Message originally posted by gavinparson on 16-Aug-09 at 06:50 PM:
Barely 6 days after getting home from the Rhone Raid it seemed that summer had arrived in England and it would be a shame not to go out on the river.
I had planned to go out on Saturday but decided that it was a little windy and that Sunday would be hotter and better.
Low tide was at 15.41, so after dinner my wife Daryl Lynn, our 3 year old daughter Julia and I took the craft down to the slipway at Gillingham Strand.
There was a breeze from the West so we headed East towards the maze of mudflats and islands that make up the Medway Estuary.
We followed the low tide line and went through the channel between Darnet and Nore Marsh. This winds for about half a mile before joining a larger channel heading North East towards the main river.
I kept to the edge of the mudflats rather than pick a treachorous course across the gulley riddled flats. I didn't think my passengers would appreciate too much gulley hopping.
As we headed North West with the channel to our right and huge mudflats to our left, I spotted a sandy beach ahead and decided it would be a good place to stop for a while.
As I drove onto it I realised it was a shellbank with a bit of a ridge. I stopped the craft on the peak of this ridge and the craft teetered on it like a seesaw.
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We got out and had a look around. As I stepped away from the craft it looked more obvious that it was perched on the ridge of the shellbank.
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On both sides of the shellbank there were many live mussels, oysters and cockles and a few stranded jellyfish. This really was in the middle of nowhere.
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We gathered a few oysters then I pulled the craft round of the peak and we set off towards Shell Ness jetty. I thought we'd take a trip up to the WW1 submarine as the girls had never seen it before.
I was surprised to see that Bee Ness jetty to the East was being dismantled. Anyone who remembers cruising under it last year will remember the terrible state it was in with huge sections crumbling into the river.
With so much of it gone I lost my bearings of where I normally turn right under the pier and follow a creek up to the sub. I made a turn and ended up in unfamiliar territory in the vast wilderness of Stoke Marsh.
I picked my way through the islands and gulleys and kept looking round expecting to get a glimpse of the sub. Eventually I realised that I was far too far East and just followed a channel back to the main river and headed back.
With a head wind now we blasted past the Sir Charles Parsons coal ship at Kingsnorth at 20 knots. I headed into the Hoo channel a picked my way cross the mudflats and through the narrow channels until we rejoined the main river again.
From here we headed over to the pretty Hoo beach and and parked up next to the crumbling brick fortifications.
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We took a break and Daryl Lynn spoke to a couple of friends on the phone.
Then we headed back towards the Strand. This time Julia sat in front of me with her hands on the handlebars. A couple of times I let go of the throttle and Julia held it in position and actually drove the craft for a while. Not bad for a 3 year old. Well, it did seem on the Raid that the young girls in the club are taking over!

When we got to the Strand it was deserted on the slipway so I drove the craft straight up the road and parked behind my trailer.
We'd been out 2 hours and clocked up nearly 14 miles.

Back home I rechecked where I'd gone wrong looking for the sub and it was clear that I'd turned under the jetty too early. I tracked my route on Google Earth and here it is.
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We went home and I jetwashed the craft down ready for the Thames next week.