Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Seasonal Baking

Seasonal Baking, Rijswijk, Netherlands, 2011

Traditionally this time of year starts the season of the Christmas Stoll. Based on a recipe in a heavy used, dog-eared German baking book from the late fifties, some family tradition and some 'supervision' (overriding the recipe!), today, I baked two Christmas stollen.

Dunno about other recipes, but this cake's 'consistency' is not available in shops. The same goes for some of the ingredients that are totally unavailable nowadays (or frowned-upon), but that are not missed, at least not by me.

These stollen can hold for many weeks, but I am sure these two will be gone within a week. So I will be baking more then.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11 How crazy can it get ?

This evening Gerard called me to inform me he cannot make it to our annual sea kayak instructors meeting tomorrow. He will be working on the water; he is a Pilot at Europoort, the shipping gateway to the busiest Port in the world: Rotterdam.

He told me of a hair raising incident this evening at around 19:00. He noticed a flashing strobe light and adjusted course of the 130 meter long cargo ship he was piloting (at a modest 8 knots), and again. It turned out that a guy in a seakayak was crossing the Nieuwe Waterweg. Unannounced, in the dark, with only a flashing strobe light...

The guy was picked off the water by police and it turns out he is an Austrian that started two weeks ago in Cologne, Germany on it's way to Great Britain...

In the Netherlands and Germany the 11th of November marks the start of the Carnival (preparation) season; 11 being a fool's number. The 11th of the 11th of the 11th. How crazy can one get? A total loony!

The picture above is of Nico (and me) crossing the Nieuwe Waterweg in August 2003 on our way Around the Netherlands by Sea Kayak. We checked-in at the Europoort Traffic Centre by VHF. A VHF radio is mandatory in these areas and kayakers better stay well clear or prepare the Traffic Centre for it well in advance. Despite good visibility and planning we were still surprised at the speed of these large cargo ships, this only being one of the small ones.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Race

It was to be my return date to get to the Hull ferry, so I was not so sure if I would have enough time to enter the Swellies-Extreme Sea Kayak Slalom Time Trial on one of the biggest tides of the year.

Getting offered an unmarked Rockpool racing kayak by John Willacy to race in made me change my mind. Having not a clue of what I am getting myself into, and not used to a rudder, I was glad that this kayak also had a skeg. My first impression of this 'unnamed' kayak was of it's very dynamic active seating position. Seated in this kayak I wanted just to do one thing, go fast! More stable than I expected, I had no problems with getting back against the tide under the Menai Bridge pillars. So it's speed and forgiveness in rough water and on strong eddy-lines feel OK; no unwelcome surprises so far!

Now to the race. The starting time was carefully chosen for the strongest downstream current and that was it that got me nervous. Not the strength of the tide, but my ferry departure time... Tide and ferries wait for no one!

With one minute starting intervals, I was number 12 in line, Aled's next in line. Shooting through the bridge I was hit by an extremely strong gust of wind (spray flying) and immediately had difficulty getting around the first buoy. Not trying out and using the rudder proved to be a big mistake on rounding the buoys in this force 7, gusting 8/9?, wind. This is NOT a slalom kayak! Aled (with rudder) soon overtook me, but I felt good that I could keep up with him on the crossing to the Swellies island. I got the hang of it but my mind (and kayak) drifted just too much (or was it badly judging the strength of the current) that I missed the far Britannia Bridge pillar; probably disqualifying me from the race...

Anyway, I tried to go around it from downstream, no way in this current. Then to the finish line and without break heading back to the put-in. This proved to be the fun part, using the Anglesey side eddy line, breaking out into the main flow and racing towards the eddy behind the Swellies island. Hugging the Island, breaking into the flow again to ferry glide back to the Anglesey side, from there the big eddy brought me back to Menai Bridge. With a big 'leap' against the tidal drop between the left pillars I made it back. What a rewarding work-out.

Next started the other 'race': getting to my ferry in time. With half an hour to spare I made it.

Other albums:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Surfin' T-Bay

Starting another 'intermediate rough water handling' session on Monday, I found myself with four participants at Trearddur Bay. There was excellent surf and for the first hour we had the whole bay (and the biggest waves) for ourselves. George took great pictures with a good camera with telephoto lens.

See also Picasa for the surfing pictures of the 6th Storm Gathering.

Today, finishing four days of BCU 4* sea leader trainings and assessments with Kate, I am packed-up and ready to head home. A big thank you to Justine for letting me borrow her New Zealand Explorer sea kayak. Wales, Sweden, Switzerland and Sicily have new BCU 4* sea kayak leaders.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

6th UK Storm Gathering

The Storm Gathering has a signature start with force 6 to 7 winds from the south. Our group (as many others) went to Trearddur Bay to look for suitable conditions for an 'intermediate rough water handling' session.

When others asked how my day was it could be best described as a 'fluffy foam pile day'. A participant remarked that it was a good day to clean out the cobwebs.

I will try to upload more pictures to my Picasa album as the event progresses.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Back Home

I settled-in at the Anglesey Outdoors centre. Formerly this was the Anglesey Sea & Surf Centre (ASSC) from where I first experienced tide-races at the sea kayak symposium in May 2000. Things have changed since then, but many things are still very familiar.

With Justine, just returned from Japan, and Barry I set out to what must be my 'home waters' by now; Penrhyn Mawr. With the remaining swell and wind it was quite big. The quartering wind from the stern made it difficult for me to catch straight rides at first.

Today I found another relaxing way to enjoy PM. Maneuvering myself to brace into the biggest breakers side-on and spin the kayak in the foam pile to start a run. And the odd 'catapult' into a surf from a wave braking over my stern. I watched Justine roll and Barry doing a perfect pirouette. I had to roll twice; once to prevent running into Barry. The other time I was caught out in the middle race. Happy to be rolling, despite the 'heavy' (tired) arms.

By the time we were back at Port Dafarch I was exhausted. Enjoying a hot chocolate at Trearddur Bay, a great day at home again.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Skerries in the Sun

I arrived a week early for the Storm Gathering.

Friday I paddled to the Skerries from Cemlyn with Trys, Jim and the Norwegians Jann and Sigurd. The forecast was for some sunny spells, but the whole day was overcast with some fog patches and the Skerries not allways visible. Jann planned to ferry-glide back via Carmel Head. Visibility deteriorated such that we could not judge from any distance how big the tide-races between the Skerries and Carmel Head were. Dropping down to Church Bay was the safer option in this weather and this spring tide.

The next day already I joined on another Skerries trip from Cemlyn. Now it was with Barry who had Michael, Morten and Chris from Denmark. Now it was a sunny day and the Danes had (also) planned to ferry-glide back to Carmel Head. This time in perfect visibility and a little later in the tide than yesterday. We made it back to Cemlyn just before dark.

