Looking for a place to camp overnight on Horsey Island we were closing in on the rusty barges which are run aground in Hamford Water. Joel was up head and we could hear him cursing and as we reached him we could see why he was so upset. The sandy beach was there alright, but to get to it we would have to wade through five hundred yards or more of mud due to the tide now being completely out.
Before I knew it two of the guys from our group had already jumped out of their kayak seats and were knee deep in the mudflats and swearing liberally. I had not been that afraid for a long time and I remembered many stories of people being trapped in mud and stuck there until the tide came back in and they drowned.
I had a very bad feeling about the situation and knew the Walton backwaters were predominately marshland and mudflats. I tried to persuade the others that it was a bad idea and that we should call for help on our mobile phones. Before my appeal had even been considered everyone else had got out of their kayak seats and were taking their chances in the mud.
I was so tired and ached to get out of my inflatable kayak. A desperate need to just go for it took over me. I took a deep breath and leapt out of my kayak seat and sank immediately knee deep into cold, wet, martian like mud that surrounds Horsey Island. Within the first two steps I lost my trainers and was now wading barefoot. I was thankful only that it was so dark I could barely see where or what I was stepping on. What made progress through the mud infinitely worse was hauling my inflatable kayak weighed down with all my kit and paddles.
The two guys with the sit on top and the Perception kayak were moving marginally quicker due to these boats being significantly lighter. In the dark all I could hear was a royal amount of swearing as everyone tried to avoid falling over or plummeting too far into the foul-smelling mud.
It was impossible to take more than a few steps without collapsing on top of my inflatable kayak from exhaustion. I longed to just leave it there but I knew the tide would come back in soon and I would have no way of returning home. At one point I took a step forward and sank right up to my backside. At that split second I thought my luck had run out. I lunged backwards and grasped for my kayak. This scared me senseless as a few inches further and I would have been stuck and I doubt very much the others would have been able to pull me out.
I just wanted to be at home in my warm bed. Once I got my breath back I slowly and timidly stepped forward again. I could feel sharp pain in my feet and prayed it was just stones and shells I was stepping on and not broken parts of the rusting barges that we were passing uncomfortably close to.
I could just make out the shadow if Joel dragging the Perception kayak who was now a couple of hundred years up ahead. I shouted to him asking if he had made it to the beach yet and was dreadfully dismayed when he swore back that he had not. I cursed my inflatable kayak that although filled with air still weighed a ton. This was by far one of the worst experience of my life and I could not understand how on earth an easy paddle around Horsey Island had ended up with this nightmare scenario.
Heads down and with gritted determination we finally made it to the beach. Covered in mud and entirely confused we looked in the dark for somewhere to pitch out tents. I could not believe that both Nicks and my inflatable kayak had survived the ordeal un-punctured which is a testament to their toughness and durability.
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.