I woke up on Saturday morning to a surprisingly mild pleasant November day. I normally phone around to see who is up for a paddle, but this can lead to long delays waiting for a reply. It was early (7pm) so I guessed no one would be up yet anyway. I waxed my drysuit zips as I had not used it since early season and I wanted to practise rolling as I had not done so for a couple of months. I was ready to launch at the Wick Lane slipway by 8am.
Wick Lane slipway
It was very quite and relaxing. No panic to launch because others are waiting etc. I took time to reflect on how this secret little slipway was always quite. Today there are generally all sorts of craft launching and recovering here. Even some larger boats trying to avoid the parking charges at the main public slipway on the opposite bank.The tranquillity was then interrupted by a passing jogger. In a broad Scottish accent he stops to ask "How much are those long thin boats". We enter into the usual discussion about the merits of different kayaks etc. Shocked at the price of a carbon kevlar sea kayak, he jogs on to ponder.
Paddling down the river, I could not believe how warm it was in the sun. The dry suit seems not such a good idea. I would needed to roll regularly just to cool off. The harbour is like glass with just a few rowers on the water for and early morning workout.
Landing at the Mudeford spit.
The snacks shop is closed, but the staff at the Beach House restaurant make me a lovely bacon roll. Ah, this is the life. I chilled out for a while, before heading out to sea to want sounds like surf.
It was a white water push out though the run, but it eased off once round the point onto the seaward side of Mudeford Spit. There were a clean sets of surf coming in at a diagonal to the beach. The waves were only a couple of feet high at most, but clean enough to give some long gentle rides and practise cutting in and out. I took the opportunity to practise rolling at different angles to the waves.
It was a one off stunning day amongst the unsettled weather. You have to just grab it while it is there. I could not believe how quiet the beach was. This is why I love this time of year.
The low sun gives that lovely evening light all day
Glassy Christchurch Harbour looking towards Mudeford Spit
Glassy Christchurch Harbour looking towards Christchurch Quay
Arriving back at the quiet slip
One of those magical days that I would have missed if I did not take the chance by just going for it. I feel so lucky to live so near to this spot at my most local paddle. One of the joys of winter paddling is getting home tingling after a great day out and snuggling up by the fire cuddled up with my good lady and Hungarian Vizsla dogs Eszti and Bodhi.