Kent coast/Whitstable sea kayak day trip 10 September 2011

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The group

Liz Sheridan (trip leader), Sarah Keogh, Neasan, Vicky Bostock, Louise Lewer, Andy Nutter, Pete Marsh

Plan

Tide times

Sheerness (midway between springs and neaps; All times GMT):

Sat 10th

  • 05:03 1.26m L
  • 11:12 5.47m H
  • 17:44 0.81m L
  • 23:42 5.70m H

As the tide drops the coastline is very muddy in places, so options for landing are restricted to a few slipways etc. Landing at Whitstable should be OK as shingle beach with less mud than other places. May have a short carry back up to the beach. Option of doing some wet practice if it isn’t too cold and windy or maybe some towing practice etc.

Times/Route

Times are negotiable. There should be an east going tidal stream from 12: 15 until 18:00 so this will helping us back. OK to continue paddling against this at the start before it builds up too much.

  • 07:30 meet Shadwell basin and start loading boats
  • 08:15 leave
  • 09:45 arrive Whitstable
  • 10:30 launch from beach

Turning just East of the Indoor Bowling centre, which runs down to the Oyster Fishery beachfront restaurant where we should be able to park (alternative: dump boats outside the Continental Hotel in Beach walk and either park there or drive back to the big car park opposite the harbour entrance). Paddle easterly up coast and along Swale (channel between isle of Sheppey and Kent coast) towards Medway, allowing time for breaks and light snack stop.

  • 12.00 Stop for lunch

10km (5.5NM) gets us to the mouth of Faversham Creek which we can potentially explore, so this is probably a good turning point. We can also go further up the Swale if conditions are good

  • 13.00 Come back with tide
  • 15:00 Whitstable for fish and chips on the beach (or inside!).
  • 17:00 Return to Shadwell to drop off boats

Planned trip length

20km, can be shortened / lengthened as necessary. Tidal assistance in both directions.

Potential hazards

  • Wind (current forecast southerly force 3 - 4).
  • Rough water in consequence of wind over tide
  • Other small vessels around Whitstable harbour.

Report

So that was the plan. We kept for the most part to it.

  • 07:30 meet Shadwell basin and start loading boats. Well most of us got there for 7.30 :)
  • 08:45 leave
  • 10:00 arrive Whitstable
  • 10:45 launch from beach

Parked beside the Oyster Fishery beachfront restaurant.

  • 13:00 Stop for lunch on beach
  • 13.45 Come back with tide
  • 15:30

Bit of wandering around Whitstable for food, found Wee Willie Winkle's Kitchen who had Whitstable Bay beer and some nice food.

  • 17:00 Back to Shadwell

Lots of boating and windsurfing going on so that was entertaining watching them flit around the water. We didn't get as far as Faversham Creek so stopped off for lunch at a beach instead. On the way back we had to go a fair bit out to avoid the mud flats, so hence why we didn't hug the coast as on the way back. Using our boat's skegs we kept ourselves pointing for the headland and tried to ignore that wobbly feeling that came with every strong sideways wave. It was a day of very mixed up weather – fierce headwinds, rain and strong sunshine. And we saw a seal! He/she circled round and popped up every now and again while we fixed footrests and had a bit of a breather. Realised we didn't have mackerel so went on to the next interesting thing.

Oh and the Oyster Fishery beachfront restaurant refused to serve us as they had a function on that night so we had to do a bit of walking for our fish and chips! This is despite Liz double checking that they'd be open for us for dinner, so don't feel too bad now about using their toilets for changing now. This was a great one day trip which packed in a fair distance on the water but didn't mean we got home ridiculously late either. Many thanks goes to Liz for organising and taking us out, for most of us was our first time on the sea in the UK.

Photos

from Andy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/61344710@N07/sets/72157627523730657/

Actual trip length

Approximately 18Km

Map

Route on Google Maps