A few pictures from Friday 19th April evening paddle Hoe Mill to Beeleigh Link. Lots of pictures of Liz’s new boat!
The Boys (and Girls) are back in town – Woolacombe Surf weekend May bank Holiday 2019.
Woolacombe Surfing was a very well attended event, with soloist’s and family groups all camping, drinking, eating, sight seeing and of course surfin’ including a lone board surfer! The weather was really kind to us, shorts and T shirt for the very brave, and for the water babies, wet suits and cheesy grins all round. The waves were averaging 3 – 4 foot with the odd big ‘un (well they looked big to me – I will call these paddle faster waves.) Pictures of the weekend will be on the Blog page in due course. Many of club members have already booked for next year. Saturday night saw us all BBQing and smoking out the Andies tent (Andy and Andie were camping next to one another and as I type this, it really reads wrong! Anyway here’s a group shot of the happy campers
Yes 3 photos because some of us weren’t paying attention – eyes shut, looking the wrong way, camera shy? or just mucking around! A really enjoyable weekend was had by all. So next year, rather than stay at home digging your roses for the bank holiday, try surfing instead!
Setting off from Sheppey travelling to the south of the shipping lanes using channel marker Buoys for navigation. With viability down to less than 100 metres at some points, fog horns on ships we never saw, trusting the compass bearing from weigh points and timing distances covered. Catching first sight of the towers when we were just 200 metres away from them. On our return, having to call a ship who was out of the marked shipping channel on the VHF radio to ask if he was intending to mow us down. It was certainly a trip to remember.
Some pictures of Fridays evening paddle. After a bit of a debate of whether to go up stream or down stream, we decided on the Jungle Run,.
Submitted by John H 130419
It was windy, very windy. As I was unloading my open boat and pushing under the fence at Hoe Mill lock the telegraph pole I was standing beside shook violently, followed by a big cracking sound, and a tree, 30 feet from me fell down , blocking the whole road. Wow, so pleased I wasn’t standing beside that, or that my van wasn’t under it. 10 minutes later the rest of the Open boaters started to arrive and all parked under very old trees, and after a quick rethink, the penny dropped and then they re parked away from the trees. Happy bunnies. James and I went two up in my OB, and Barry and Kevin R, the die hards, paddled solo – oh regret on their behalf.
Lets say that the desired direction of travel and side of the river wasn’t always happening due to the very strong F6 – F8! winds. Serious boat trimming went on amongst our solo paddlers.
The intrepid duo didn’t suffer half as much. Somewhere along the way Barry got out and walked, then paddled. Kevin moored up and joined Barry, and later Barry Kevin and James all joined together and then James went solo, Kevin joined with John, Barry was on his loansome.
Hope you’re keeping up with this. Rushes Weir came into sight and after a quick play in the wier, we had a break.
It was then Sail paddles up and away we went back to Hoe Mill. James and I took off at a great pace with the wind filling the sail paddle.
Kevin had varying degrees of success, although appeared to be scooping more water than wind. Eventually Barry and Kevin rafted up and they managed to get going under sail.
Getting back to Hoe Mill didn’t take long at all. Really good fun in seriously windy conditions, this was followed by a pint in the pub afterwards. Thanks to my fellow paddlers, James, Barry and Kevin R.
Submitted by John H 120319
|Time on Water||13:30 – 16:30 Hours|
|Launch Location||Marconi Sailing Club, Steeple, Essex|
|Weather Conditions||Overcast with Intermittent Rain Showers|
|Approx. Water Temperature||2°C|
|Wind Speed||Force 5, Gusting at Force 7|
|Wind Direction||W NW|
|Osea Island Tide Times:|
|High Water||03:28 (5.10m)|
|Low Water||09:04 (0.50m)|
|High Water||15:48 (4.90m)|
|Low Water||21:11 (0.90m)|
Having joined Bramston Canoe Club in September last year, I had been attending regular Monday night pool sessions, patiently waiting for my first trip out in the wild. As it happened, this turned out to be the post AGM sea paddle last Sunday.
I had been planning for this trip for the past few weeks, and steadily building up paddling kit since the start of the New Year.
