Having come home early from Scotland earlier in the week, my paddling buddy and I decided to do a paddle on the Humber. Originally our plan had been to paddle to the Humber Bridge and back, but with high water at 11:40 we would be pushing our luck. As it was, we didn't get to Paull until around 9:30am. We then spent a fair while trying to work out how to get on to the Estuary. Eventually we found a spot next to the Humber Tavern, but with the tide not far off high water it was not an easiest of get ins.
Once on the water, having radio'd into the VTS, to let them know our intentions, I was back to doing what I really dislike: paddling into a strong headwind. It was now just after 10:00am which left us with an hour and forty to see how far we could get. One really surprising thing we both noticed, as soon as we were on the water, was how warm the Humber water was. Very strange.
We battled our way towards the Salt End Jetties in some fairly big waves/swell (against us), then headed for the transit sheds at the Queen Elizabeth Docks, hoping for some shelter from the wind. Progress was slow. There was no discernible help from the tide.
As we were near high water on a spring tide their were plenty of big ship movements. We kept well out of the way. I didn't get to take many pictures as it really was a case of grit teeth and keep paddling. Otherwise you were instantly blown backwards.
After and hour and a half, and all of 5 miles, we finally made it to the Deep and found a handy slipway for lunch.
At 12:20 it was very evident the tide had turned. The tide now was steaming passed us back towards Paull. Now, with the wind, tide and swell behind us we were really motoring, reaching speeds of 8 mph+. Consequently we made it back to Paull in just under 40 minutes! We even spotted a male seal on our return, and even managed the odd short surf on the waves.
It was disappointing not to have made it to the Bridge, but then it will give us an excuse to come back another day with more suitable tides. This is a good interesting paddle that I'd recommend doing.
Best paddle ever ('ish)