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Kayaking Around Horsey Island - Camping At Night

Feb 4, 2008
After crossing the endless mudflats at the top of Horsey Island just beyond the beach at the crest of the mud, lay an area of firm grassland. It was gone 11.00pm and we set about putting up the tents as best we could in the dark. Thankfully it was a clear night without any wind and it did not take long to get the tents pitched.

Amongst our kayak accessories we had a portable stove and the sound of the kettle boiling started to cheer us up. We used most of the water we had brought along trying to clean the mud off ourselves but we made sure we left enough to make hot drinks.

Sitting in the openings of our tents and sipping a hot drink we even started to crack some jokes about what we had gone through, thinking that things could not get any worse. How wrong we were. Looking at the ground more closely and upon examining what we had thought to be grass turned out to be a seaweed type of plant. It quickly dawned on us that in the confusion and haste to get our tents pitched we had made camp on a flood plain.

We could not believe it but at the same time we were not prepared to set up camp anywhere else as it would be pointless anyway having absolutely no idea what area would be safe from flooding.

We decided to take our chances with myself and one of the other guys agreeing to stay awake as long as possible and until after high tide which would not be until 4:50am. I tied my inflatable kayak to the tent to stop it floating away if we accidentally fell asleep and did not notice the tide come in, and used the kayak seat for a pillow.

I sat under the stars with Nick while the other members of the group slept. We drank tea to keep awake. At 3:00am we checked the camp perimeter. To the south and about 200 yards from the tents we could see the water flooding the plain. We could not be sure from where it was coming from but most probably an inlet or creek.

We carried on checking every half an hour and at 4:30am the water was within fifty yards of the camp. We hoped it would not come any closer and upon checking again at 5:15am thankfully it was no nearer. I went back to my tent and collapsed.

I woke from my short sleep at around 7:30am. It was a glorious morning and the water had not reached our tents. My neck ached from sleeping on an inflatable kayak seat but I did not really notice because just about every other part of my body ached profusely.

In the light of the day we could see the many cuts and grazes to our feet we had sustained getting through the mud but I was mainly concerned with a rather deep 4 inch gash on the bottom of my right foot. I had not noticed it last night, perhaps because it was packed in cold mud but now it started to throb with pain.

We had planned to have a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs. This however was not possible as we were conscious we needed to get off Horsey Island before the tide went out again leaving us to deal with the mudflats once more.

Adding to our misery one of the group had lost his paddles when dragging his inflatable kayak through the mud. This meant we would either have to tow him or split one of the paddles in two and the rest of us take turns to paddle single bladed.

What should have been a relaxing paddle back to the marina took twice as long and involved a combination of towing and taking turns with single blades. Nobody really said much on the return journey, we simply wanted to get back home.

Once back at the marina we unpacked our kits and stowed the kayaks. Later that day I went to the hospital and for my troubles had a tetanus jab and six stitches in my right foot.

This was definitely an adventure but one I do not want to repeat in a hurry. My inflatable kayak stood up well to the test but that day I was glad to pack it back up in its bag for a while.
About the Author
Vicki Churchill writes for a site that specializes in Inflatable Kayak Accessories providing you with excellent resources and products including reviews on the stunning Sevylor Ranger Inflatable Kayak.
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