Archive for 03/07/2013

Gunfleet Wind Farm Sea Paddle

On the last friday evening in June as most of the club were in there cars on there way to the Alps. Myself, Steve D and another Steve (B) from Chelmsford CC were loading our boats at Tollesbury Hard for a long awaited sea trip. We were aiming for a 8 nautical paddle with the out-going tide to Coln Bar. We made it there in a leasurly two and a half hours with a visit from our first seal of the trip on the way. On landing between the two large arrows signs pointing towards the another large sign in the middle saying “Landing permitted between arrows” we decided to take full advantage of this sign as a wind break and didnt we need it. Steve D and I pitched the tarp as a lean-to over the sign and Steve B used a normal tent! About an hour after we had landed a big squall blew in so a disition was made to go to bed and hide from it, that was a rough nights sleep.

Saturday morning 6am a brew on with porage for breakfast, the wind had swung from a easterly to a south-easterly over night but was still strong. During breakfast we disgust our options if the wind didnt drop but thankfully by 9 as we were getting on the water it had eased enough. On the dropping tide we picked our way over the shallow gravel over the Coln Bar and headed towards Jaywick. Two miles short of Jaywick we set our course for 120 degrees aiming for the west side of the wind farm. With the wind on our backs we made good progress with a visit from another seal and a snack stop by 10:30 we were about a mile away, but with the wind still pushing us out a desition was made to turn for Bradwell. The tide was now starting to flod and the power station looked a long way away about 9-10 nautical miles. Setting a coures for 270 the wind had dropper thankfully, so with the tidal assistance we managed to run aground on St Peters flats within two hours with about a mile to go. After a leg strech snack stop on a gravel bar and a bit of fish spooking (one fish hit Steve D’s boat much to our amusment), the tide had put more water under us and we paddled around to the wave breakers just north of St Peters on the wall chaple. The wave breakers consist of 11 old steal barges sunk in a line as sea defences. On realalising there was a lot of mud between us and the sea wall, we were back in the boats heading NW around the corner for the beach/camp.

Once pitched we took a walk around to St Peters chaple one of the oldest known Saxon chaples in britan. By this time the wind had dropped the sun was out and it was warming up nicely, on the walk back the tide was well in and Steve D decided to cross a small inlet accross the beach and dropped into the water upto his pants thats one way to wash out your boots!

Camp fire well alight (Boots drying) spuds in foil cooking in the embers, beans, sausages, bannack bread and a bottle of beer each on the menu. After the rough 1st night and the fresh air we were in bed as it was before dark (no Banjo playing this time). Also we had to get on the water by 07:30 to get back to Tollesbury by 9am to be picked up by Marina our weekend bank support.

A Great weekend was had by all