Last weekend I went on my first overnight kayaking trip in Europe! Until now it's been too difficult to coordinate, since I don't have my own car/roof rack/boat. Just checked, and the last times were in 2013 and 2014 on Tomales Bay, California. So it's been a while...
Our destination was West Friesland, a province on the northern edge of the Netherlands that's known for having it's own language (West Frisian - yes, there is also Friesland where they speak Frisian!) and a long distance ice skating race, the 200-km Elfstedentocht (Eleven cities tour) that takes place on the rare occasion that the canals freeze over. Instead of skating, we did part of the tour by kayak!
Just a short post today to share a few photos and stats from my first trip to Grevelingen lake - one of the four (former) estuaries in Zeeland, the most southwestern province of the Netherlands. Read on to find out why my face was caked in salt at the end of the day...
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.
Last weekend some Delft friends and I plopped ourselves into a couple canoes for a cabrewing adventure on Lauwersmeer - a lake adjacent to the Wadden Sea, about 45 minutes north of Groningen. It was my first time sleeping in a tent in almost a year (so sad), and my first time in a canoe since long before moving to Europe. Why don't I do this more often? It was fantastic.
I also did some Water Nerd research about Lauwersmeer, and it has quite an interesting/complicated history of floods, poldering, and damming. If you just want to read about that, you can skip to the Water Nerd section.
Our second adventure in Norway took us to some fantastic stealth campsites and kayaking and hiking on a glacier. What we thought would be a simple kayaking trip and glacier walk turned into quite a suspenseful event involving crevasses and ice caves. Read on... :)
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 weekend I met up with Maya at her grandpa's lake house on Owasco Lake where we spent the day kayaking with her brother Kiran and sister Mallika. We launched from the lake house (east side of the lake) and paddled north. Back in 2010 I paddled around the southern half of Owasco, so much of this territory was new to me.
Yesterday evening turned into Rough Riders Reunion 2014. In the wise (and paraphrased) words of Mike Peet: "Paddling like it's 2009!" The turn-out was fantastic (26 boats!), and the waves were apparently the largest of the summer. It was a perfect evening for rock gardening and practicing towed rescues. A bunch of the original Rough Riders were present, including Jeff H, Mike, Steven, Dan, Jeff B x 2, Rita & Garnetta, Sue, Ann-Marie, Nick, Dave, and I. It was also fun to meet some newer (i.e. in the last 3 years, so maybe not so new) members. Matt from Brooklyn was in the area for a couple weeks and recently bought a boat from BayCreek. I'll be in NYC on Monday to visit friends, and he provided some helpful tips for kayaking around the City...
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.
Email updates on new blog posts, about once per month.
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.