The weather was not ideal for my first ever paddle, let alone sea paddle, and was cloudy, windy, wet and cold. I had been watching the weather, and the wind was blowing from the W NW, force 5, gusting to force 7. I had a feeling that this was not going to be a ‘walk-in-the-park’ or indeed a ‘paddle-on-a-pond’!
So at 09:00 hours, I set off from my home in Chelmsford, to the Marconi Sailing Club in Steeple, which was the chosen venue for my inaugural BCC Annual General Meeting, and later on, first ever paddle. I arrived at 09:45, on time for the start of the meeting at 10:00 hours.
The meeting was well attended, and after a productive few hours putting the World, or rather ‘BCC Business’ to rights, the time had come for me to finally earn my kayaking ‘dolphins’.
I returned to my car to collect my plethora of newly acquired kayaking kit, which I lugged back to the club house to get changed (whilst thinking ‘I must find a better system for carrying all this gear!’). After climbing into my giant thermal Babygro, getting into my clearly brand new drysuit and donning my buoyancy aid and spray deck, I was ready to go kayaking!
I was greeted at the launching point by Barry, Kevin, John, Andy E, Steve, James W, Mike D, Andy B and Liz who were all looking excited and raring to go.
After a quick safety briefing, Barry and Kevin explained what would be happening and where we would be going. The plan was for a crossing from the Sailing Club to the South shore of Osea Island, followed by a circumnavigation, a quick cuppa stop, and then a passage back to the Sailing Club and dry land.
As I got into my boat, and Kevin helped me to secure my spray deck, I could feel my excitement, and anxiety building. I was about to embark on my first ever sea kayaking trip! Barry pushed me carefully into the rising tide, and I was away. The prevailing wind was making the conditions rather ‘lumpy’ and it took me a while to relax and start breathing properly. Barry was talking to me the whole time, and before I realised it, we were halfway through the initial crossing to Osea Island. After adjusting to the rising and falling motion of the waves, I was now starting to rather enjoy the feeling of bobbing up and down.
We were soon approaching the South shore of Osea, and I was informed by Barry that we would be ‘hand-railing’ around the shoreline. As I looked back into the distance, towards where we had launched, I felt rather chuffed with myself that I’d managed to get all the way across and had remained ‘right-way-up’.
As we made our way along the coastline, everyone was giving me useful advice, and making sure I was okay. As I had already come to know, the friendship and camaraderie of BCC was second-to-none!
Before long we approached the West end of Osea Island and it was here that I was about to learn why a ‘drysuit’ was called a drysuit! As I tried to turn my boat to continue around the island, the wind caught me, and over I went!
My weeks of pool training paid off, and whilst capsized I followed the drill and banged loudly on the bottom of my boat three times, proceeded to run both my hands either side of the boat waiting for my rescuer’s boat to brush my hands for a ‘T’ rescue. After I could hold my breath no longer, I realised that I was on my own and promptly pulled my deck, rolled forward and exited the boat.
Seconds later I bobbed up to the surface to be greeted by a smiling Kevin who had come to my rescue. He had been trying his best to get to me, but the wind had unfortunately hindered his progress.
After Kevin had bailed out my boat, and I had a couple of attempts at trying to re-enter my boat, I was back in, and soon continuing on my way. I had to get wet sometime, and it really wasn’t that bad. The drysuit and buoyancy aid did their jobs admirably, as did the ‘wet exits’ I had practiced many times in the pool training sessions.
We continued around the North shore of the island and were joined for a short period by a friendly seal who had come to check out the beginner kayaker, and see what all the commotion was about.
By this point we had been paddling for what must have been a couple of hours, and I was informed that we would soon be making a brief ‘tea’ stop at ‘East Point’ before our final approach back to Marconi Sailing Club. This was very welcome as my arms and legs were now starting to tire.
Tea & Ponchos
I trained my kayak close to the shoreline, and Liz who had already landed on the point, pulled me up onto the gravel bar and beached me. As I got out of my boat I grabbed my poncho, bread rolls and flask of tea from the rear hatch of my boat. It was so windy at this point that my poncho was flapping about like a Superhero’s cape (Kayak Man sprung to mind!), and James W came to assist me with securing the arm holes.
After enjoying my tea and rolls, we witnessed what must have been a few hundred geese flying over the mainland before packing away our ponchos and getting back into our boats for the final leg of our voyage.
