Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Freya Hoffmeister Presents...

My first native language post (almost)... Freya will visit the Netherlands on 27 April for a lecture on her Race Around Australia. Komt dat zien, komt dat zien!

Lezing „Race Around Australia“

Een 332 dagen durende kajak tocht langs één van de meest afgelegen kusten ter wereld - gegarneerd met haaien, krokodillen en giftige zeeslangen, solo en zonder ondersteuning: Freya Hoffmeister (45) uit het Duitse Husum is geslaagd in iets wat vóór haar slechts éénmaal iemand eerder gelukt is: door een man met een begeleidingsteam, 27 jaar geleden.

Gemiddeld bracht ze 11 uur per dag op zee door en legde in die tijd zo'n 60 km af. Deze „extreme“ sportvrouw stak de Golf van Carpentaria over in slechts 8 dagen; een afstand van 576 km, waarbij ze op open zee in haar kajak sliep. Ze peddelde langs drie 180 km lange rotskusten, ook 's-nachts, zonder mogelijkheden tot aanlanden. Eén haai beet in het achterschip van haar kajak en liet daar behalve een tand ook een groot gat achter. Het doel dat ze wilde bereiken verdween echter nooit uit het zicht: Australië rondvaren, een heel continent. Twee „kleinere“ eilanden dienden als „opwarmertje“: IJsland en Nieuw-Zeeland (Zuidereiland), welke ze beide in recordtijd rond voer.

Freya zal op 27 April om 20.00 (locatie wordt nog bekend gemaakt) in een levendige en boeiende lezing verslag doen van haar spannende avonturen.

Reserveringen bij, Tel.: 010-5214333
Meer informatie op Freya's website:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Windmills of our Time

Intimidated by the ever-widening A4 highway to Amsterdam. The Zelden Van Passe windmill of 1642 is marginalized even more since the building of wind turbines next to it in 2005. Driving by this morning...

Windmills trigger the Don Quixote metaphor of fighting unwinnable battles. A phrase not seldom used or implied to marginalize and ridicule concerned 'opponents' of 'the way forward'. Where political spin doctor surgery (law making) joins industry lobbying only to be exposed by meticulous investigative journalism. In politics 'not telling the truth' cannot be proven to be the same as 'lying'.

I think the traditional windmill stands a better chance to survive this century than it's turbine variants. I am not against windmills nor wind turbines; serving only as a metaphor. It is just that I do not trust every wind. Those who sow a wind will harvest a storm.

My first multi-day kayaking trip in 1994 involved paddling under this (then much narrower) highway and past the windmill towards the Kaag.

Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind
(Windmills of your mind - M. Legrand / A & M Bergman)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Somewhere over the Rainbow

Well... Returning to base-camp on February 2nd 2010 for re-supply it started to rain... Very untypical in Baja during Winter. A very rare few drops OK, but this was pouring.
Ginni made the opening picture the next morning; a truly magic double rainbow with blue sky and moon above.

We continued our trip towards La Paz in 'forever' blue skies, more typical for Baja winters.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue...
(Somewhere over the rainbow - Judy Garland)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Amsterdam Canals

Paddling all over the world and today I am paddling for the first time in the canals of Amsterdam.

The season opening trip on the Markermeer was canceled because of the forecasted strong winds in combination with lots of rain... Marianne offered an alternative.

As a child I did a sightseeing trip on a canal barge with my parents. Much later in life I worked near the Amstel river and had my lunch breaks along it.

Apart from the tour boats we had the canals for ourselves. In Summer this must be much different... No one-way streets, no narrow street traffic jams, no parking meters... Would we have been fined for 'parking' our kayaks on a parking lot next to the canal? Amsterdam, a nightmare by car, but today a wonderful place to start the Peddelpraat club paddling season.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Winter End !

I am still there ;-)) Winter is holding on for another few days I think. But today I have come out of my internet presence hibernation. Spending a wonderful and rewarding Christmas with the family extended all the way into January.

Then I spent three weeks in Baja Mexico with a group of Dutch paddlers. Using the logistics and sea kayaks from Ginni Callahan's Sea Kayak Baja Mexico we paddled around Isla Carmen and continued towards La Paz.
Should I say what we've seen and experienced? Or should I keep it quiet? For now at least. Upcoming Wednesday I give a lecture for the local kayak club and do not want to give away too much here now :-)) Still pondering what to do with a most untypical February Baja photo... All part of the Magic of Baja..
Below picture is of the group carrying my kayak towards the end of the trip. They are smiling while my kayak was the only one not to loose weight because it carried all the cooking hardware and all of it's original 26 liters of drinking water.
I enjoyed it as well. Thus I can already spread the word that I secured my slot for another trip in February 2011. Not quite Winter hibernation. More Baja Magic !

Seems it never rains in Southern California
Seems I've often heard that kind of talk before

(Seems it never rains in Southern California - Albert Hammond)