Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Crisis? What Crisis?

Sadly, 2012 saw the passing away of two Dutch sea kayak coaches, way, way too early. And just very recently a sea kayaking friend was diagnosed to be seriously ill and now is undergoing medical treatments with a very uncertain future.

More upbeat: in this year five Dutch sea kayak coaches passed their coach assessment. Some of them almost got lost in and 'crushed' by the 'new' coaching scheme (system). So very glad that they are still with us.

On a personal level I have been struggling to find the right priorities. Sometimes choosing one thing prevents choosing (or having time for) something else. The luxury of having a choice does not make it easy to choose the 'right' thing to do. Sometimes we have to let go because (we think) it is the healthy thing to do.

Mister, you better get a move on
You better get a fix on,
Mmm-you better walk straight.
(Lady - Supertramp)

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Oliebollentocht would translate to 'donuts trip' and is generally referred to as the last (organised) kayaking trip of the year. I joined the Haarlem canoe club (HKV) 'oliebollentocht' through the Amsterdam canals. Starting out grey it turned into a beautiful sunny day.

With no leaves on the trees, Winter is the ideal time to paddle through the canals and see this old city with it's countless historic buildings and landmarks. That is if the canals are not frozen solid. Thanks Nico and Arnold for organizing it and keeping an eye out for the 35+ participants.

These typical Dutch seasonal 'donuts' look (and should look) more like a 'comet from space' and if baked badly would feel just that way when they impact your stomach. However these ones were more than OK and would pass the annual national Dutch donut test.

Would you fancy a trip through the Amsterdam canals then check-out Ailien's new company website for scheduled trips. Yep, she 'stole' the untaken .com domain name, but for good purpose, however with me and my blog totally unrelated. In so far that you might meet me on her trips through the Amsterdam canals.

Ailien offers exciting paddling destinations worldwide for experienced paddlers (kayak and canoe) with quality quiding and coaching and first-class equipment:

Friday, December 28, 2012

The River

With the water levels in the IJssel river at a high 5,90 meters above NAP, Joris, Jos, Grietje and I paddled from Deventer to Zwolle.

I had paddled on this river a couple of times before, but never over the winter floodplains. Things to particularly look out for was not to get entangled in the trees, running in and over barb-wire fences and getting stranded on the occasional shallows. No ferries to look out for because they are all out of service with these levels because the roads leading to them are flooded.

We had lunch in Veessen and could paddle into the restaurant porch. The restaurant was happy to open up two hours early for us to have a relaxed coffee break with Tzech honey cake.

On we went to Zwolle for our take-out and return car shuttle to Deventer.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sand in the Pea Soup

It has been a bit quiet on my blogging. All to be explained by mountainous work for the Dutch sea kayaking committee. The NKB has 'merged' with the Watersports Council and the sea kayaking committee is still a bit in 'limbo' of how we fit in the new organizational structure. But lots of work could be done and has been done. A good moment to review with all the sea kayaking instructors what we are all about and also 'clean-up' our internet presence and website.

The last trip of the season with PeddelPraat, the other 'club' I am a member of, was traditionally the 'Sand in the Pea Soup' trip to Noorderhaaks, weather depending. The 11th of the 11th was a gorgeous day.

At Huisduinen we were waved off by Ron, the original instigator of this 'season's end' trip. Being nearby for a family visit he could not resist checking-up on his 'baby'. Ron is the onlooker in the far right in the above picture.

Paddling all around the Noorderhaaks sand-spit to find a good spot for cooking the Pea Soup proved a bit difficult with seals all over the place. At least that built up some appetite.

Tragic news was that of the stranding of a female Humpback whale on Noorderhaaks earlier this month. A Humpback was frequently sighted along the Dutch coast for weeks before, but it is not clear if this was the same one. Humpbacks are extremely rare sightings in our waters. It was sad to follow the news of the five day struggle. It died very near the spot where we had our soup.

Finally: lots of 'secrecy' about exciting developments for PeddelPraat for 2013 for which Paul and I were keen on 'not to spill the beans', or should I say 'spill the peas' as not to be ending up with sand in our pea soup.

More soon...

Update: Shawna Franklin and Leon Sommé of Body Boat Blade International will be attending the Annual PeddelPraat Sea Kayak Week end of July 2013. So now revealing a bit more of things to come; the BBB logo.