- Inspiration and Planning
- Trip Part 1: Friesland (camping and paddling on a Frisian lake)
- Trip Part 2: Holwerd to Nes, Ameland (some headwinds and waves)
- Trip Part 3: Exploring Ameland (pictures of the island and a mini bike tour)
- Trip Part 4: Ameland to Holwerd (when the currents pushed us home and we did some surfing)
Inspiration and Planning
It began on the banks of the IJssel River. Henk and Berend had just discovered their common love for the island of Terschelling, and as a group we realized that many of us (Berend, Henk, Harold, and I) had never paddled on the Wadden Sea before. The Wadden Sea extends across the northern coast of the Netherlands, and continues up the coasts of Germany and Denmark. It is the strip of water between the mainland and the line of barrier islands that runs parallel to the coast of the three countries. While I'd visited a few times before (bike camping on Texel, wadlopen to Schiermonikoog, and a visit to Ameland and Terschelling), I'd still never dipped my paddle in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area is a kayaker's paradise. At low tide, most of the sea falls dry with the exception of a few deep tidal channels, revealing vast mudflats and sandbars. Birds scamper around on the exposed flats, and seals are a common sighting.
While I've organized plenty of trips with groups of friends in New York, California, and during various travels, this was my first time organizing a formal multi-day sea kayaking trip that required a higher level of navigational expertise and real tidal planning. It was also my longest open water crossing (I think...), and my first time on the Wadden Sea. So, yea, I found the week leading up to the trip a bit stressful, since I felt like I was very dependent on others for getting the trip off the ground. I sent around a proposed plan, and we met on Wednesday evening at the club to iron out the final details.
Trip Part 1: Friesland
After a quick and tasty dinner we continued to campground De Koevoet ("The Cow Foot"). The parking lot was packed when we arrived, but we managed to find a spot. The tent field was on the far side of the campground, so we used the available wheelbarrows to cart our camping gear to our site. By the time the tents were set up, the sun had set and we huddled around a candle and chatted for a while before heading off to bed.
We all slept in a bit on Saturday morning, and had breakfast together (except Iede, who appeared from his tent a couple hours later.
Mike, Marianne, and I paddled up the east side of of De Kufurd Lake. We continued along the "Janesloot" canal until we reached the lake "Langwarder Wieland." It was very buy on the lake that morning, with a constant stream of boat traffic (motorboats and sailboats) passing through the navigation channel. After an hour we turned around and headed back, more or less the same way.
Statistics from the short morning paddle. Continue down for the blog about the Wadden Sea paddle!
Date: Saturday, August 4th, 2018
Duration: 2 hrs
Distance: 10 km
Weather: Sunny, breezy, very warm
Trip Part 2: Holwerd to Nes (Ameland)
Trip Part 3: Exploring Ameland
Trip Part 4: Ameland to Holwerd
During the return paddle, Berend discovered a floating wine bottle, which was sealed with red wax and looked incredibly authentic. Later that evening he sent us an update - it was a Germay family who had thrown the bottle in the sea the day before. Our dreams of romantic pen pals were crushed.
Duration: 2.5 hours to Ameland, 1.75 hours back
Weather: Warm both days, windier on Saturday afternoon (~4 bft?) and calmer on Sunday (~2/3 bft). Not much current heading out on Saturday, lots of current coming in during the paddle on Sunday.
Distance: ~ 11 km (7 miles) each way, except Erik who did 14 :)