Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

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.