With another weekends weather forecast for Anglesey still not looking too good, I didn't think I would get a sea boat trip in this weekend. Then Kris posted on Facebook "how about a trip on the Mersey"? There was a flurry of responses and we agreed to meet outside the Ferry Pub on Tobin Road at 10:15 Sunday morning.
It was a cold morning. But soon we had a party of eight kayakers all eager to get on the water and start paddling, if anything to get warm. The paddlers were Kris, Colin, Keith (not Green), Ian, Simon W, Gareth, Sarah and me!
Crossing over to Liverpool we floated rapidly passed the sights, taking photos was we went. It was a lovely light but with the cold, my thumbs were hurting/numb. When we had passed the interesting bit on that side of the Mersey, we headed across towards the Naval dockyard, then past a huge tanker "Seapike". All the time the light was super. It wasn't until we came across our first buoy that you could see just how fast we were travelling. There was a big swirling eddy behind the buoy.
It was about this time I got my GPS out of my day pod/"mars bar hatch" and started looking at the speed we were doing. Without paddling we were getting 5-6kts and when paddling and easy 8kts. When I paddled hard I managed to get 9.5kts!
As we approached the airport an Easyjet came in above us. I wondered where they were coming from...
It wasn't too long before we were at Hale Lighthouse, now disused and a private residence. After a quick break for more photos we set off again. Sarah was saying she was getting tired, so it wasn't too long before we stopped for some lunch opposite the black church in Runcorn. Sarah had been ill most of January and this was her first paddle of the year. What a great (if long) paddle to pick!
After standing around in the mud eating our sandwiches, watering the reed beds and getting a little cold, the tide finally turned. There was very little slack water. In fact if there was any slack I missed it. Simon W was first back on the water as he said he was getting too cold. The others soon followed.
As we set back off for Liverpool I paddled with Simon W. Ian was keeping close to the bank and both Simon and I were amazed how much faster he was going. Going back on the ebb tide was interesting as the currents were no longer linear to the river banks, but swirling in all directions as the water emptied around and over the various sand banks. I decided to try to pick a route along channel shown on the map, in the hope I could make good progress. I was shooting along, albeit in a ferry glide as most of the water was passing me across to the right shore. Having said that when I got about half a mile in front of the group, I stopped to let them catch up. We then moved more to the middle of the Mersey. Our speeds were nowhere as quick as in the morning, but we were still getting 5 to 6 kts. The only question we all had would will me make it back before dark?
The nearer we approached Liverpool, the faster we went and it wasn't long before we were back at "Seapike". It was about this time that the low sun peaked out from underneath the cloud, giving us an amazing light, lighting up Liverpool.
We made it back at dusk and by the time we had carried the boats back up to the cars it was dark. Perfect timing.
What a great trip.
26 Nautical miles in 5hours and 50 minutes!