Its taken me too long to get around to start exploring Dubai’s Creek in my kayak and it turns out I’ve been missing out. The first afternoon spent in the bottom section of the busy, bustling waterway was brilliant and I’ll be heading back to continue exploring asap.
I put in from the car parking spaces on the Deira Corniche, I later found a better access egress point next to the Customs House on the East side of the creek thats accessed from the roundabout above where the Shindagha Tunnel dives underground.
Paddling up into the Creek the tide was obviously with me but this was completely by luck as I hadn’t checked the times. This trip worked out perfectly and judging by the flow I saw coming out when the tide turned it would be daft to get it wrong. You definitely want to be timing your trip to get to the highest point in the Creek at the top of the tide and glide back out on the ebb.
As soon as I rounded the Al Ras corner the hectic hustle and bustle of this busy water way hit me.
I had to keep my wits about me as I paddled up the northern edge. This was suprisingly difficult as I was being bombarded with sights and sounds from around me, there was just so much to take in.
The dredging of the creek in the early 60’s is attributed as one of the more important factors in establishing Dubai a key staging post for world trade. To see it all ‘in action’ from the view point of my kayak was really quite something. This perspective from down on the water in amongst these traditionally styled working boats made a stark contrast with the surrounding high rise glitzy skyline with its banks and international brands.
Something I found interesting was the way different people reacted to me kayaking there. The occasional tourist on an abra casually took a photo but the abra drivers and the dhow crews all smiled, waved and enthusiastically hailed a greeting. Were they just laughing at a crazy white guy sitting with his arse in a puddle or where they welcoming and acknowledging a fellow water traveller, a shared kinship perhaps. Of course I like to think the latter, it certainly felt that way.
As I got to Port Saeed just below Al Maktoum Bridge it was time for me to head back. While life on the water exploring under my own steam might be simple it wasn’t going to prevent my time on the parking meter running out so this exploration ended there. I still have to find out what delights there are above the bridge for the exploring kayaker to find. How far up can I get, will I be able to get past the floating bridge, what lays beyond that? Hmmmm, questions questions.
On the way back down I followed the southern bank, first of all past the palaces with their ‘NO PHOTOGRAPHY’ signs, then past some Gin Palace Yachts, dodged around a couple of very busy Abra Stations, past the restaurant dhows moored across the road from the British Embassy, down past touristy waterside Old Bur Dubai (hailed by Adam out showing his visiting parents around) and then out towards the sea on the outgoing tide before hanging a right for the short paddle back along the Deira Corniche to get to my pick up in time to catch the meter.
Trip Info: Dubai Creek – Deira to Al Maktoum Bridge
Distance / Time: 12km. 2 to 4hrs
Access / Egress: From Parking Bays on the Deira Corniche or from near the Shindagha Tunnel near the Customs House on the south side.
Tides: Basic tidal planning is crucial to avoid fighting strong currents.
Navigation: Very easy.
Difficulty: Medium. Its not an easy environment to paddle in, a bustling waterway like the Creek is full of hazards to avoid and is certainly not the place to go for a swim.