The Canyon Lake swim route was far more convoluted than Saguaro. Imagine a squiggly snake. Just like that. In fact, kind of the same shape as the rattlesnake that crossed the finish line a minute before I did.
Honestly, I was too tired at the end of this swim to react to the snake. The crew asked me to give the snake a wide berth, and swim around the boat. After a 3 hr 53 minute swim, I thought the last 10 metres would finish me off.
We took a very fancy speedboat from a marina through the canyon to our staging area. Great trip, but unlike other long swims I've done (eg Rottnest), it means that you see the whole course before swimming it. And it's a bloody long way. It's really quite intimidating.
At the staging area we spent a couple of hours setting up the kayaks, applying sunscreen, avoiding bitey insects. It's quite a long wait in the sun, but ferrying 100 people 10km takes time, and everyone knows that it's a matter of "hurry up and wait". By day 2, I learnt to adjust my feed preparation to make sure that I kept up my fluids and energy levels in the 3-4 hrs between breakfast and swimming.
Although it was around the same distance as Saguaro (around 12.5km), I found day 2 a lot harder. There was quite a lot of wash from boats bouncing off the canyon walls, my shoulders were tired and I struggled by half way, but a warm Milo and stroopwafel provided a bit of a boost.
The water was quite cold. I'm not sure it would have been above 16c at the start, but warmed up to 19c shortly afterwards.
After the swim we headed up to Apache Lake - a tough drive on dirt roads, only to arrive at a motel that has an awful reputation amongst SCAR alumni, and the worst TripAdvisor reviews I've ever seen. My rock bottom expectations set me in good stead.