At twilight on Monday 1st June, 14 intrepid paddles gathered at the Ras Al Hamra Club beach ready to set off on the 3rd Moonlight Paddle event. Enthusiasm and excitement were high as everyone prepared their kayaks. The paddle, organised by David, Kamal and Paul, took place under full moon conditions and required paddlers to have glow sticks to the front and back of the kayaks for visibility on the water. This event was for experienced paddlers due to the conditions and length of the paddle. The plan was to set off from the Ras Al Hamra Club beach at 19:00, paddle to the Crowne Plaza at Shatti Beach and return by 20:45.
As the kayakers entered the water, it was evident that there was a swell coming into the bay from the north so this was not going to be a smooth ride like the previous Moonlight Paddles held a couple of years ago. The weather was hot and humid and even the water was warm, providing little relief.
Once everyone was on the water, we proceeded to exit the bay and head towards Shatti Beach, around 3 km in the distance. The light was fading fast and we only had the moonlight to see with by the time we exited the bay. The kayakers split into two main groups, one faster (led by Paul) than the other (led by David) with Richard acting as sweeper to make sure no one was left behind. The camaraderie of the participants was evident as they proceeded with friends discussing aspects of their lives and planning other events over summer. The swell did not diminish once out of the bay and as the kayaks turned south to head into Shatti Beach, some of the craft were able to surf part of the way in. We rested at the turn around point near the Crowne Plaza with much chatter about the conditions and Irene went overboard for a swim to cool off.
On the return leg, we proceeded along the coast battling with the swell. Loic decided to go for a swim when his kayak got caught side on by the swell but managed to get back in his kayak with a little help. The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful and all of the kayakers made it back to the Club beach by around 20:30. At this point the kayaks and gear were washed and everyone gathered at the top of the boat club for food and refreshments and to discuss the latest adventures of the Moonlight Paddle.