Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Invasion of "Paard van Marken"

Saturday 52! paddlers gathered at the dike to Marken for the trip to the "Paard van Marken" and Volendam; a Peddelpraat club trip tradition of some decades.

Although this enormous group size (an all-time record) is an outright nightmare for group control, it has become a social gathering of some magnitude, that the organizers try to facilitate as best they can. Marianne, today's overall trip leader, assigned tasks for buddy-ed-up front, back, left and right boundary paddlers.

The whole flotilla moved surprisingly compact towards Marken in quartering force 3/4 winds, every now and then surfing. The 'trick' with the boundary paddlers paying off. And being a social gathering nobody seems to see this trip as a work-out.

Arriving at the "Paard of Marken", a historic lighthouse landmark, for a coffee break probably looked like an invasion by the lighthouse keepers. The lighthouse keeper is planting flowers and we are welcomed.

What do sea kayakers do first when they land? They go for a pee. It has already surprised me often what paddlers think of the best place to pee when there is water all around... Today the favorite spot seems to be the reeds. Not that it provides more privacy. It triggers a strong angry response from the lighthouse keeper, ouch! She tells us that she has to deal with many visitors. Specially for them last year the council established a visitor toilet. She complains about the smell from the reeds she has to cope with. Apparently it is the favorite spot to pee. Only a week before another large flotilla of kayaks invaded their property and did their thing...

So everybody who visits "Paard van Marken", please use the available toilet unit! The picture from above is taken by the lighthouse keeper. Visit their website for more information, stories and beautiful pictures of living at "Paard van Marken" historic landmark.

P.S. The toilet-unit is just out of sight of the Lighthouse keepers, behind the green shed, and it's clean and free!

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