I have become used to that the sun allways shines on the Skerries, but why did it not yesterday? The only explanation is that yesterday we did not actually land on the Skerries.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Apples and Oranges

With the news of the passing away of Steve Jobs I stand still with what Apple has meant to me personally. While I am not exactly an Apple fan, on the contrary, Apple sure made a major impact at one time in my life.

In 1984, using-up the better part of ten thousand Dutch guilders (then a big sum of money), set aside by an Uncle's will specifically for study purposes, I bought an Apple //e, my first computer. The (too) 'proprietary' style of Apple hardware and software soon had me add a Zilog Z80 card and in came CP/M, the predecessor of MD-DOS and DR Pascal MT+. Cruising me through college and into an IT-career; my previous life.

Up to this day I have not owned any other Apple products. With my IT-background I am very aware of the many innovations that have become synonymous with Apple. The global impact, commercial successes and marketing strategies of Apple under the visionary Steve Jobs. Making Apple more than just a product. I am 'craving' for an iPhone, if not for...

Long time ago my //e moved to my nephews for it's games, but years later I found my carefully put-away original 5¼" Apple software disks again, in memory of...

Steve sure put some orange in life.

Said the apple to the orange:
"Oh I wanted you to come
Close to me and kiss me to the core
Then you might know me like no other orange
Has ever done before"
(Small Fruit Song - Al Stewart)

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Practical Navigator

Once I came across "The New American Practical Navigator", a very comprehensive resource (book) originally written by Nathanial Bowditch in 1802.

With the aging of the internet and the new age of mobile apps it is oftentimes a patchwork of on-line resources that are in various stages of maturity, usefulness and oftentimes outright impractical.

Marine GeoGarage is a true gem for the marine (sea kayak) trip planner. It seamlessly (literally) combines official nautical charts with Google Earth. Currently the nautical charts for USA (NOAA), New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina and the Netherlands are available for free. Other area's, for instance UK (HO), Canada and Australia, require a paid subscription.

The most amazing thing (for me) is the seamless scaling to ever more detailed charts of an area. Moving a slider changes the transparency to identify features between the nautical chart and Google Earth view. To top it all is the possibility to create GPS way-points and routes on-the-fly and export those directly or indirectly to a GPS.

A great on-line navigation tool that is highly practical.

It's a good day
for going to sea
Hanno the Navigator said to me.
(Al Stewart)

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Flat Calm

Today Jan had organized a surf session for Peddelpraat. The absolutely flat-calm sea state was not a reason to cancel the session and eight participants showed-up for a paddle from Katwijk to Noordwijk and back.

Along the coast we frequently encountered stand-up paddle boarders. Passing a family group, they told us it was their first day on a SUP. Starting from Noordwijk they had almost reached Katwijk.

A beautiful relaxing Summers day on the sea for all; sit-in's, sit-on's, stand-up's and the odd stand-in.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Waltzing Vlieland

Our annual September NKB sea kayak instruction week had to cope with strong winds for the last four years. That puts a bit of a strain on both coaches and participants. Despite Vlieland being an island there is only so much one can do in 6-7 Beaufort winds.

Even for the Dutch equivalent of BCU 4/5* it was difficult to get the assessment done in an acceptable remit. Many of these leadership assessments get canceled because of too mild conditions. One day was spent on shore, 8-9 Beaufort, no way! The BCU coaching handbook mantra "challenging conditions, low consequences" almost continuesly ran through my mind. What about an indoor towing session?

One of my favorite play spots is 'de Wals', nothing short of a proper tide-race, the only 'predictable' one in the Netherlands.

On the last day of the week, the weather was finally suitable to get off the island to visit the neighboring island of Terschelling. On the way back, aspirant leader Peter led us close to and ferry-gliding the ebb in the area of 'de Wals'. This late in the ebb, just a very little wobbly patch of water, nothing to play with. Peter, as a good leader, warns us for the approaching ferry and ends with: "Look out for the ferry wake!". I yell "Look FOR the ferry wake!" and off I go.
Local knowledge tells me that the ferry waves kick-up 'de Wals' for about twenty minutes of play time. Do I feel bad about 'deserting' my group? Not quite. Soon we all are surfing the race. What a beautiful day to end the week!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where lightning strikes...

1, 2, 3, 4... Counting time between seeing a flash and the rumble is a good way of telling how far a bouts lightning strikes. Does it move closer, do I need to take any action? Can I stay in my sleeping bag or do I need to get up and huddle with my feet close together on my sleeping pad. Do I need to get out into the rain and run for cover into a nearby building?


The loudest lightning strike I have ever heard with absolutely ZERO seconds between the flash and the bang. It did not come with a warning of a closing-in thunderstorm, nor did any other strike happen after it.
Next morning it transpired what had happened on the adjacent field 50 meters away from my tent, and 20 meters away from the closest inhabited tent. Lightning had struck an empty 'seasonal tent', with some scorching and a blackened cooking unit.
How easy it appears for me (and others) to just register this totally separate from any 'what could have happened?'. I just hope the big metal cooking unit made the difference and I am glad that I generally do not pack the kitchen sink...

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Elfstedentocht (11-cities) non-stop

I Just returned from my second "11-cities, 200 km, non-stop" adventure. It is not a race because it is all about the achievement of completing this distance within the 36 hour time limit.

In my opinion and experience this is not as physically demanding as one might think. It is the psychological aspects that gave me (again) some unwelcome surprises. In my case it was again the sleep deprivation that (for me) takes it's toll in the night-time hours. That almost 'disables' me to paddle at a reasonable speed without frequent automatic "low-brace-skim-the-water" when I 'nod off'. OK, maybe that is a physical aspect. However the frustration about slowing my group down (psychological) is the worst feeling. After an-hour-and-a-half desperately trying fighting sleep I could finally have my 10-minute power nap at the Stavoren check-point and I was OK again.

From Leeuwarden onwards the organizers only allow teams to continue into the night. Teams will form naturally because at that time in the event people will have found fellow paddlers with the same speed and focus.

This kind of challenge is only possible with lots of volunteer help. Jolien took great care of me at all the checkpoints for food and moral support. And there is a great deal of sharing between all the support teams. For the team of Ad, Anneke, Peter and Piet, who I joined for the last 100 km, this event is 'a piece of cake'. That is what we stopped for at Workum; home-made apple pie with cream.

This time it took me and my group members 32 hours (first time 34 hours). My goal this time was to get reasonably fit out of the kayak at the finish. Two blisters at the side of my left ring finger and some chaffing from my back-rest, no muscle pains the next day. There is still room for personal improvement if I ever could deal better with the sleep deprivation issue. So I just might do this thing again to test myself... Have I already forgotten my bad moments? No, my good moments greatly outweigh my not so good ones.

The event is open to all, so if you fancy a challenge in a sea kayak, just contact the organizers at Elfstedentocht non-stop per zeekajak. If you have never been to the Netherlands before, it is also a great opportunity to see lots of windmills and make long-time friendships.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Engelandvaarders Spotted

At about 17:00, after about 43 hours some of the Engelandvaarders have reached Sizewell Beach in Suffolk.

