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!
This is a "Time Capsule" post, meaning it describes a trip from the past which never made it to the blog. This post is short on text but has some of my favorite ever paddling photos! Enjoy :)
Our second day of Vancouver paddling, in October 2016, took us to Deep Cove (click here to see the first paddle). We rented boats from Deep Cove Kayak (at the time, 72 CAD for the day), and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of their rentals. After they heard I was an experienced kayaker, the manager said he had a boat I might like to try. He came back with a beautiful white (carbon fiber?) sea kayak from a brand I hadn't heard of before - Sterling Kayaks, made in Bellingham, Washington. I paddled the "Illusion" model. Apparently they go for $6000+! Price tag aside, it was a wonderful boat to paddle. A girl can dream, right?
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...
After a week on the North Island, we caught the 4 hour ferry from Wellington to Picton. We would spend the next two weeks of our trip exploring the South Island. As someone who loves bobbing on waves in a tiny kayak, I'm always surprised by how quickly I get nauseous on big ships in slightly rough seas. The weather was crappy, so we couldn't spent more than a few minutes outside in the fresh air.
That evening we stayed in a scenic, walk-in, waterside Department of Conservation (DOC) campsite, where we shared the site with one other tent (see album at the end of this post). Early the next morning we drove to the kayak rental headquarters, where we emptied our belongings across their lawn and packed for our first overnight kayaking trip in New Zealand (and Henk's first overnight trip ever!). Destination: Kenepuru Sound in Marlborough Sounds on the north coast of the South Island.
Sooooo I never mentioned it ahead of time, but Henk and I just spent a month in New Zealand!! Get ready - for those of us who have (gradually and begrudgingly) become accustomed to Dutch scenery, it may take a bit of adjusting to the crazy beautiful, varying, dramatic scenery of New Zealand. We went paddling three times, so I'm planning to share three posts with you, and I'll sneak in some of my favorite non-kayaking photos at the end of each post.
For our first destination, I present you: the Bay of Islands, in the northern tip of New Zealand (-35 deg N)...
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
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)...
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!
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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