Andy, Fiona M, Matt, Gavin and Dan paddled from the Isle of Sheppey to Whitstable and back on 5 August. After an imaginative drive down through Surrey, we launched by the Harty Ferry Inn, as we have successfully on several previous occasions. It was a bit livelier than usual though with lots of people shooting at clays close to the slipway. Fortunately they were all a good shot and we avoided perforation and were soon underway.
It was a lovely sunny day, but we had to paddle into a head wind and we didn't have much tide with us, so it became progressively harder to make progress. It took about half an hour to negotiate a shallow section leading some to doubt whether we would be able to reach Whitstable at all. However, the view of the undeveloped Isle of Sheppey gradually gave way to over 40 windturbines and in the distance rusting WWII forts on stilts, looking like something from "The War of the Worlds". It took us two and a half hours to reach Whitstable, after which we were all pretty tired. We arrived just after low tide and manoeuvred past the exposed oyster trestles and between the poles marking them to reach the shingle beach close to the harbour.
Hip Whitstable was buzzing with families wading far out into the estuary. We treated ourselves to some oysters, followed by fish and chips and an ice cream - all delicious and a very good advert for the Great British holiday.
After our lunch stop we set off back to the Isle of Sheppey. There was a false start while a chivalrous Andy helped out a lady who had lost her beach ball and then had to get his skeg right. We crossed the estuary early, focusing on a wind turbine, and found that we had a lot more tide with us for the return journey and the wind was now on our backs. Gavin stayed in deeper water than the others and spotted a seal. With a following sea we made it back in only one and a half hours.