Woke up today to see that it was a pea-souper! That usually means that obviously there is no wind which is always a bonus. Scraped the ice off the car and got to HillHead around 9.30. It was warming up nicely!
The sun was shining….NOT!
As I set off into the gloom the usual scary isolation interrupted by the low hum of ship’s fog horns crept in. You really don’t have a clue where you are going so I like to have 2xGPS with a compass as a minimum and keep the shore line in sight. It is a pain however to keep finding sand bars sticking out and having to navigate around the numerous pipe outlets. Very eerie though.
Soon afterwards I could see the sun was starting to try and burn though the fog.
I looked out towards where the Isle of Wight was supposed to be and saw this!
Plonked in the mainland side of the main Solent Channel anchored up waiting for the fog to lift.
I made brilliant progress along the Lee-on-Solent stretch, easily 5mph this bit thanks to the Corryvreken paddle. Soon I passed GAFIRS (Gosport and Fareham Inshore Lifeboat Rescue) with the Spinnaker in the background.
The Isle of Wight looked weird in the lifting fog.
After a bit the wind really picked up, from a F3 to F4 and maintaining a F5 at times. I decided to turn and head back for home. The waves here (by Fort Monkton) are always VERY swelly. Here I saw that services had resumed.
and the two Fishbourne Ferries:
I hid round the lee of the main swell and had an impromptu lunch! Christmas cake for energy and a packet of crisps to replenish the salt and a few carbs.
A yacht asked me if I was OK as I munched cake and watched the world go by, he must have thought I was mad as no-one else was out.
The rest of the journey was really hard work. The swells came from behind and to the side and on numerous occasions the whole of the front of the kayak completely disappeared under the water as I surfed! It took all my effort to stay on but all credit to the Scupper Pro for taking such tough conditions. As you realise I didn’t take many photos!
Eventually after a long slog I got to HillHead harbour area where the water there was MENTAL. The three worst bit of water I have ever been through are 1) The “trap” at Hurst 2) The Beerpans/Hengistbury Head and 3) Culver Cliffs IOW. This was worse than those. All I could do was hang on as best possible as I got swamped by two directional 2-3 foot swells. I had to apologise to the shore fishermen as I headed straight for their lines but I didn’t really have much choice!
After sweating it out a bit more I landed back by my car. Phew!
As usual it doesn’t look that bad but this was what it was like:
My phone said it was a F5 at The Bramblebank and I could well believe it.