Paddles with an Anas acuta...... unashamedly biased toward the sea kayak of that name (actually the voyages of two boats, one 'traffic over gold', one 'quill')

Saturday, 28 July 2012

African Wildlife on The Medway

 Nearer home, a weekend in Kent with its African wildlife,
 killer put-ins at low water,
and big ships. The Hestia Leader, 63,000 tonnes and 200m long came in ahead of us with two tugs, swung around and was pushed in sideways leaving a diminishing gap; a temptation which we didn't take!
The Westgard, 2,868 tonnes and 89m long, played tag all the way up the Swale. Pulling ahead at just above our paddling speed, then dropping back to 2kt as it waited for the bridge to lift, allowing us to overtake ahead and astern on the bends. Finally putting in a 6kt sprint to beat us under the bridge and managing to stay ahead all the way to its quay. Our efforts to keep up providing amusement for the friendly crew, who were busily sorting out the hawsers for making fast.
 The Lord Hinton, 14,200t and 155 m long, which shuttles across the North Sea with coal.
 A collection of lightships,
and the Scotline Emsland, 2,200t and 80m long with its cargo of 3,200 cu m of timber. This ship followed us all the way up into Chatham with the flood tide, not being local we were not sure where it was heading and the river was narrow. We listened on the port frequency expecting some comments about the kayakers, but radio silence, maybe we were not in the way. Eventually the flurry of activity on the timber quay indicated where it was heading for and we hurried on so it could dock. Coming back down the river with the ebb, they were busy unloading from the bow first. Shortly after, as we were taking a break at Darnet Fort, it passed us empty and bound for the sea again. A slick operation to avoid the Medway mud; alas, it was LW again by the time we landed.

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