I post this as the Spot messenger marks a sandy beach. Details will probably surface on their Engelandvaarders website, Facebook and keep an eye out for news coverage.

Update: Pictures by Ernst van Erkelens of the crossing are available at This Dutch website is dedicated to all Engelandvaarders.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Engelandvaarders Ahoy

At 22:15 tonight Alec, Ben, Chiel, Ed, Harry & Olly pushed off the Beach at Katwijk. It is anyone's' guess how long it will take them to cross the North Sea to Sizewell in Suffolk. Their own estimates range between 40 and 50 hours.

The press meeting in the afternoon, opened by the Mayor of Katwijk, was impressive. In an informal setup the history of the Engelandvaarders and the achievement of the Peteri brothers was narrated by Niels Peteri, the son of Henri Peteri. For a comprehensive history on the Engelandvaarders and the Peteri brothers, see the team's website:

For all of us it must have felt like pieces (both big and small) of a puzzle fitting together. I think none of the involved could have foreseen what an widespread impact the monument at Sizewell had.

It must have been tough for the guys to be available for all the questions from press and by-standers while they want to get going. The final preparations and departure was filmed by the regional TV station RTV West.

Leaving the beach in the dark, punching through surf, they head into the darkness, much like it must have been 70 years ago, that is without the retro-reflecting tape on the paddles.

Their progress can be followed on their website:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Distance training

Today I joined Ad and 7 other club members of the Culemborg kayak club for a 61 km distance trip. Some of us are preparing for the "11-steden" challenge (200 km within 36 hours) in two-weeks time.

I did not come prepared however for a detour to a relaxing sunshine break at a canalside restaurant in the historic centre of Utrecht. This club appreciates their coffee and cake moments. A great day on and off the water!

A recurring remark was that our next training would be the first 100 km of the "11 Steden Tocht".

To view our route in Google Earth, click here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Engelandvaarders update

On Monday 22 August the Engelandvaarders team will be present at a press meeting that the Katwijk city council organizes at 17:00 at the Zeepaviljoen, Strandweg 2, Katwijk, Netherlands.

Niels Peteri will bring the original folding kajak that the Peteri brothers used for their North Sea crossing on September 19th, 1941.

I got a bit more involved when Ben and Chiel, two young Dutch Marines, joined the UK team and inquired with me to borrow kayaks for the crossing as they did not think their training kayak was suitable. When I learned they used a Navy standard Klepper double kayak I knew that I should not even think of changing the kayak...

That is, apart from advising some air/float bags in bow/stern to increase the buoyancy of an upturned/flooded double. They graphically explained to me what happened on one of their training runs in 1.5 meter surf...

Their capsize in surf gave me a flashback memory of the account of Henri Peteri when their kayak capsized on first launching and half of their equipment was lost, but spares of critical equipment made the difference. The historic relevance of two of the team using the same type of craft as the Peteri brothers is striking.

The team is now planning to set off to cross the North Sea from Katwijk very early on Tuesday 23 August to finish 40+ hours later on Sizewell Beach in Suffolk, the location of the Engelandvaarders monument (see picture).

The latest news can be followed on their website news page.

During the crossing you can check Engelandvaarder 2011 on Facebook. You have to be logged-on to Facebook already for this Facebook link to work.

Update Aug 20: The national daily newspaper "De Telegraaf" ran a full page article on the Engelandvaarders in this Saturday edition's first section.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Paddle (re-) Sizing

Cleaning-out my 'unused paddling gear' section I (again) ran into my first two Lendal Paddles. For many years now these 226cm PowerMaster and 224cm Nordkapp paddles (90 degrees feather!) stand unused in a corner.

I changed to the Nordkapp from the PowerMaster in my first year on the sea after having had to tow for real against a 5 Beaufort wind and going nowhere. I then thought only the smaller Nordkapp blades would be enough... Paddle sizing in those days was just how far you could reach your arm to have your fingers cup over the blade end. The bigger the blade, the better... Times have changed... Now I use a 210cm KineticTouring.

I thought of selling them second-hand on-line, but my coach mindset prevents me of putting someone else up with these (for the general sea kayaker) unsuitable long paddles. Generally, for performance sea kayaking, anything longer than 215cm needs justification (nowadays), taking into account blade size also.

Lendal once explained to me how to remove blades from a broken shaft. The circular cutting (with a hack-saw) makes it easy to 'peel-off' the glued-on shaft (see picture).

In my case there is enough length of shaft left to make it into a 215cm paddle. Removing the left blade allowed me to retain the right-hand 'index' on the shaft. I chose to make the Nordkapp into a 210cm paddle. The PowerMaster 'magically' got transformed into a 205cm KineticTouring. The only bit I need new is the shrink foil for the hand-grip and epoxy to glue-on the blade.

How many donated paddles must there be at kayak clubs with which new club members get introduced to paddling? Are they of suitable length and feather? It is rather straightforward to shorten a Lendal paddle and change the feather to a more ergonomic 60 degrees.

Lendal for many years has been very widely-used in the Netherlands. It is good to know that Lendal is now fully operational again from this side of the Atlantic (UK), after the misfired Johnson Outdoors take-over. Also the founders of Lendal are on-board for guidance and product development. Some very interesting developments are on their way!! It looks like Lendal (again) is the driving force in paddle innovations!

Now my Lendals are 'updated', would I sell them now? No, they are a welcome addition to my extensive set of Lendal PaddLok/VariLok paddles for coaching. Irrespectable of brand name, a suitable paddle length is fundamental for individual (forward) paddling skills development.

Note: Modern Lendal blades (PaddLok), even when they are one-piece / glued-on, have a 8.5cm spigot. The picture in this post is of older Lendal blades that have a 6cm spigot.

Note: If you want to make a split paddle out of a Lendal paddle, consider buying a 2-piece PaddLok shaft (specify the length of the paddle-to-be). While a bit more expensive, it turns the paddle into a very durable split that is suitable for everyday use. A spring-button-only joint (non-PaddLok) wears the shaft out.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Ray Goodwin Canoeing

On the way to North Wales and Anglesey, Karien and I dropped by Ray Goodwin for a cuppa. It was great to learn that he was at home so I finally had a chance to meet Lina and their daughter Maya. Ray made us a great omelet for lunch and we had lots to talk about.

Ray was thrilled to show me the first production copy of his ground-breaking canoeing book. It will be delivered to distributors and shops nearby you as we speak. What a timing! Long in process (quality takes time) it is out now! Make sure you secure your copy fast as pre-orders on Amazon have already sold out. You can also order your (signed) copies directly from Ray Goodwin.

I am in Wales to pick-up sea kayaks and take care of some BCU stuff that needs attending. Fortunately, good friend Karien is accompanying me and we make a bit of a holiday out of it, as compensation of not having been at the Anglesey symposium this May.

