I said last week that I was a planning a paddle around Keyhaven. Well, unfortunately I bottled it. The reason is that I was not confident enough to try to paddle around the bay as, after reading the charts and local advice felt it was slightly risky given the time of year and temperature, if I get stuck or get it wrong it is a very cold way to spend the day. So I decided to alter my plans and I went to. The slightly more protected and safer option of Mudeford Quay, in between Christchurch and Highcliffe. It is a fascinating little place that is a large sheltered bay behibd Hengistbury head and the Solent. For the most part it is no more thN a feet deep even at high tide, it has some deep channels of a few metres and a also houses a treacherous channel loving called ‘The Run’. Essentially the Run is to be avoided at all times. The whole force of the tide is squeezed through a deep channel about 10 m across. The force of that outlet to the open sea is akin to the worst Rip tide you will ever see and if your caught in it you won’t be seen until you reach the Isle of Wight. Fortunately though the bay is about 4.5 miles around the edge so plenty of room to paddle without vanishing off into the Solent.
I read the tide well and arrived 40 mins before high tide and they was plenty of Water I. Which to paddle, and I was not the only one. I bumped into another boarder just starting out. The other paddler was slot more experienced than I so I let him toddle off before I ventured of the water, essentially so I could see where he went and if there was any issues on the water. A very chilly wind was whipping around chopping up the water which made it challenging to paddle, also made it a bit cold. But, wrapped in neoprene I barely felt the wind so was happy to crack on. I hit the water and was immediately surprised by the strength of the wind and the effect it had on paddling, to get out into the bay I had to travel into the wind. It was hard going and my feet were getting a bit chilly. About 500 m out into the bay my feet went numb. I was wearing neoprene shoes but it was very cold. I endured and went further into the bay, the sun was glorious but the wind was high making a challenging SUP. I went further and missed the signs for the shallows as they were submerged, and ran aground and fell in. Whoops! It was a chilly dip and wasn’t my only one. I have so much to learn about this sport.
Inclement weather means that I cannot get out for at least a week so I am in the pool every other day!