Emilia and I went on a kayaking trip near home (my new home near Antwerp, Belgium!) in celebration of her Confirmation a month ago. Emilia is my 11-year-old cousin and goddaughter. The closest kayak rental shop that I could find, Kano & Kayak Center, is located in Wachtebeke, close to the border with the Netherlands. It's possible to paddle a 38 km route, but we just did an out-and-back trip for a few hours. We kayaked, ate good food, and kayaked back. Emilia wrote a short guest post - click Read More to read that and see some photos!
[It's been a while since the last guest post - here Bailey describes our final adventure in Norway's Lofoten Islands - Nena's comments in brackets]
I've been convinced it will stop raining for 5 days now. Every opportunity I use wifi to check the weather and still come to the same conclusion that NOW, soon, the rain will stop. In spite of my unfounded optimism, the weather is relentless. Each moment of clearing skies is followed by another squall of cold rain accompanied by heavy winds. In the past few days I've heard myself express joy over even incremental improvements "well I'm really glad it's not raining up anymore", "ah, it's so nice this pair of socks isn't wet yet", "look, I think I can see where the sun is".
Yesterday we went on a ferry-serviced overnight trip on a remote fjord [Reinefjord]. Despite taking shelter in a rickety post office shed on a dock [in the abandoned town of Kirkefjord], pretty much all of our belongings are completely wet and reek of rotting cod.
After a long morning back in town of avoiding weather by eating countless pastries and caffeinated beverages, we decided to finally motivate for an adventure. Convinced the wind has died down and the rain, for real this time, may stop soon, we meander over to the kayak rental company. A long haired woolen clad dudebrah (who possibly smells more like dead cod than we do) happily greets us.
As the ferry pitched over each wave, the ominous peaks of the Lofoten Islands loomed closer. Once again, I hadn't expected there to be snow: "They're islands! Being close to the water means we'll be warmer!" Wrong. The mountaintops were enshrouded in thick dark clouds. We had both snoozed through the nauseating 4 hour ride from Bodo. While we'd originally intended to stealth camp, we bee lined for the campsite next to the Moskenes ferry terminal. The price was right (160 NOK, ~$20), and the first of many squalls (super high winds and heavy rain for 10 minutes) was blowing outside reception. We'll take it! WiFi and a warm kitchen common space awaited us.
A short paddling trip through the city of Trondheim, Norway (spoiler alert: we did not see any Vikings but we did ear whale..).
Nena and Bailey kayak in possibly the most beautiful place on earth and almost get run over by a cruise ship.
Our second adventure in Norway took us to some fantastic stealth campsites and kayaking and hiking on a glacier. What we thought would be a simple kayaking trip and glacier walk turned into quite a suspenseful event involving crevasses and ice caves. Read on... :)
Norway might be the most beautiful place I've ever been. It's not that there aren't equally beautiful places in the US (or other places I've visited), it's the fact that everywhere you go there are incredibly dramatic landscapes: fjords flanked by vertical rock walls, mountain tops covered in 3 meters of snow just a 15 minute drive from the fjords, glaciers, dense woods, and more that are constantly changing. Take this with a grain of salt: we've only been here for 4 days and driven about 15 hours from Bergen. But I'm excited for the adventures coming up, and also excited to tell you about the ones we've already survived (yes...).
Click Read More to see photos and read about the Trolltunga hike!
Sadly, my time in the Netherlands is coming to a close, but only exciting adventures lie ahead. In September, I'm moving to Antwerp (Belgium) to work at Flanders Hydraulics and continue my coastal engineering world tour. During June, July, and August I'll be wandering around Europe with a medley of friends.
Stay tuned this summer for a resurgence in posts! I hope to post casually every few days with anecdotes, photos, and of course, kayak posts. I recently purchased a tablet, so I'll be posting updates from the road. The posts won't be as detailed as usual, so expect more of a stream-of-consciousness.
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I'm hoping to paddle at least once in each country:
Norway - the Western Fjords and the Lofoten Islands with Bailey
Belgium - near Antwerp with Emilia
Portugal - the Algarve with Henk Jan, Emily, and Brian
Spain - North Coast and Barcelona with Emily and Brian
Ireland - Maybe a quick dip in Dublin with Emily
France - Provence and Les Calanques in Marseille with Emily and Alice
Switzerland - Maybe another paddling trip on a mountain lake with Henk Jan, Emily, and Sara
Italy - Cinque Terre, Sardinia, and Corsica with Emily
If you happen to know of good sea kayak rental companies in (or near) any of these regions, please let me know. It's hard to find quality sea kayaks for rent.
A lot has gone into organizing this trip, including:
Alwin (fellow member of the Windhappers kayak club) and I spent Thursday afternoon kayaking around the city of Leiden. I haven't been to Leiden before, so I'm happy I got to visit before my departure from the Netherlands in a week. It's similar to Delft in size and ambiance - a small city surrounded and divided by canals, with many old buildings lining its narrow streets.
It's always been one of my dreams to ride along on a fishing boat and see fish being caught first hand. I just never expected this dream to manifest itself during one of my sea kayaking trips. This weekend it was accidentally realized when we found ourselves on a big fishing boat (sea kayaks on top), plowing through the waves of the English Channel towards Les Iles Chausey - a beautiful archipelago (52 islands at high tide, 365 at low tide) about an hour boat ride from Granville in Normandy.
... to the new Naked Kayaker! The site has a new look and now includes a Water Nerd section, Destination summary pages, and interactive maps in each post. Happy Paddling!
Stay Tuned For...
- Eurotrip summer 2015!
Click the "Read More" link at the bottom of each summary for more photos, to see an interactive map of the route, and to read about the adventure.
Maps in each blog post: Click the icons to learn more about the launch site (amenities) and destinations. Click the square in the bottom-left corner to see an aerial photo behind the route.