While Ray is now most widely known for his canoeing, he has been guiding sea kayaking trips in Scotland and Pembrokeshire for the Dutch Peddelpraat club for about 14 years now. Next week he takes them on a trip to the Outer Hebrides. He also has been an inspirational guest coach at our annual Peddelpraat sea kayaking week in August.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Doesn't sound right

In the weekend of 5 to 7 Augustus 2011 international championship powerboat races are held off Den Helder.

As a sea kayaker I feel strongly involved with the Nature values of the Waddensea. Besides enjoying nature and the sport of sea kayaking, there rests also a clear responsibility on the sea kayaker on how to sensibly deal with the natural environment. Even when choice of destinations and routes become more regulated, as has been the case in recent years, with the expansion of prohibited areas in the Waddensea.

It is unbelievable that the Province of North-Holland has issued a 5-year license for this Grand Prix of the Sea event. An event that can act as precedent for further polluting activities (power boating) in this environmentally sensitive area. Note that only in 2009, with great national publicity and pride, the whole Waddensea was granted Unesco World Heritage Site status. This event is not something the Province can be proud of.

I can only guess to what extend noise levels regulations will be exceeded during this event. Observing the rather short and very winding 'race-track' close to shore, public and housing estates, I wonder if all environmental and safety risks have been fully addressed.

Furthermore what will be the impact on the seals and birds on the Noorderhaaks sand spit prohibited area? When, in de days before and after the event, everything that has 'power' will congregate at Den Helder and sure want to 'race' around Noorderhaaks. Whether or not staying (just) outside of any prohibited area's, the noise will be horrendous and continuous. Currently this IS already sometimes an issue with jet-ski's. Experience of the past years shows that the seals (and high-water-refuge resting birds) do not care about the restricted areas and can be found in numbers at any place on and off the Noorderhaaks sand spit.

Within the Dutch sea kayaking community there is a continuous awareness building effort to have all sea kayakers understand their possible negative impact on nature and advice them of the do's and don'ts. Personally I am now much more aware than just five years ago. And then this happens... We're set back twenty years.

It remains to be seen how badly our annual Peddelpraat sea kayaking week is affected by this event that runs in the same week. Peddelpraat can start to plan leaving North Holland and look for another venue for it's sea instruction week. Where to go?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Fight

Sometimes I think I hear glas breaking,
thoughts that confuse me,
to a sound not even loud
sometimes sounding familiar,
but seldom directly recognizable.
Waking-up I rub my eyes and see
in a scene in-between Brueghel and Bosch
no one gives a damn about the siren
because giving an 'all-clear' takes less effort
it smells of 'Kristallnacht'.

Es kütt vüür, dat ich mein, dat jet klirrt,
dat sich irjendjet en mich verirrt,
e Jeräusch, nit ens laut
manchmol klirrt es vertraut
selden su, dat mer't direk durchschaut.
Mer weed wach, rief die Aure un sieht
en'nem Bild zweschen Breughel un Bosch
kei Minsch, dä öm Sirene jet jitt
weil Entwarnung nur half su vill koss
et'rüsch noh Kristallnaach

My very best effort of an English translation of "Kristallnaach", a true masterpiece by Wolfgang Niedeken & Bap that is in Kölsch (Cologne, Germany city dialect). Use CTRL-+ (Windows) to enlarge the text.

Today, Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders, who's party helps the current Dutch minority coalition Government to a majority, who described Islam as "fascist", has been cleared by court of inciting hatred against Muslims (more on BBC news).

To put things in some perspective I collected some of these so-called "gross and denigrating" remarks (2004-2009) and I transposed references to Islam, it's followers and terminology to another religion. The few remarks that do not reference a religion are 'just' word-by-word translations. This (my) freedom of speech in no way should be considered to be inciting hatred against Jews. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Why do we not dare to say that Jews should adapt to us, because our values simply are higher, better, nicer and more civilized? Forget integration, assimilation! After that let the yarmulkes blow in the wind on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Ik eat them raw.

Should it ever come to racial rioting, which I really do not want to, it does not automatically work out negatively.

We should stop the immigration of Jews.

I want to burn (take) down synagogues... I will be the first to set them on fire (brick them shut).

Netherlands is 'fuller than full' with regard to non-Western immigrants, particularly Jews.

Article 23 of the Constitution remains, but Jewish schools may not be established.

In this country we suffer an equality syndrome. Different situations do not have to be treated the same. Judaism is such a different case. Therefore we treat Judaism differently. I will not give in to a culture that is alien to us. So no Jewish schools. That is the principle.

Dealing with Judaism and Jews in our country should be less free-and-easy. The analysis is clear, we have a big problem with Judaism in the Netherlands. Immigration of Jews should be prohibited. We must learn to be intolerant to the intolerant, on the street, in the synagogues and in court. We must respond to the hate and violence of the Jews with exclusion and intolerance to show who is the boss in the Netherlands.

We must stop the tsunami of the Jews. Of a tsunami of an alien culture that is becoming more and more dominant. This must be halted to a stop.

Dutch culture is a thousand times better than Judaism.

New Article 1 of the Constitution: Christian, <Jewish> and humanist culture should remain dominant in the Netherlands.

I came here to warn of another danger: Judaism. Judaism appears as a religion, but now it has another purpose; domination of Palestine. It is not a religion, it is a political ideology. It demands your respect but has no respect for you.

I Propose the withdrawal of all hate speech legislation in Europe.

The first Jewish invasion... in the forties was stopped by Adolf Hitler when fortunately 6 million of them were gotten rid off. The number of Jews in every European country is since growing to alarming proportions. The party, with all their might, will oppose this Jewish invasion attempt.

It is wholly undesirable that New York counts no less than 177 nationalities.

We want a lot. Close the borders, no more Jews in the Netherlands, deport many Jews from Netherlands, denaturalization of Jewish criminals...

If Jews want to stay here, they should tear out half of the Torah and burn that.

But I do not want any more Jews in the Netherlands, I would prefer that there be even fewer. So I want the borders closed to Jewish immigrants. I would also like to encourage Jews to leave the Netherlands voluntarily. The demographic development must be that there is only a minute chance that again two of them have seats in Parliament. There is now too much Judaism in the Netherlands.

I would not like to see a growing number of people, perhaps in the future a majority of the population or government to consist of Jews.

Israel should not be allowed to join the European Union.

We see that Judaism is a major threat to the freedom of others. When you see how Judaism wants to dominate and make the lives of others very difficult. They come not to adapt, but to dominate.

I've had enough of the Torah in the Netherlands: ban that fascist book.

And the Torah is the "Mein Kampf" of a religion that seeks to eliminate others...

The core of the problem is the fascist Zionism, the sick ideology of God and Jesus as embodied in the Hebrew "Mein Kampf": the Torah.

Those politicians do not care about the interests of Dutch citizens and contribute to the transformation of the Netherlands in the province of an Israeli Jewish super state Zion.

Judaism is an alien culture that is not allowed to be dominant anywhere.

