Last weekend a fun group of Never Dry paddlers headed out to Stellendam for a late winter (early spring?) paddle on the North Sea. If you are wondering why we are walking in the photo, read on to find out!
I'm on vacation this week! visiting family and friends in Boston and New York. Flights to the US always seem to be on sale this time of year, and when I saw a flight to Boston for $400, I went for it! As you might have noticed, I've been blogging pretty actively through the winter. I'm not sure where this winter-y motivation is coming from, but a few cold weather adventures and a trip to New Zealand certainly didn't hurt!
With the Trip Planning 101 series almost wrapped up, I'm excited to kick off a new series in which I'll share photos and maps from trips that never made it onto the blog. I'll be focusing on particularly scenic/memorable trips from before The Naked Kayaker began (2010) and from more recent too-busy-to-blog periods. I think this idea stems from my wintery bouts of paddling nostalgia, and not wanting to lose the details I still remember. The posts will drift from the usual format (story, logistics, photos, map); they'll be shorter, informal, and focus on photos, with short snippets of text. Maybe I'll even ask a few of my fellow paddlers to weigh in with their memories! I'm tentatively calling it "Time Capsules," but if you have any wittier suggestions, please share them!
Today I'm excited to finally share some photos from a beautiful trip to Vancouver in October 2016...
Our last kayaking trip in New Zealand had a rocky start. We nearly forgot our tent, the weather forecast predicted two days of rain, our first boat started sinking, and on the morning of our departure I woke up with a bunch of red bites on my stomach. Five minutes of googling over breakfast at the campground, I was convinced I had bed bugs. How I could have acquired bedbugs 3-weeks into a 3-week camping trip (with my own sleeping bag in my own tent) did not seem relevant. Read on to hear more about kayaking in Fiordland National Park! Spoiler alert: I did not have bed bugs.
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
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)!
I start a new job tomorrow! So I've committed myself to finishing this blog post, since new jobs have a way of taking over. The past five weeks have been a whirlwind between jobs. I went to the US for almost two weeks, moved into my new apartment in Rotterdam (more on that later!), and spent a week adventuring in Mallorca! A good friend of mine, Inma, moved to Mallorca a couple months ago. With her apartment in Palma as a convenient home base, I hopped on buses every morning to explore different sides of the island... Read on to hear about this kayaking oasis!
Dinant Evasion: What happens when you combine a log flume, bumper cars, 7000 kayakers, and a sinking kayak on the River Lesse in Belgium.
The magical town of Dinant, on the Lesse River in southern Belgium. The kayaking route does not take you past here, so make sure to include a visit to the city in your itinerary! Photo by Rob.
Before you read this post, I want you to know that Dinant and the surrounding areas are really lovely - I've visited twice and had some great biking and hiking experiences. But kayaking was a different flavor, and I feel it should be documented as a warning to any kayakers thinking about paddling here...
As we passed under the big welcome signs at Dinant Evasion, I couldn't help but feel like I was entering an amusement park. We obediently zigzagged through the queue lines to one of the (many) ticket offices. "Do you have your confirmation letter?" asked the ticket lady in broken Dutch (Dinant is in the French-speaking part of Belgium). I fumbled for my phone, hoping the confirmation email was still cached (I still use my US smartphone, so no cellular data for me). Phew, there it was. I've never arrived for a reserved kayak rental and been told that my last name was insufficient for accessing the reservation... Warning Sign #1. Okay, the super commercial website could also have tipped me off (Warning Sign #0)...
My friends are real troopers. The forecast warned of intense rain, and that's exactly what we got. But we persevered! From downtown Utrecht to a pancake house about 6.5 km southeast of the city, Sander, Bonnie, and I paddled through almost continuous rain. But the "pancakes," if you can even call them that, were worth the soaking.
Fries from the sky, brewery by boat, Japanese gardens, and tunnels galore: Why the Hague, Netherlands, is a kayaking oasis.
How is it possible? How did I live in Delft for a year and never discover the wonderful kayaking oasis of The Hague? The horn you toot to request a kayak rental, free candy thrown at you by a friendly (?) passerby, fries that are lowered down to you by rope and pulley, gorgeous parks, a local brewery stop, and much more.
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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