Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

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jlscott
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Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:56 am

Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

Post by jlscott » Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:39 pm

Lived in Plymouth all my life (40 years!) and I want to take advantage of living in such a great location. How safe/feasible would some beginner solo and family kayaking be, in and around the shoreline of Plymouth Sound and some of the nearby estuaries? (I've heard Wacker Quay is nice in the right tidal window). I wouldn't venture far. Unfortunately I can't store/transport a hard shell, so I'm looking at the Sevylor Alameda inflatable. My kids are 8yr and 5yr, can both swim and comfortable in water and we'd all be fitted with buoyancy aids. I'd also take a dry bag and mobile phone in waterproof case.

If it were just me, I'd be really keen on standup paddleboarding, but with kids this only seems feasible in lakes and sheltered beaches in the summer months.

I want to get out on the water, take things slowly and in time join a club and learn. The appeal of the inflatable is also taking it on hols down in Cornwall. I'm hesitant to post here but I want to get advice from as many places as possible.

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nickcrowhurst
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Location: Cornwall, between swims.
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Re: Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

Post by nickcrowhurst » Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:05 pm

I recommend that you join the Tamar Canoe Association (TCA) and paddle with them from Saltash: http://www.tamarcanoeassociation.org.uk/
There is a wide variety of great trips from Saltash. Plymouth Sound can be a scary place for a beginner, with complex tides, rough disturbed water, and lots of power boat traffic. I'm sure you'll meet a friendly group at the TCA.
Nick.

StanGuz
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Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:39 pm
Location: Plymouth

Re: Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

Post by StanGuz » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:15 pm

Give Danny at Discovery Divers at Bovisand a call. He hires sit on tops from there that you can try, access to the water is sheltered and you can paddle either back into the sound, or along the coast towards Heybrook bay. Great place to go from, parking is easy (reasonable rates too), site is secure and there's food from the dive shop if they're about. Happy paddling!

Cheers.

Stan.
What could possibly go wrong......?

jlscott
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Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:56 am

Re: Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

Post by jlscott » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:45 pm

Thanks both. I have so many questions I think a club is the only way.

On a side note, I saw someone paddling in the Plym estuary, near Saltram beach. I thought that area would be somewhat safe, but a colleague mentioned strong currents. Is it really that deceptive?

PlymouthDamo
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Re: Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

Post by PlymouthDamo » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:51 pm

Most areas within the Sound have strong currents between high and low tide, including the Plym Estuary. Within The Sound, 'slack water' generally occurs between around an hour before to an hour after high/low water - but with some local variations. Outside those times, the Plym can flow quickly - have a look over the side of the Laira Bridge 3 hours after high water on a spring tide to see how bad it can be. Also, if you get it wrong, you could have a long wait on the mud...

Depending on where you are, the kayak club at Mountbatten (Port of Plymouth Canoeing Association) might be the most convenient for you. They have a big unit next to my old dive club's unit, which was always stacked with gear and seemed to be focused on kids and families. Trying out a load of kit would be a good idea before shelling out on an inflatable. I'm not decrying inflatables by the way as I used to paddle one across from the Hoe to Mountbatten and back every Monday for my dive club meeting - like any boat, you just need to learn their limitations and plan accordingly. The Mountbatten club also do a lot of paddling around The Sound, so you'll get a chance to learn the ropes and find the safe spots and practices.

jlscott
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Re: Family paddling in Plymouth Sound and estuaries

Post by jlscott » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:01 am

This all seems somewhat daunting! But maybe it's better to feel that way, than blasé and running into trouble.

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