On April 7th, 2019, the first kayakers of 2019 set foot on the Marker Wadden islands. The islands are nestled in the northeast corner of Markermeer, a large manmade lake east of Amsterdam.
It's late november, but the sun still seems to come out every weekend. 2018 has been a gorgeous year, and it doesn't seem ready to give way to winter yet. Yes, the nights are getting colder, but as long as it's not raining, you'll still find me on the water, with a few extra layers!
This weekend, a group of intrepid paddlers headed out for a local paddle on the Kralingse Plas (lake in Rotterdam). Fiona inspired Marieke to go for a paddle, and Bonnie inspired Nena. And Iede is always self-inspired!
Bonnie, a friend from California who joined me in the Hague and Utrecht a couple years ago, is back in Delft for a month. Apparently, she was not scared away by the torrential rain we endured in Utrecht, and was ready for another adventure. After brunch at Man Met Bril Cafe, we stopped by my apartment to grab piles of non-cotton fuzzy or waterproof layers before heading to the club. It was a crisp fall/winter day, and our bare fingers did not enjoy the bike ride.
Marieke, Fiona, and Iede were already at the club when we arrived. Fiona is a friend of Marieke's who is visiting from Melbourne for work and is training for a kayaking race back home. We layered and layered, with Fiona setting the record at 4 layers on her legs. Armored with our wool hats, mittens, and spray/dry-tops, we launched into the breezier-than-expected lake. Getting my sprayskirt on with cold fingers was more of a struggle than usual. It's really time for me to get a different sprayskirt which better fits my boat...
Have I mentioned that I'm really missing my old boat lately? I've really been craving a chance to paddle the same model (Valley Avocet RM) again, to see how it compares to my new boat. I haven't had the opportunity to make a direct comparison, since there was a 2-year break between the two boats. There's a lady at my club who has the same boat and doesn't seem to use it, but I've never met her. Maybe I should email her...
We paddled around the lake twice - the first time with all 5 of us, and the second time with Bonnie, Iede, and myself. The slanted winter sun lit up the north side of the lake, highlighting a few remaining yellow trees. Iede surprised us by practicing 3 rolls before getting out of the boats. His onside roll was looking great! Nice and smooth. Someone's been practicing :)
Back in the warm clubhouse, we ran into Anaïs (Never Dry member) and Wiebke (mutual friend), who came for a run around the lake. We sipped on tea and had a good chat before parting ways. It was a satisfying glimpse of the role I hope the club will play more and more in my life: a warm space for spontaneous meetings of friends with a common appreciation for spending time outside.
Today we have a guest post by friend and fellow Never Dry member, Nathalie! She writes about a beginner day trip on the Rotte River that I (Nena) organized for new members of the club. Edited and commented by Nena, with comment in brackets .
Today I went on my first official kayak tour with Never Dry!! Destination: Café Oud Verlaat along the Rotte River. [Nathalie and I were joined by Marieke, Francisco, Berend, Kim, Anais, Anton, and Iede, a very energetic, happy, and enthusiastic group!]
The day began with a lot of rain and even some thunder, which made me unsure of whether we would make it to our destination (easily). I rode my bike to the club, arriving damp but excited to paddle and ready to prepare for the trip.
When we recieved an invitation to Tanya and Ken's wedding in Switzerland, I jumped at the opportunity to go on another kayaking and hut trip in the Alps! My first kayaking trip in Switzerland, on Lake Brienz, was (and still is) one of my most beautiful paddling experiences, and I hoped to recreate it on another Swiss lake. We planned to attend the wedding on Saturday, do a hut trip on Sunday/Monday, and go kayaking on Tuesday before flying out Tuesday evening - busy to say the least! Before building it up too much, I'll warn you that the paddling experience was a bit disappointing, but the wedding and hut trip were wonderful!
It was an unusually hot sunny morning as I cycled down the Rotte River towards Crooswijksebocht (literally: Duckweed District Bend, where "bend" refers to the bend in the River). As I approached the bend, I saw a colorful crowd milling on the riverbank. Overheating, I removed my sweatshirt to reveal a bright blue t-shirt: our club uniform. I locked my bike on one of the many temporary bike racks and wandered into the crowd, keeping an eye out for other blue-shirted people.
Linschoten is a small village (~3500 inhabitants) in the Netherlands, between Gouda and Utrecht. Juliette, a fellow kayaking club member, recently moved there, and planned a trip for all of us to explore the area by kayak. This day trip took us from the town of Linschoten through some canals to Montfoort. From there, we rode the Hollandse Ijssel River to the old town of Oudewater, turning right onto the Lange Linschoten River. This lead us back to the starting point, but not before stopping at a "tea garden" along the way!
Last weekend (my birthday weekend!) I spent two extremely sunny days paddling along the IJssel River in good company, with plenty of assistance from the currents. We encountered sandy and very muddy beaches, swirling river currents, a little bit of wildlife (including a partying kayak-polo team), and an evening circus! Read on for photos, a map, and the story.
As I pack my bags for a paddling trip tomorrow, I realize I've forgotten to finish this post about a recent trip to Rotterdam centrum. A couple weeks ago Joachim organized a relaxing/low-key trip from the kayaking club on Kralingse Plas to the center of Rotterdam. We took a different route into Rotterdam than in previous trips. We saw a number of iconic Rotterdam sites, and ended up in the heart of the city during the peak of the Saturday market. âRead on for a short post with plenty of photos from a wintery urban paddle!
Beautiful isolation and mishaps on Lake Manapouri, Fiordland National Park (New Zealand #3)
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.
In this episode of winter boating, we compare the efficacy of canoeing and biking during a rare Dutch blizzard. Back in December, forces aligned to bring a rare snow storm to the Netherlands. This is my 4th winter here, and until now I'd only experienced a few light dustings. On December 10th and 11th the snow (~10 cm?) came down and stuck around for a few days. While children were making snow-people in the streets (ok, I made one too), Nathalie and I embarked on a memorable adventure: canoeing in the snow!
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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