Paris! ... What is the first thing that just crossed your mind? I bet 5€ it wasn't kayaking. Well, I visited Paris last weekend with no intention of spending time on the water, and yet I somehow found myself floating in a rowboat in the Grand Canal in front of the Palace of Versailles.
Last weekend, Elizabeth, Sander van den CargoBroek, and I rented a tiny car and road-tripped to visit UMich friend Nicolas in Paris. We spent Saturday and Sunday making epic 10 hour walks across the city, stopping at Nicolas' swim meet, the Electronic Circus, le Pain Quotidien, Montmartre, Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, the Eiffel Tower, Le Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, and many more, including a late night walk along the Seine.
On Monday, we left the city center to visit Versailles before heading back to the Netherlands (with a quick stop in Belgium for dinner)...
Lake Brienz (Brienzersee in German) is one of two lakes that flank the city of Interlaken, Switzerland. Unlike the Lake Thun (the other lake), Lake Brienz is a vibrant turquoise blue color, likely caused by glacial sediments flowing into the lake. I rented a boat from Hightide Kayak School in Bönigen (next to Interlaken) and embarked on my longest solo paddle yet. As you can see from the photos below, the views and weather were fantastic!
Note: I'm trying out a new layout with this post, with all photos + captions up front and the detailed trip description later on. Let me know what you think!
This was the first field visit for the EMERGO project, a project by TU Delft and NIOZ (the Netherlands Institute of Sea Research) that I'll be working on during my time in the Netherlands. The overarching goal is to understand the morphological and ecological responses of tidal flats to different restoration measures. The project was sparked, in part, by the ongoing loss of intertidal habitats (tidal flats, oyster reefs, marshes, sea grasses) in the Oosterschelde. Between 1976 and 1986, a storm surge barrier was constructed across the mouth of the river. This barrier was the largest component of the 50 year Delta Works flood management project to protect the Netherlands from flooding after devastating floods in 1953. Stay tuned for a future post about this barrier - an epic bike trip is in the works that will involve biking across many of the storm surge barriers.
Anyways, the barrier reduced the tide range in the river (i.e. the tide does not go as high or as low as it used to). Since intertidal habitats depend on being dry and wet for a certain amount of time, this smaller tide range has lead to rapid shrinking and loss of tidal flat and marsh habitat. Many pilot projects are in the ground already to test ways to slow/stop this degradation, including artificial oyster reefs and tidal flat sand replenishments. The EMERGO project will look at how well these (and other) actions address the unraveling of intertidal habitats.
Let's visit some artificial and natural oyster reefs!
How can oyster reefs help restore the Oosterschelde?
A couple months ago, while searching for Dutch kayaking info, I discovered Johan's Kano Route website, which describes kayaking routes in the Netherlands and a few in other countries. I clicked around for the routes within biking distance of Delft, and there are quite a few. He always lists the nearest kayak rental shops, which is helpful for a car-less boat-less person like me. Elizabeth and I decided to embark on the Rotterdam route (which only takes you to the center of Rotterdam if you paddle ~16 miles).
Bridget, Stijn, and I met up in Gent for a one-way paddle from outside the city to the city center, where we partook in typical Belgian activities like beer-drinking and french fry-munching. We paddled under ancient bridges, circumnavigated a moat around a castle, and broke into a canal house after Bridget jumped into the canal to save her phone... Read on :)
Another guest post by Bridget! Nena's comments in [italics].
We woke up early to pack (again) and walk to the train (again) [Oh Bridget, stop whining]. This time the destination was Belgium, where we are currently spending a week with Nena’s extended family! After groggily getting out of bed and showering, we braced ourselves for rain and headed to the station. Halfway to the station it began thundering, and we increased our pace to reach cover before the downpour [mostly successfully]. I commented, "It's no wonder Europeans wrote such depressing novels, with such weather!" and Nena reminded me that I had already made a similar remark three times. Whoops.
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.
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