I spread no hate, that is what the Jews are doing. Zionism is fascism. This is not what we want here.

The House urges the Government to introduce an immigration stop for immigrants of Jewish descent, not to allow any new synagogues, close all Jewish schools, to ban the yarmulke and to deport criminal Jews - if necessary after denaturalization.

A pogrom against Judaism. We are here today to voice our concern of the growing Judaism in the West. We do this in this city, the city of Berlin, the city that, together with Rome and Athens, symbolizes our ancient heritage. We all carry Germania in our blood, in our genes.

Our indigenous population is less rapidly reproducing than immigrants. Now there are immigrants, mostly Jews, mainly in big cities. In twenty years they are everywhere, from Orlando to Alaska, from San Diego to Boston. We sell our country to the devil called Judas, and nobody does anything about it.

I want a new Article 1, in which the "Leitkultur" (not translated German word) of the West is expressed. In my opinion there can be Christian schools in the Netherlands, but no Jewish schools.

Our culture is better than that of many immigrants.

I will burn down Jewish schools, because I believe they are dangerous, fascist institutions where young children are being grown up in an ideology of hate, intolerance and violence.

Deport the Jews who cause problems, with family and all.

Many fundamental problems in the Netherlands, such as infrastructure, traffic jams, housing problems and the welfare state are ultimately directly related to immigrants.

Migrants are a fact, and their hypothetical absence of the Dutch reality may well be my utopia, but it is not realistic.

Do you realize that by setting up polling stations in synagogues, in a sense people are forced to enter these buildings to vote, even if they do not want any involvement with this barbaric Jewish ideology. Don't you also agree that this it is a completely different situation when a polling station is located in a church, because a church is not a symbol of an evil totalitarian ideology but a religion that many hundreds of years has been part of our Western culture and thus forms the basis of it?

I do not believe that cultures are equal. Our culture is much better than the backward Jewish culture.

I do think there should be fewer Jews in the Netherlands.

I think the ideology of Judaism to be abject, fascist and wrong.

God is a scary devil we do not have to worship in the Netherlands. Not out of hatred but out of pride and self-preservation of our Dutch identity and our Western values, I defend an immigration stop of Jews.

Do you agree that when children of Jewish parents persistently spoil things and come into contact with the law, the family must be denaturalized and deported?

Jews need be to taught about the standards of care and values of our dominant Christian culture.

Judaism infiltrates the Netherlands, no, even the entire West. Not only the German Reich fights an existential struggle, also Europe.

Immediately stop all immigration of Jews. Close all Jewish schools, those schools where there is "Apartheid" (not translated Dutch word).

Article 23 of the Dutch constitution, which states that any group can establish their own schools in the Netherlands, should be abolished for the Jews. I am a strong advocate for freedom of education, but not for Jewish schools.

Therefore: time for spring cleaning of our streets. If our new Jews want to express their love for this seventh-century desert ideology, they better do that in Israel, but not here, not in our country.

This country has excise duties on petrol and diesel, parking and dogs, had a flight tax and has a packaging tax, why not a tax on yarmulkes? A head-rag-tax. So we finally get some payback for what has cost us so much. I would say that the polluter pays.

Everyone adapts to our dominant culture. Anyone who does not, won't be here in twenty years from now, will be deported.

Jews who currently live in Germany or Europe, could well be able to go to Israel. Greater Germany can rightly claim Lebensraum.

NOTE: Anyone offended in any way by above statements should take into account that these are political statements in the context of the political debate that, made by a politician, as such cannot form the basis of any prosecution by a Dutch court of law as of today.

Article 1 of the Dutch Constitution
"All persons in the Netherlands shall be treated equally in equal circumstances. Discrimination because of religion, belief, political opinion, race, gender or any other grounds whatsoever shall not be permitted."

P.S. Wilders announces that he wants to remove the criminal law chapters that deal with (the prevention of) encouraging hate speech and discrimination, in favor of widening the freedom of speech.

In the calm before the storm, what is it?
Those that surreptitiously leave the city.
Dignitaries hurrying past incognito,
officially not wanting to be part of it,
when the masses always ready
Raging towards boiling point and shouting:
"Heil? Halali" and boundlessly aroused,
roars for retaliation, trembling for envy
during Kristallnacht.

En der Ruhe vür'm Sturm, wat ess dat?
Janz klammheimlich verlööß wer die Stadt.
Honoratioren inkognito hasten vorbei,
offiziell sinn die nit jähn dobei,
wenn die Volkssseele - allzeit bereit
Richtung Siedepunkt wütet un schreit
"Heil - Halali" un grenzenlos geil
noh Vergeltung brüllt, zitternd vor Neid
in der Kristallnaach

But those that resent who are different,
that go with the flow, as one should be,
for who gays are criminals,
foreigners scum,
needing someone to seduce them.
And then no cavalry comes to the rescue,
not even Zorro cares.
He pisses merely a "Z" in the snow
and falls over, babbling with negligence:
"So what? Kristallnacht!"

Doch die alles wat anders ess stührt,
die mem Strom schwemme, wie’t sich jehührt
für die Schwule Verbrecher sinn,
Ausländer Aussattz sinn
bruchen wer, der se verführt.
Un dann rettet kein Kavallerie,
keine Zorro kömmert sich dodrömm.
Dä piss höchstens e "Z" en der Schnie
un fällt lallend vüür Lässigkeit öm;
"Na un? - Kristallnaach!"

In the church with the Franz Kafka clock,
without hands, only lines,
a blind one reads to a deaf:
Struwwelpeter fairytale,
behind a triple-locked door,
The watchman with the keychain
in earnest thinks he is something like a genius,
because he pulverizes all the ways out
and sells against claustrophobia,
during Kristallnacht.

En der Kirch met dä Franz Kafka-Uhr,
ohne Zeiger, met Striche drop nur
ließ ne Blinde nem Taube
Strubbelpeter vüür
hinger dreifach verriejelter Düür
Un dä Wächter 'mem Schlüsselbund hällt
sich em Ähnz für jet wie e Jenie,
weil'er Auswege pulverisiert
un verkäuf jäjen Klaustrophobie
en der Kristallnaach.

Meanwhile, on the market-square maybe
unmasked, today with their real face,
collecting stones, sharpening knives,
on those that are already denounced,
the lynch mob rehearses in front of the most recent court.
Only loosely moored for loading,
- the galleys stand already under steam -
waiting for slaves in the harbour,
at the scrap from an unequal struggle,
of the Kristallnacht.

