After a lot of chat on FB messenger on the lead up to the weekend three of us decided to paddle from Bradwell to Colne Point. The wind and tide wasn’t going to be in our favour SE F4 and an ebb tide helped us along our way.
We made excellent progress but were very aware of the strengthening wind and the increasing swell, so decided to paddle until the tide turned (LW Bradwell 11:15), which put us in spitting distance of Colne Point!
Making our way back the swell had increased with 1 – 2′ waves and the relentless wind, however, we made really good progress. It was a lot of fun bashing through the waves, a couple of yacths decided to furl their sails and revert to motoring and a lone windsurfer was buzzing us going from Mersea Island to Sails Point at incredible speed.
We arrived at the entrance to Bradwell Marina, and since we had got there much earlier than expected decided to go around the baffle at the entrance only to spot a very angry looking pigeon sitting on the baffle top.
It turned out to be a perigrine Falcon, and he/she didn’t look very happy at us paddling in its hunting ground.
Going back into Bradwell Marina an unhappy yacthsman and his crew were well and truly grounded at the entrance, scratching their heads whilst waiting for the tide to fill in. Thanks to Adrian (MAD cc) and James for a great couple of hours on the water.
Submitted by John H 180818
A mixed bunch of eleven kayakers from BCC, MAD, and Braintree CC set off from Dovercourt, Harwich to paddle the backwaters and see the seals. Leaving the north sea and entering a small inlet was like stepping/paddling into a different world, very quiet and serene. The tide carried us through the maze of waterways to the seals laire, big rusty beasties sunbathing on the mud.
The seal sightseeing boat came around a bend and stole our private veiwing of our blubbery friends, so it was onwards and forwards against a strong southerly wind F4, punching our way to the main channel to join the ranks of the sailing boats out enjoying themselves. Sorry no pictures of the seals as my camera lens got water on it and blurred the lot! We stopped off at Stone Point for lunch and watched the very strong tidal race play havoc with the big motor launches making their way to the Marina.
It was then time to make our way home, we paddled across the estuary to the sunken barges, avoiding the main tidal race and rejoined the North Sea. Eleven very happy kayakers would like to thank Barry I for organising this trip.
The River Stour was the venue for the open boat training, with everyone meeting at 10 ish at at the put in point, Nayland. With boats unloaded, recce of the area done, pre brief completed it was time to take to the water. A short trip up the river to a suitable area for one to one training and some serious practice.
Then the trip started in earnest through the tunnel going under the Horkesely Road A134 to our first obstacle a fallen tree blocking the whole river. The sensible ones portaged via the river bank and some decided to go tree climbing.
On wards and forwards to the box weir where again a portage was necessary.
Jill ran the weir, and the rest of us cheered her on. It was then a bit more practice in the faster flowing water at the bottom of the weir before heading up a small creek leading us to our get out point. The creek was good fun and for those who had punting poles the going was easy.
Really good day on the water, everyone learnt something, and we all went home with big happy smiles on our faces.
Submitted by John Vice Chairman 260318
New waters they asked for, so off we went to the Isle of Sheppey. During my research on maps, charts and good old Google earth for appropriate car parks and launch sites I came across the words “Grain Tower” on my OS map. A Youtube search later I decided that this will be part of our trip.
The large free car park at Barton’s Point became our chosen launch and landing beach. With the need to cross the Medway shipping channel I decided to go North, out to the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery so we could have a clear line of sight for any on-coming shipping. Being a Sunday there wasn’t much traffic apart from the pilot boat no 4 passing us twice and a small freighter but being to the north of the channel they weren’t too much of a worry for us. Grain tower was now in our sights about a mile away, with the flood tide it took us no time at all. With a rising tide, getting out of the boats and onto the tower was a slight challenge the only option we had was to tye the boats off. The main tower is a Martello tower 1855 with additions from WW1 and WW2 as a defensive position on the Thames and Medway. Being that the youngest parts of the structure are over 70 years old its evident that the elements and vandalism have taken their toll, Enter at your own risk!
Getting back into the boats was even more of a challenge with the tide now 1mtr higher and flowing much faster through our get-in point. Good practice though, it can’t be easy for them all the time but we managed. After finding the lost paddle down the tide, we continued our journey into the Medway. Passing Deadmans island we landed on an old gun emplacement on Burntwick island for a late lunch at High water. The return journey was much quicker with a fast running ebb tide past Sheerness docks.
As we approached our get-out a Coastguard pick-up arrived. Coastguard: Q “did you guys call it in”? Us “what”? Coastguard “That big log” pointing at a 4mtr jetty post 100mtrs out. I wasn’t sure what they were going to do without a boat. Thinking let’s help them out “we might need there help one day” Mark and I went out and towed the huge heavy lump in (and the log) and helped them drag it up the beach, sorry no photos I was too busy. I did manage to get a picture of Mark’s failed roll and swim though, sorry Mark sticker on its way. Roughly 22km paddled with tidal assistance most of the way, “makes a change”.
Fantastic weather, great company, thanks for my breakfast and lunch-breakfast rolls Andy. Experiences gained. 4 out and 4 back safe and smiling. Thanks for your company guys. This trip will be revisited I’m sure.
Paddlers: Andy E, Mike D, Mark B and Me Barry I. 18/02/18
Submitted by Barry I Events Officer 18/02/018