is just something missing that gives Flathead the ‘wow’ factor to push it from a 4 to a 5.

To be continued

So far, while the Amazon river, the Nile, and the two lakes in America have been fun to research, I’m not sure I’ve fallen in love with any of these bodies of water yet. In the next post, we will be looking at the Padma River, the Mahanadi, the Arkansas River, Lake Erie, Lake Pend Oreille, and Lake Chelan.






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