Währenddessen am Maatplatz vielleich,
unmaskiert, hück mem wohre Jeseech,
sammelt Stein, schlief et Mezz,
op die, die schon verpezz
probt dä Lynch-Mob für't jüngste Jereech.
Un zem Laade nur flüchtig vertäut
- die Galeeren stohn längs unger Dampf -
weet em Hafen op Sklaven jewaat,
op dä Schrott uss dämm ungleiche Kampf
us der Kristallnaach

Where Darwin can be used for everything,
whether for deporting or torturing people,
where behind power money is,
where to be strong the world is,
disfigured by obedience and stand to attention.
Where hymns even can be blowed on combs,
in a barbarous desire for profit,
"Hosanna" and "Crucify him!" yells,
whenever just any advantage is to be seen,
every day is Kristallnacht

Do, wo Darwin für alles herhällt,
ob mer Minsche verdriev oder quält
do, wo hinger Macht Jeld ess,
wo stark sinn die Welt ess,
vun Kusche un Strammstonn entstellt
Wo mer Hymnen om Kamm sujar blööß
en barbarischer Gier noh Profit
'Hosianna' un 'Kreuzigt ihn' rööf,
wemmer irjend ne Vorteil drin sieht
ess täglich Kristallnaach

Kristallnaach - Wolfgang Niedecken & Bap

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rock Solid Rolling with Helen Wilson

I just returned from a weekend Greenland rolling event with Helen Wilson. This event was organized by Greenland kayaking enthousiasts Freek and André. Generously sponsored by Tahe Marine and Arjen Bloem, a whole fleet of Greenland kayaks could be used for the classes. The question by a video news reporter "What makes (Greenland) rolling so difficult?" could not have been better answered by one of the participants with: "Well, in fact, it is not that difficult at all!"

Video courtesy of OmmenLeeft.NL

It is no secret that Greenland rolling is all about body movement. Seeing (and hearing!) participants arched backs wiggling themselves back on the back-deck show that even the arms (let alone a paddle) sometimes interfere with the understanding how rolling could be 'effortless'. Who to learn it better from than someone who thouroughly understands Greenland rolling? Helen introduces fresh and original ideas for Greenland rolling progressions.
I had not practiced Greenland rolling for a while. Just recently I hurt my back and the morning yoga session with Helen showed me how shockingly inflexible I am at the moment. The more surprise it was to me that all the rolls I ever managed to pull off in the past never felt more easy than this weekend. So for me there is still a lot of potential for improvement and it continuous to counter-act any 'aging factor'. So far my Greenland rolling gets easier and better year by year...

For the first time ever I managed a brick roll (and at the first go) and I was amazed how easy that went. The participants that did not own a Greenland paddle did a good deal at the event, so this is likely to spread in the Netherlands...

If Helen is near you, make sure you book your place! Check-out Helen's website for upcoming events. Currently she tours the world and she will be at this year's Storm Gathering in Anglesey this October.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Helen Ready !

I needed some (p)repa(i)ring for the Helen Wilson event that Freek with support from Arjen Bloem and Tahé Marine are organizing upcoming weekend.

I tore my latex neck gasket in my dry-suit. Amazingly this is my first gasket replacement ever. My dry-suit is now four years old. I have yet to replace any wrist seals. I have to add that I wear my Kokatat stuff thread-bare. This is a bit different from what I hear that many have to replace their neck gaskets (bi-)annually. Anyway, my guess is that being bald (no fatty hair) has some advantages after all. Furthermore taking very good care of the seals might also have helped!

The Helen Wilson event is generously sponsored by Arjen Bloem and Tahé Marine. I am only to bring my own Greenland paddle. That is, it is one of Freya's and made by Don Beale, and it is black. It goes well with my black dry-suit and a (probably) black Greenland-T kayak that I can try.

Although the Greenland rolling still remains a bit off main-stream sea kayaking, the rolling progressions (body awareness) of Greenland rolling are highly recommended for anyone wanting to learn (and coach !) rolling, regardless of kayaking discipline.

P.S. I opted to remove the complete gasket from the fabric, because the latex had started to go a tiny bit loose from the fabric. Now I understand the Kokatat recommendation not to completely remove the gasket when not needed... It is a lot of work. The gluing was easy with the custom-made wooden (and no-stick Trespa) rings.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Gimme Shelter, Gimme Wind

During the Ascension day weekend, I went on a three-day ramble with the NKB. Starting from Kornwerderzand to Vlieland is a seldom paddled (longer distance) route. Originally just as a participant. Because 16 paddlers signed-up and not to disappoint half of them, I agreed to head-up one of the pods. Beautiful sunshine on a mostly windless day on this five hour paddle.

The forecast for the next day was a bit more wind... With a force 5-6 Beaufort tailwind we made it to Texel. Finally I had a chance to try out my sail in strong winds. The GPS logged a max-speed of 9.5 knots for combined sailing and surfing. That is not a good speed to stay with a group, without continuous breaking strokes. So I reluctantly put down the sail, to try it again for a bit at different wind angles. The picture above is of part of the group take wind shelter behind a beached ship on the Vliehors sand flat during a short break.

How to get back to our cars with a north-easterly strong wind warning (6 Beaufort) in effect? With the group experience of the previous day it was an easy decision to go (mostly) downwind to Den Helder. There a group taxi was arranged to get the drivers back to their cars at Kornwerderzand.

It is not often that we can paddle in these conditions with a capable group, to have a group build upon their comfort zone on a (no landing) trip. And to have aspirant trip leaders and an aspirant sea kayak coach take the lead at the upper end of the award and remit.

If you want to open the GPS track directly into Google Earth, you can open or download it from here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


The proliferation of the Facebook like button that is popping-up on just about every website got me annoyed to a point where I was becoming angry.

Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry...

How about a Dislike button? While I cannot write 'viral' code to have that inserted on every website on the internet, I was just angry enough to make something for my own blog and to learn from it and from you :-)

So if at any time you get annoyed by my posts or my website. You can click your annoyances away with my Dislike button.

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows

(Subterranean Homesick Blues - Bob Dylan)

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Yesterday I went on a Peddelpraat club trip from Zuidbout to Sophiahaven, crossing the Oosterschelde. It was a gorgeous day with highlights of seeing two porpoises and a 'sleeping' squid (Zeekat / Sepiida). Apparently this time of year these squid are in the Oosterschelde to mate. This one did not look alive, until it got startled by Jan and shot off into the deep leaving an ink cloud behind. My first glimpse of these 'owners' of the white skeleton shells that wash upon our seashores.

Chatting to Roland, I learned a bit about sea kayaking in Belgium, or should I say the lack of. In Belgium one cannot legally paddle on the sea above force 3 Beaufort. That might be a reason that more and more Belgian paddlers show up at Dutch sea kayaking events and trips. And the Zeeland tidal estuaries are close enough for great sea kayaking.

Another interesting bit is that in Belgium, sea kayaks need to be registered with a name and have a certificate of registry plate riveted on the deck. Reminds me of a discussion about French regulations were a sea kayak has to have rigid floatation in the form of fixed foam in the bow and the stern; float bags not accepted. If European rules are to be 'harmonized' to the strictest rules of member states, where could I go to paddle on the sea?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Germany to Australia

Yesterday, Sandy Robson started on her multi-leg, multi-year, kayaking trip from Germany to Australia. Retracing as much as possible the route that Oskar Speck started on 14 May 1932.

