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)...
Jan, a fellow member, reached out to invite me on a paddle on the Oosterschelde (the Eastern Scheldt). Normally, new members have to go through a training programme with Iede (starts with an "i"), the resident instructor, but Iede was also joining on this trip and, thanks to this blog, Jan had the confidence to take a chance on me.
The trip was timed such that we'd paddle with the current in both directions, so we had a nice push into the channels. At Rattekaai we landed and took an hour break for lunch.
We dragged our kayaks up the slippery embankment and sat down on the sloped levee, with a nice view of the salt marsh and incoming tide.
For many more photos, and more with people, check out Frank's album!
Distance: 34 km (21.1 miles)
Duration: ~7.5 hours (including 1 hr lunch break)
Weather: Warm, sunny, very calm in the morning, slight breeze in the afternoon.