Last Saturday I made my way to the Isle of Sheppy to join a group paddle that launches the http://www.discoveryourestuary.com/ downloadable guides and videos by Dave Wise. I arrived a bit late and as it was the first sail of the year needed to take some time sorting out my canoe, by the time I got onto the slip at Queenborough the paddlers had left.
Heading up the Swale the tide was against me but with a beam reach even in light winds the Solway Dory Curlew was able to punch against the tide, once on the Medway the tide was with me but now I had to close haul down the Estuary, it was quite murky to start with but the sun was gradually burning off the low cloud. The was very little traffic on the Estuary apart from a few fishing boats and a one man hovercraft!There were a couple of huge flat bottomed barges moored up , which I kept a good distance from, those things give me the willes! Once past Chetney marshes I turned into the entrance of Stangate creek and practised my hoving-to skills with my jib while scanning the horizon with a small pair of bin's to hunt for the paddlers
I eventually found the group tucked behind a disused pier on Burntwick Island
After ten minutes or so the paddlers set off over the top of the now mostly flooded Island to investigate an abandoned barrack block,I set off back up Stangate Creek.The day was now really sunny and beautiful, the Estuary was full of wildlife, thousands of birds noisily calling and a solitary seal accompanied me for a while popping his head up now and then.
I met up with the group as we took the high tide short cut of Sheppard's Creek cutting through Deadman's Island and back to the Swale and across to the slip at Queenborough.
A map of the route:
I also made a video of the trip:
Many thanks to Dave for organising the trip and creating the great resource of the Medway estuary paddle guides.