I think it is quite an interesting coincidence to have two kayaking expeditions being 'launched' in these past two weeks that have high relevance to the 2nd World War; see also my previous post on the "Engelandvaarders".

Oskar Speck's enormous achievement never made any headlines in his time. He completed his 50.000 km (!) trip while his country was starting the war with the rest of the world and Oskar spent the rest of the war in Australian internment as an enemy foreigner.

Above is not hiding a rude word, although that could well be the case while I tried to make an RSS-feed out of Sandy's website expedition update page. To my knowledge, Sandy does not (yet) offer an 'automated' blog-feed on her Expedition website. Using the internet services Open Dapper and Yahoo Pipes I set out to make something out of it and the above piece of Regex code made it work. Not for the fainthearted! I could have pulled all my hair out (if I had any left) to produce myself this magic bit of code that I needed for it to work, to no avail. Luckily I found it on the Internet and thus make Sandy's progress available on my Expedition blog roll. Click on the post title (day) to directly jump to Sandy's Expedition website from the blog roll.

It's a long way there, it's a long way to where I'm going...
(Little River Band)

Monday, May 09, 2011


On UK Rivers Guidebook Sea Kayak Forum my attention was drawn by a Dutch word on this English language forum: "Engelandvaarders".

A team of three British paddlers is preparing to cross the North Sea from the Netherlands in August this year. Their website is very thorough on explaining the history of the Engelandvaarders and in particular of the achievement of Henri Peteri and his brother Willem, for the English speaking community.

It triggered memories of many years past. In August 1996 I attended the Peddelpraat Sea Kayak instruction week in Zeeland. It was my second year sea kayaking. Peddelpraat has a long standing tradition for inviting inspirational sea kayak coaches over. This year Nigel Foster was present. One of the evening lectures was by Henri Peteri, an Engelandvaarder.

Henri's lecture had us glued to our seats and listen in awe. What I vividly remember is his account of the loss of half their equipment on a capsize directly on launching. They had two compasses, one survived, two watches, one survived, three torches, one survived.

Nigel Foster wrote about this encounter in the August 1996 issue of Sea Kayaker Magazine. A Dutch translation appeared in the Peddelpraat club magazine #145 of November 1996.

As far as I know only three Dutch paddlers have crossed the North Sea after the war. Hans M-H. and Rick D. crossed the North Sea from Westkapelle to Harwich in 1989 in single kayaks. In August 1999 Hans crossed again, now in a double with Gerard G.

Again the Peddelpraat sea instruction week proved a rare coincidence for me to learn about it, as Hans had just returned from the crossing by ferry. After dropping off Gerard in Zeeland he decided to stop-by the Peddelpraat campsite. He had me puzzled when he told that he had not paddled on the sea for a year before the crossing, quickly adding that on the conditions he had been planning it to do, it would be the same as 'just' a long flat water paddle. He had waited for a stable high pressure system that produced weak easterly winds, and August was the most reliable month to plan this. Hans wrote about this crossing in the 1999/2 NKB Mededelingen.

Henri Peteri passed away in 2007. On the website of Alec, Ed and Harry, I saw this picture of a beautiful monument that was erected in 2009 at the spot where Henri and Willem Peteri came ashore. In memory of the Engelandvaarders.

In memory of the thirty-two young Dutchmen
who tried to escape to England by kayak
during World War II to join the Allied Forces.
Eight of them reached the English coast.

The last living survivor dedicated this memorial
to his brothers in arms who were less fortunate.
He reached England - and freedom -
on this beach on 21 September 1941.

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, May 07, 2011

My 99 Pence Worth...

Justine Curgenven has started to sell her films as on-line (high quality) digital downloads at CackleTV at D-I-Y (download it yourself) prices. From the complete This is the Sea series through the individual episodes of those DVD's and more... Some of these films have not been seen before!

In February 2004, Justine interviewed me on camera about Around the Netherlands by Sea Kayak by Nico Middelkoop and me. While there was hardly any (spectacular) film footage of our trip to combine it with, I had no expectations that this interview would ever make it into any of Justine's This is the Sea DVD's.

How big was my surprise today, that Justine had indeed edited the interview and combined it with the best of the available footage of our trip and more... into a complete, excellently edited, entertaining short film that can be downloaded from here !

Some of you might remember some spectacular sea kayak surf footage in the introduction to the first This is the Sea. This was filmed in Callantsoog in the Netherlands by long-time paddling buddy Nico Pennings. This day is also prominently featured by Justine in the same film.

While I am at this 'not seen before' thing, below picture is of Justine 'imprisoned' on Egmont Key off Tampa Bay in Florida, February 2004. We now know what happened when This is the Sea got released into the sea kayak community.

Interestingly, hearing myself again for the first time after all these years, I noticed that my views on sea kayaking have not changed, at least not my 99 Pence worth of it.

if you're worth more than 99 Pence
those who have a lot and those who have not
remain Francs, Marks, Pesetas or Cents

Lines from "The Root of all Evil" by The Beautiful South

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sun Day Texel

While contemplating about whether or not I should join and commit to an Easter weekend trip with NKB or Peddelpraat, Jan suggested to paddle around Texel on Easter Sunday.

At 06:45 Jan and I set off from Den Helder to cross the Marsdiep. On the Texel side we were joined by Karien. She lives on Texel and started at 06:00 from Oudeschild. The weather was gorgeous with an almost negligible 1-2 Beaufort easterly wind (how fitting!) on a totally flat North Sea.
At 10:45 we already landed at the Cocksdorp on the northeast coast of Texel. We could have gone for a record-time, but to not offend Jan's regular long-distance paddling buddy (and to enjoy this day to the fullest) we left that for another day.

After a long break we left again at 12:30 to get over the Wantij at a time when the tide changes to have the ebb assist us to Oudeschild. A Wantij is the highest part of a tidal flat barrier. At Oudeschild, Karien finished her (first !) one-day Texel circumnavigation. After another relaxed break, Jan and I crossed back over to Den Helder where we landed at 18:00 sharp.
To view our route in Google Earth, click here.

I can now tell that I am officially 'in training' for my second '11-stedentocht' this September. That is just another circumnavigation. In this case on inland waters connecting eleven cities in the Friesland province, a route of about 200 km length to be completed within 36 hours.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


De Volharding on the Bergsche Maas, Netherlands, 2011
Jan asked me if I could assist him on the "Rondje Bommelerwaard" trip for Peddelpraat. This trip used to be advertised as a training-run for the (now defunct because of 'red tape') 140 km GRIMA (Great River Marathon) down the river Rhine from the German Border to Rotterdam.

Apparently his enthusiastic promotion in the club magazine for this 70 km long-distance trip on inland waters did not entice many. At 07:15 we set off with four...

For me this would be the first trip for a long time with these 'kilometer eaters'. Jan (with a buddy) regularly paddles 'weekend trips' in one day; i.e. around Texel. How would I cope, not having been 'tested' for a long time on these kind of distances and sustained paddling speeds.

