Two days ago I sent a message to the Never Dry club WhatsApp group to ask if anyone wanted to go paddling this weekend. The guilt of not using my new boat yet was building up (busy weekends!), and there was no rain in the forecast. But with temperatures hovering right around freezing, I was secretly hoping no one would respond, so I'd have an excuse to stay in my cozy warm apartment.
Back in May (how did that happen?) I went on one of my favorite Dutch paddling trips so far: the Maas River in my new city of Rotterdam, with Iede, Marianne, Erik, and Adrian. The great thing about it is that you can get there from the club if you're willing to go through a small lock and carry your boat across a giant intersection in downtown Rotterdam... :D
Just a short post today to share a few photos and stats from my first trip to Grevelingen lake - one of the four (former) estuaries in Zeeland, the most southwestern province of the Netherlands. Read on to find out why my face was caked in salt at the end of the day...
Today Toni, Mike, Alejandro, Cassie, Sierd, Marion, and I took to the canals of the Hague to enjoy the gorgeous weather and tour the Dutch food scene. Here's a short post to share a few photos from our casual afternoon paddle. For an approximate route map, see this previous post. Today involved eating/drinking Dutch food interspersed by some kayaking... On the menu were patat oorlog ("war" fries, which have peanut sauce with mayo and quite a politically incorrect name, as I learned today), patat speciaal ("special" fries with mayo and curry sauce), kroket (deep-fried hotdog-shaped gravy stick), meatballs wrapped in bacon, tiny pickles, and beer. Over drinks we pondered mysteries of US grocery shopping: why do a cucumber and 5 muffins both cost $2? Why are red peppers so much more expensive than green? and much more... Short post today since I'm running behind a bit! :)
My alarm went off at 7am on Sunday. At any other time of year, getting up would have been a challenge. Thanks to the long days that the Dutch latitude (52 degrees) bestows us, it was palatable. In what's becoming a weekend routine, I strapped my lunch and dry clothes on the back of my bike and swung a sizable duffle bag of kayak gear over my shoulder. It always takes a bit of extra effort to get the bike moving when it's loaded down this way. But thanks to the lack of topographic variability, the 12 minute bike ride to the kayak club is easy once you're rolling. Some aspects of Dutch life just need reframing to see the bright side.
Tiengemeten, population 10, is an island in the Haringvliet named after its size (tien = 10, gemeten = ancient unit of measurement corresponding to approximately 1 acre). It started out as a sandbar in the Haringvliet estuary (which has since been blocked off from the sea and turned into a freshwater lake), and eventually grew to be an island between 1750 and 1804. After that it underwent all kinds of changes and development. Yesterday, Tom, Amelia, Iede, and I kayaked around it. Read on to see some cool photos of wetland restoration and find out what makes this island unique (from a kayaking and historical perspective)!
The Kralingse Plas is a ~100 ha (~250 acre) lake northeast of Rotterdam centrum. One trip around the square-ish lake is approximately 4 km (2.5 miles), depending how close you stick to the shoreline. The lake is also, conveniently, a 10 minute bike ride from my new apartment, and home to Never Dry, my new kayaking club. Read on to learn about the fascinating history of this seemingly simple lake.
I finally did it! I went sea kayaking in the Netherlands. For the last ~3 years I've been enjoying the vast network of inland rivers and canals that the Netherlands and Belgium have to offer. But without my own boat and a group of skilled paddlers nearby, sea kayaking has been just out of reach.
It felt particularly meaningful when I realized this was also the first time I'd been kayaking on either the Oosterschelde or the Westerschelde. The last sentence of my personal statement for Fulbright - the research grant that brought me to Europe in the first place - was "Enabled by my fluent Dutch, I also look forward to hearing the perspectives of local sea kayakers intimately familiar with the Dutch waterways, while riding the tides of the Oosterschelde and Westerschelde." Though it came 3 years late, it went exactly how I'd hoped. Even better, because if you'd dropped me in a group of Dutch kayakers (with their Dutch accents) 3 years ago, I wouldn't have understood anything!
On top of all that, this ended up being my longest kayaking trip ever (just barely)...
This is a blog about exploring the outdoors (mostly by kayak), traveling, trip planning, and coastal engineering. It currently focuses on kayaking in the Netherlands and Belgium, but previous posts cover Upstate New York, California, and much more. See the Complete List of Blog Posts for a history of the site. Looking for something specific? Search the site here.
In addition to the blog, check out the Water Nerd section, where I write about coastal engineering and hydrology.
Email updates on new blog posts, about once per month.
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.