Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Monday, March 12, 2007

The other side

Last weekend I spent on the Island of Texel in the north of the Netherlands. The Texel sea kayak club organized two swimming pool sessions. The island paddlers that attended Freya’s Greenland rolling clinic last January were eager to practice more. But not all kayaks are created equal. Although
Dubside (in his excellent "Greenland rolling with Dubside" DVD) says "do not blame your kayak", some kayaks are easier to learn the balance brace with than others. Custom outfitting of the cockpit is another thing to consider. The low pool lighting was excellent for producing some mind boggling shots...
The first pool session being Friday evening, left the Saturday for exploring the Island. Karien took me to the Slufter. This is a part where the dunes are broken-through by a past storm and where high tide enters a vast valley through a maze of channels; a prime bird sanctuary. Jumping channels provided some adrenaline rush. When was the last time that we sprinted and timed a jump across a water channel? Now older (and wiser?) don’t we all tend to consider potential risks more carefully? Sometimes preventing those rewarding jumps into the great unknown? All sea kayaking trips around the Island of Texel pass this spot, but only once before I had a break here (on a memorable trip in 2002), but I had not taken the tide into the valley. 200703100455LKarien knows about nature and she has a good eye for spotting interesting items on the beach between the millions of shells and other debris, like Mermaid Purses (egg cases) of a Thornback Ray (Raja Clavata) (see photo) and the Lesser Spotted Dogfish (Scyliorhinus Caniculus). Thank you Karien for giving me the Latin names that enabled me to find the proper English species names. It is a gorgeous sunny day with a low angle bright March sunlight brilliantly lighting up the surf and deepening the blue of the dune ponds. Saturday evening another pool session; lots of play time. Sunday another beautiful dune and beach walk with Jannie and Karien. Time on Texel appears to run more slowly than on ‘the other side’, a term that the islanders use for the Mainland. Now I am typing this on the train journey home on Monday morning. It appears that 'the other side' skipped a day. Good time on Texel with friends. Thank you Karien, Bart and Jannie for a warm welcome and hospitality on the beautiful island on the (for me) 'other side'.

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