After a busy indoor week with lots of issues to solve and lots of time behind the computer would I be in any shape to do this today? After half an hour I already knew that I made the right decision. I cannot remember going on a paddle and regretting it, whatever 'mental exhaustion' I would be in.

The first half of the trip is on the Bergsche Maas against a weak river current. The second half of the trip is with the current on the faster flowing river Waal. The trip statistics and GPS track shows that this trip is only 65 km! So that much smaller distance ;-) should attract more paddlers next year!

The trip took us a bit over 10:15 hours of which 8:15 hours paddling time. On this gorgeous day I think we were a bit lazy with three breaks totaling two hours. At 17:30 we were back. At least I feel comfortable (and pleasantly tired now) to join these guys and gal on another long distance trip.

P.S. The historic vessel on the picture that we encountered was named "De Volharding". A better motto than "Perseverance" one cannot find for long(er) distance paddling.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Better Facebook Graffiti

I was about to kill myself again on FB. What is it that makes me 'suicidal' every time I log-on to FB ?

For so many times I tried to enable my blog entries to automatically show-up on my wall. I tried it again yesterday, to no avail. A FB forum thread of more than two years (?!) of people complaining that this supposed FB functionality is not working! I was about to give-up again on FB (that would be forever). I had already let go of most my friends (again). Then some software threw me a life-line...

RSS Graffiti is an add-on application for FB that imports RSS feeds into ones Wall. And it works! The only reservations I have at this point is my understanding of the authorization settings that allows this to happen. With a few clicks it works like a charm.

My main FB 'frustration' however is the proliferation of recent activity notifications. By now I have no clear overview of where I all had to tweak the FB privacy settings to make it a bit more bearable. Being able to see EVERY FB activity of my friends makes me 'shiver'. It is thus not only the clutter on the Wall/Feed pages that annoy me.

Again, just by coincidence, I found out about the Better Facebook browser add-on. Just about anything from big to tiny annoyances can be alleviated with this piece of incredible software. No more activity notifications; the software physically deletes it from FB whenever one loads the profile page. Everything I detest FB for is now 'configured away'. And so much more!

The only thing I could not find is how to hide the FB activity notifications of my friends FB pages... But that would be their responsibility and choice anyway.

With other companies doing a better job than FB, it is just a matter of time that FB will end it's reign. And that there will be better social networking software than FB. Looking in my 'crystal ball' I see the end of FB before the next decade.

Back to work!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Flash Cookies and other Big Brothers

Regular Blog Reader Warning: This is Off-Topic!

A year ago I became aware of a thing called 'Flash Cookies'. Like anything on the internet (and in life) things are there to benefit us or can be (and often are) misused and a lot of shady areas in-between.

Most of us are aware of 'cookies' and know that it is our responsibility and choice to set them according to our privacy preferences. Within a browser session, cookies are for instance used to keep web form input available throughout a session. I have set them to clean them out after closing my internet browser(s).

Cookies are more and more used to specifically target advertising, based on our internet browsing and search activities. And as a result of growing user awareness, cookies are more and more 'disabled' (deleted after sessions) to prevent the build-up of a 'profile' for privacy reasons.

Off course, if one is logged-on to ones Google account and does all the searching from within that Google account, we have no control over that Google tracks all our activities to that user account (and not the IP address). The price of 'free' searching... Probably Google sells this as 'enhancing our searching experience' and to 'better be able to find what we are looking for'... (and target advertising along the way).

But now back to the Flash cookies. Not many sites even work anymore without us having Flash Player installed on our computer. And very few might know about Flash cookies.

Flash Cookies are now massively in use. Just look in the (Windows XP) folder:
C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash Player\\support\flashplayer\sys\

From the moment I read about it, I am thinking of Flash Player (cookies) as the ultimate Trojan. No, you cannot set it through your browser cookies settings. And yes, one finally can find the hidden 'documented' Flash cookies Settings screen.

Now that I thought I am in control of what I allow Flash Player to track, I was astonished to see it is still tracking websites (url's) that I visit, not adhering to my settings what I would think... And also puts that in your local settings.sol file.

Is this a problem?

Well, it depends. I still haven't found what I am looking for. But I do not want to find something that someone else decided for me to find. Anonymous browsing and searching is the way to go. Not that I have something dark to hide.

Remembering a bad experience in Cabo San Lucas (and probably all tourist locations). Being constantly harassed by people trying to sell you stuff for ALL the time you are walking on the street and even during dinner. Wearing a t-shirt with "Do not F#@!ing Harass me!" would not work as I would get more custom T-shirt offers and more, featuring the 'F-word'.

And that is also why Facebook will never become my cup of tea. Seeing the movie "The Social Network" does not help either. Such and such likes your T-shirt and before you know it...

My solution to Flash cookies is something as simple as going back to the 'good-old' DOS days with a batch file that I put in the folder:
C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash Player\\support\flashplayer\


Before running it, save the settings.sol file (that one contains your modified settings) from the \flashplayer\sys folder into the \flashplayer folder.

Adding a shortcut to this FLASHDEL.BAT batch file into my Windows start-up folder solves the issue (for now). If you want to use it, please use this carefully and at your own risk and only if you know your way around WindowsXP (and DOS). And Macromedia will sure change the workings in future versions.

And while this post is already so totally off the topic of kayaking, I could add that WindowsXP will be my last Windows version, having had horrible close encounters with Vista/Seven. And that Microsoft won't be around in ten years time. Time for me to retire from almost 30 years of CP/M, DOS and Windows and back to more kayaking.

And now wondering what Google AdSense will show next to this blog entry.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Porpoises and Purpose

Last week there were a lot of sightings of Porpoises in the Texelstroom off Oudeschild on Texel; much more than usual. So when Karien wanted to check this out, I was easily persuaded.

I joined Karien, Geert and Hauke from the Texel sea kayak club. Just drifting with the ebbing tide towards Mokbaai we soon were amidst a pod of three porpoises that just kept doing 'their thing' without really taking notice of us.

They were all around us. I never have been so close to porpoises before; they generally are quite 'shy'. It was interesting to see them intermittently lie totally still at the surface of the water (resting?) before diving again.

The only 'drawback' was that the porpoises did not care about my positioning with the sunlight to take pictures and shoot some film. With so many camera's ready, we had more than enough good pictures and some really funny shots!

Geert and Hauke both work for the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) and Geert took with him a hydrophone and I could hear the porpoises make a high pitch 'rattling' sound. Also he had a good telephoto camera with him to make the best close-up shots.

Porpoises generally are in this area at this time of year. In the past five years there are increased sightings. Overall we spend more than two hours among them until the ebb tide had brought us and the porpoises to the Mokbaai and we returned to Oudeschild on the beginning of the flood.

Listen for the sound of a Porpoise or read more about whale sightings in the Netherlands on