Over the last six weeks I have been taking part in a kayaking course called ‘ River to Sea’ in which have been revisiting skills I have long forgotten or never known previously. The group format with 6 students to one instructor works well with plenty of time in our two hour weekly sessions to coach individual improvements.
We have moved from the River Frome at Wareham, to Bramble Bay and Poole harbour and on Monday evening our final session will see our sea experience with a paddle from Studland bay to Old Harry Rocks.
My key draw to the course was the Old Harry Trip. Something I have avoided attempting alone as I have not been confident about my skills. Today however, that trip has been trumped after I took part in a paddle trip from Keyhaven, Hampshire across the Solent to the Isle of Wight and down to Alum bay with a view of the Needles.
Today we paddled about 10 miles,my previous best on Monday, about 4 miles on open water. Most of the journey was low key paddling wise but on the return journey I had two moments of unease: crossing the Hurst Castle tidal race where my hire kayak became swamped by a wave and later surfing a boat’s wash where I lost my balance. In both cases I retained my balance and felt a great sense of achievement.
Early on on river sessions – paddling on the river,then emergency stops.
Side draw strokes and brace turns.
Exploring in Poole harbour and learning to read Cardinal marker buoys.
A rough estimation of our second week to Pottery pier on Brownsea Island and back.
Today’s trip meant an early start:
Picked up at 6 a.m. and kayaks lined up ready to launch at Keyhaven for 9 a.m. with a great group from Imperial College, London investigating the route for their autonomous battery boat to follow.
Onto the water and along the river in Keyhaven behind Hurst Castle Spit and onto the Solent. A crossing of about one kilometre and we were along the shore of the Isle of Wight. A beach stop and we could see The Needles to the west of us.
Along the coast until we reached Alum bay. The Needles themselves would be too far for this trip, but that didn’t matter. Over half of the group went for a swim, plus lunch.
Then it was time to return, I took no photos on the return leg. A map showing our approximate route.
Many thanks to
Steve Malone of H2O adventures and Spartan paddlesports today.