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!
Are you longing for warm, sunny beaches and bright, colorful scenery? Then the Canary Islands are the place to be in January/February, when most of Europe is enveloped in darkness and drizzle. While the availability and quality of rental kayaks are limited (at least on La Gomera and Tenerife), the perfect weather and gorgeous views make sit-on-top kayaks bearable. Read on for more colorful shots!
After starting out the weekend with a fantastic cabrewing tour of Lauwersmeer, it was rise-and-shine at 6am on Sunday for a truly Dutch adventure: WADLOPEN. Wad = mudflat, lopen = walking (in Dutch. In Flemish it means running, which would have been ridiculous). While I've done my fair share of mudflat walking as part of my job in California and the Netherlands, I've never attempted it in a recreational way. We put on our rainbow basketball shoes and trudged 16km across bare mudflat to get to Schiermonnikoog, the easternmost Frisian Island in the Netherlands.
Les Calanques is a 20-km stretch of coast between Marseille and Cassis on the Mediterranean coast of France. The coastline features steep white limestone cliffs interspersed by narrow inlets backed by secluded cobble beaches (only accessible by boat). In July, Emily, Alice, and I went for an afternoon kayaking trip to check out the calanques of Port Miou, Port-Pin, En-Vau, and L'Oule. Click to read more!
[It's been a while since the last guest post - here Bailey describes our final adventure in Norway's Lofoten Islands - Nena's comments in brackets]
I've been convinced it will stop raining for 5 days now. Every opportunity I use wifi to check the weather and still come to the same conclusion that NOW, soon, the rain will stop. In spite of my unfounded optimism, the weather is relentless. Each moment of clearing skies is followed by another squall of cold rain accompanied by heavy winds. In the past few days I've heard myself express joy over even incremental improvements "well I'm really glad it's not raining up anymore", "ah, it's so nice this pair of socks isn't wet yet", "look, I think I can see where the sun is".
Yesterday we went on a ferry-serviced overnight trip on a remote fjord [Reinefjord]. Despite taking shelter in a rickety post office shed on a dock [in the abandoned town of Kirkefjord], pretty much all of our belongings are completely wet and reek of rotting cod.
After a long morning back in town of avoiding weather by eating countless pastries and caffeinated beverages, we decided to finally motivate for an adventure. Convinced the wind has died down and the rain, for real this time, may stop soon, we meander over to the kayak rental company [Reineadventure]. A long haired woolen clad dudebrah (who possibly smells more like dead cod than we do) happily greets us.
A short paddling trip through the city of Trondheim, Norway (spoiler alert: we did not see any Vikings but we did ear whale..).
Nena and Bailey kayak in possibly the most beautiful place on earth and almost get run over by a cruise ship.
It's always been one of my dreams to ride along on a fishing boat and see fish being caught first hand. I just never expected this dream to manifest itself during one of my sea kayaking trips. This weekend it was accidentally realized when we found ourselves on a big fishing boat (sea kayaks on top), plowing through the waves of the English Channel towards Les Iles Chausey - a beautiful archipelago (52 islands at high tide, 365 at low tide) about an hour boat ride from Granville in Normandy.
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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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.
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