I was now feeling refreshed, and ready to continue on my journey. The wind had dropped, and the waves calmed dramatically. By this point, the grey sky was starting to ‘blue-up’ and the sun just had time to make a brief appearance before starting to say goodbye for the day.
Back To Reality
As I paddled back across the channel to re-join the reality of a cold February Sunday afternoon, I reflected on what a thoroughly enjoyable, and inspiring day it had been. Great company, great scenery, great paddling and an experience that I will never forget!
Thank you to all the members of BCC that accompanied me on this trip, and for your help and advice. Special thanks go to Barry for the loan of his sea boat, his guidance and patience, and Kevin for rescuing me after my encounter with the river Blackwater’s finest!
Here’s to the next BCC paddle; I can’t wait!
Watch this space for my next expedition…
Submitted by Paul_C on 13/02/19
Lots of happy snaps were taken of the OB training day, which speak for themselves, a lot of fun and tree climbing, along with white water danger(?) ok, maybe that’s a bit over the top, anyway here are some more to oggle at.
posted Barry I 270119
Edited John H 040219
I had been anxiously monitoring the weather report all the week before my first Bramston Winter Wild camp, and every time I checked, the forecast was worse than the time before. On the Wednesday, I received an email circular, saying that one of the kayak instructors in the area had cancelled his weekend course due to the predicted extreme weather conditions. I was beginning to think that our trip may not happen, but Bramston kayakers are made of sterner stuff, and on Friday it was confirmed that we would meet at the unearthly time of 6:30 am at Heybridge Basin, to be on the water at 7:00.
We loaded our kayaks in the dark, and finally got on the water at about 07:20, just as it was beginning to get light. Led by Barry, with Andy B, Andy E, James, Alan, Roger, and me. The forecasted rain wasn’t there, and we had a nice easy paddle along the Blackwater Estuary to sales Point, with a force 4 not interfering with our progress. The conditions did not however look good for the planned 4 mile open crossing to Colne Point, and we decided to finish for the day at our camp site.
Having pitched our tents, some of the team got to work collecting firewood, until it began to rain. This was actually welcome, as it gave us the excuse to go to bed for a couple of hours, and catch up on our lost sleep. Two hours later, the rain had stopped, we got up, had some lunch, and walked along the sea wall to St. Peter’s on the Wall chapel, and collected more firewood on the way back.
The wood was soaking wet, and I was very impressed by Barry and his helpers ability to get a fire going on the beach. Dinner was cooked, and eaten, followed by an evening of drinking beer, wine, and comparing the contents of each others hip flasks, and some much larger bottles. Sitting there in the dark, fire crackling away, with some good company, and a warm feeling inside me, I felt no urge to cross the water to my nice warm bed on Mersea Island. The tide came in, and got within about 3 feet of the fire, then receded, as we looked across at all the pretty lights illuminating the Mersea foreshore.
We had a good lay in on the Sunday morning, eventually cooking our breakfasts, then packing out boats ready for the return paddle. We got on the water for 1 O’clock, and the paddle back would be a completely different affair to the day before. The wind was blowing force 5, and gusting higher, straight from the west, and in our faces, with no chance of shelter from the shore. The high wind was also holding back the tide, which should have turned, and I must admit, it was a bit of a struggle for me, but Barry and James stayed with me, and we finally got to Osea Island at about 4:00 pm, just as it was getting dark. Although this was probably the slowest time ever recorded for this journey, it didn’t matter, as we still had to wait up to 3 hours before the tide would be high enough to get back out at Heybridge Basin. However, Andy B had received a phone call to say that his daughter had been injured and was on her way to hospital, so he, accompanied by Roger, pressed on, and managed to find a way across the mud to the Heybridgeshore. Several hot drinks, and some food later, we decided that we would press on to Heybridge, and make alternative arrangements if the tide had not yet risen enough. The wind had now dropped quite a bit, making the night paddle back to Heybridge a highlight of the trip, with flocks of birds flying around us as we disturbed their resting spots on the water. When we got near to Heybridge, Mark, who driven all the way from Colchester, was waiting on the shore, and called us to say the water was high enough. The temperature on land was still a very warm for the time of year 15 deg C, and we were soon in the pub having a drink and discussing the events of the weekend.
Thanks to Barry for organizing and leading, and everyone else for their good company. I’m already looking forward to the next one!