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Cheeky Friday 19th April

A few pictures from Friday 19th April evening paddle Hoe Mill to Beeleigh Link. Lots of pictures of Liz’s new boat!

Woolacoombe Surf Weekend May 2019

The Boys (and Girls) are back in town – Woolacombe Surf weekend May bank Holiday 2019.

EYES SHUT
NOT PAYING ATTENTION
MUCKING AROUND

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!

Hoe Mill to Rushes Weir wild open boat paddle 10th March 2019

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.

James, “I’ve not done this before” Rushes Weir.

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.

Kevin and Barry. Kevin’s new tactic was to stand up and blow into the 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.

Kevin, with red sail already to fly.
Submitted by John H 120319

My First ‘Wild’ Sea Kayaking Trip

Date Sunday 10/02/2019
Time on Water 13:30 – 16:30 Hours
Launch Location Marconi Sailing Club, Steeple, Essex
Weather Conditions Overcast with Intermittent Rain Showers
Air Temperature 6°C
Approx. Water Temperature 2°C
Wind Speed Force 5, Gusting at Force 7
Wind Direction W NW
Sunrise 07:19
Sunset 17:02
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)

AGM

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’.

Kayaking Kit

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.

Embarkation

Waiting for the Off..

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.

Sea Kayaking

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’.

Chuffed!

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!

Drysuit!

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.

Seal

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.

Approaching ‘East Point’

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.

Tea Stop
Bite to Eat

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.

Packing Up

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!

Steve
Kevin
Mike D
On Our Way Home

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…

Paul.

Ready for the Next Paddle!

Submitted by Paul_C on 13/02/19

Winter Wild Camp 1-2nd Dec 2018

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!

Liz

Surfin’ training at Old Felixstowe 25 Nov 2018

Sunday saw Kevin, Barry, Liz and me having a play off of Old Felixstowe in the surf zone. It was a first time for Liz and me in this area. We were told that the surf would start off small and get bigger, in fact it was the other way round. Paddling beyond the sandbank finger saw us in a nice steady swell 6 – 9ft at a guess, boats were disappearing in between the troughs, so enough to practice on and get the adrenalin flowing, at least for me. After a while I took a break on the shingle sand bank at the mouth of the Debden. Very interesting to watch the surf line change by the minute as the tide turned. Very fast flowing volume of water. Anyway, the pictures don’t do it justice, but it was really good practice. Zoom in on the photos to get a better look.

…..”When it started with 2 metre high waves, I was thinking bloody Hell! How high will they be when it get’s big. Definitely an interesting place to paddle. Had some fun trying the deep diggity dig at the end” …Liz

 

Submitted by John H 261118

Bradwell to Colne Point (almost) Saturday 18 August 2018

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

Walton backwaters Sunday 12 August 2018

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.

 

Pictures from a Busy weekend of Paddling

Fridays evening paddle from Heybridge Basin through Northey island up to Maldon Hyth Quey and return to a short mud walk, oops!

Saturdays Evening/Night paddle from Old Felixstowe to Woodbridge and return. Great paddle with 8 paddlers in total.

And Maldon Triathlon safety boat cover early on Sunday Morning, with Clive, Mark and paddlers from other clubs.

 

Pictures from Summer wild camp 2018