The Sea: paddling in Chichester Harbour

A number of years back, I used to have boats, more specifically sailing dinghies. A GP14, followed by a Miracle. Jan hated all the ceremony and rigging and derigging that went with it. Not that she came along often. But I always found there was never a shortage of willing crew: people just love being invited to crew your boat, even if they know nothing about sailing (so you’d better be a good helm!).

So the dinghies went (a couple of years ago now), and 2 years back we bought the inflatable canoe/kayak in the photos below and elsewhere on this site. I had not previously considered going on the sea (Chichester Harbour is admittedly not really “the sea”, but it does make for great dinghy sailing, with all the tacking that is needed through the narrow channels before high tide.). And it took Rob (see below) to persuade me to do it. I was admittedly reluctant given the unknown of pulling against a strong tide without the benefit of a sail to help you.

Much more to be done on this but I (the bald one) and my friend Rob took out my inflatable kayak at the weekend. I had forgotten, but Rob’s interest in this was the location in the map below, which happened to be a geo-cache. Although we had the wind and tide against going out from Emsworth, it was actually pretty easy going. On reflection, part of the reason it was so easy was the shallowness of the water outside the main channel, which doesn’t give the tide much chance to get a proper grip.

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First paddle of the year

An Early start

After getting some tyres for Jan’s car from this garage, we went for a paddle in the canoe down the Kennet and Avon canal, using our usual route from the car park at Aldermaston Wharf down to the RowBarge pub, where we pulled the canoe out for a pint and crisps.

This is the view that we see, as this is the riverside:

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A few minutes after we arrived, another couple pulled up with a standard canoe. Apparently they had only recently bought it, transported it on their car roof… and it is heavy. I should have taken a photo of theirs and ours side-by-side. But considering we can just deflate ours and roll it up, at that moment I was very glad to have an inflatable.

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In getting ready, last year’s list proved very useful – no gaps. I had told a friend that he would want a wetsuit, but I was forgetting that we bought the canoe in September (2013)… which was wetsuit temperature. The water did drip all over me from the 2-headed paddle, but that’s fine. After a few minutes of paddling, my arms and shoulders were killing me, but then it settled down. Having said that, when we got out at the pub, I could barely lift my pint to my lips. The paddle towards the pub actually feeds in the River Kennet, which I had not realised, but does explain why there is a pretty fierce current pushing you back the closer you get to the pub.

At first I was struggling with how to insert an HTML table into WordPress. In fact all you do is click the Text rather than the default Visual tab, and you’re into HTML. This is a very good online editor for creating tables.

sun cream  tie for dry bag to kayak
canoe waterproof wallet sandals dry clothes car keys
2 paddles camera / tripod fleece drybags * 2 contact lenses?
skeg phone rash shirt sailing gloves sunglasses
seats * 2 water bottles * 2 towel buoyancy aids * 2 tie valve to boat
pump licence/waterproof bag/pen spare t shirt and shorts dinghy boots * 2 wet suits
manometer waterproof watch swim trunks plastic bags with tie sponge as bailer
short rope * 3 binbags for wet clothes / plastic bags driving glasses minimum money and cards change