Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Three of a Kind

An amazingly beautiful December day had us (Ed, Geth, JF, Justine and me) choose to go to Porth Dafarch for paddling Penrhyn Mawr. With near springs and an easterly wind we did not put our hopes up too high. But with a tiny bit of swell PM was magic. After PM died down we took the scenic rockhopping route towards North Stack. North Stack race was messy; more for 'rodeo' than for surfing. At only 14:30, daylight was already starting to fade when we paddled towards South Stack race. Magic again; long and fast runs.

I tried to remember again how it was when I first visited Anglesey in 2000 for the Anglesey Sea Kayak Symposium. Totally new to tide-races I could not even get my kayak to point into the flow at North Stack before being swepped downstream sideways. South Stack race only came many years later. In Penrhyn Mawr it was the local paddlers that showed what was possible. So I tried, swam lots, tried more and harder, rolled, learned more and still learning. Thank you for all the great runs together!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

On the grid again

It has been a very active two weeks for me. First I was on a Wilderness First Responder course in Scotland. A full-on week of intensive classes daily from 08:45 until 21:00; with breakfast before and the shortest of lunches and dinners inbetween.

Last week I spent a week on-board a yacht for a Competent Crew / Day Skipper course around Anglesey with some very interesting and challenging conditions... The few moments off AND with internet I could not be bothered other than essential e-mailing. More about those courses at a later date.

Saturday in Anglesey with a georgeous sunny and windless day. What else then the Skerries? I joined Tavy, Misha, Geth, Rachel & Paul for a paddle to the Skerries from Cemlyn and back.

@Peddelpraat WKC
I hope you all had a productive meeting for next years' Peddelpraat club trip calender! This is only the second time I had to miss this annual meeting in more than 15 years.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Day & Night Skipper

My upcoming sea kayaking trip with a team led by Justine Curgenven on the Antarctic Peninsula in February 2017 involves 3 to 5 days on the sailing yacht Spirit of Sydney out of Ushuaia and back.

I am not sure how I will cope with Drake Passage and life on a 60 ft. sailboat with a total crew of 9 people and watch duties. So I signed up for a Competent Crew / Day Skipper course with Plas Menai. While sailing and life on board would be new for me, at least the area would be familiar.

The week started with a lot more 'excitement' than I could ever have imagined. First day 10:50 AM storm warning for the Irish Sea was NE 9 increasing 10 imminent. Andy was our (Cezar and I) instructor on the Menai III. Despite the forecast we headed out of Port Dinorwic to go through the Swellies. I knew that the Menai Strait was fairly safe in almost any weather, but how far would Andy take us... The Swellies navigation (on motor) was quite familiar, allthough I now learned the transits that make the passage a piece of cake for a 'big' boat, even in this weather.

Once past the Suspension Bridge it was difficult to see (literally) where this could go. Slashing horizontal cold rain in our faces and eyes and a solid gray horizon. We returned and tried to pick-up a mooring south of Port Dinorwic, but the very strong wind, and possibly our limited experience, prevented a succesfull hooking-up to the mooring. So back in Port Dinorwic just in time for the tidal window would close for using the lock there. That meant for the next day again an afternoon start...

Tuesdays 24 hour forecast was 'only' Northerly 6 to gale 8, occasionally severe gale 9 at first in west, veering Northeast 4 or 5 later. This day we headed south towards Abermenai Point, crossing Caernarfon Bar and possibly along the west coast of Anglesey to Holyhead. Not knowing how this would go I had put my Kokatat dry-suit on; at least one thing less to worry about...

I mentioned to Andy that I was happy with my navigation all the way up to South Stack, but that we would hit South Stack & North Stack race against us mid-tide. And by-the-way, from Llandwynn Island onwards it would be in darkness. My thought was that Andy would anchor for the night at Llanddwyn. We continued sailing close-haul all the way to South Stack.

Feeling a bit queasy I did not appreciate the tasks that Andy gave me: to go below deck to log our position. While Cezar kept us on a very steady course. Also all the sailing terminology was new for me and had me mentally focussed and strained on the various sailing tasks we helped to perform. And this all on top of my anxiety of how we would manage from South Stack onwards. In daylight in my sea kayak I would exactly know what and how; even in this wind. Appreciating the cup of tea Andy offered me on approach of Rhoscolyn, I concluded that I could have felt much, much worse.

We dropped sail in Abrahams' Bossom (safety-lined-up) and Andy took the wheel passing close by South Stack; avoiding the race. A very familiar area for me in a sea kayak, but not on a yacht. When I could see the harbour light off the Holyhead breakwater and when I thought we had the worst behind us we hit North Stack race... Now it felt good that it was dark that I could not see the waves... Andy gave me another task: to inform Port Control via VHF of our arrival and route. Focussing on communications, Port Control asking questions, while it is difficult to stay in the seat. I found out that what is not locked into cupboards is flying about in the cabin... Thinking and acting takes a bit more time. As soon as we rounded the breakwater it was flat-calm and at 21:45 we moored in Holyhead Marina; closing traffic. My first day of sailing.

The next day we stayed in Holyhead harbor for dock manouvering, mooring and sailing using all daylight hours, learning to feel the wind.

Because of the wind direction we returned to Port Dinorwic via the West Coast again. Now during day time arriving at Port Dinorwic spot-on 17:00. A georgeous sailing day.

I am a bit more prepared now on how my body and mind reacts to sailing 'rough' seas and in darkness and life on-board a yacht.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Wilderness First Responder

For a long time I had wanted to do a Wilderness First Responder course. When guiding in remote areas, medical help is not allways readily available in both time or distance and as such what is covered with a standard First Aid course not allways sufficient.

I booked my course with WEMSI International that annually runs the Wildernes First Responder (WFR) course at Glenmore Lodge in Scotland. I learned about this course from Rowland Woollven, one of the seven (!) instructors on this course. It is great to be a student of Rowland again.

It was a very intensive 'immersive' 6-day course that filled the days from 08:45 until 21:00. It was full-on with theory and practical sessions. I was glad that my comprehensive Dutch First Aid certificate and annual updates covered lots of theory already. Nevertheless it was 'full-blast' re-visiting that what I should know already topping-up with lots of new theory and practical stuff that I was not trained for in a standard First Aid.

I was clearly lacking the english language names of all the body parts, bones and various medications; something to do before I 'update' my WFR.

Lots of practice, fun and (international) teamwork, as you can watch in below slideshow video of this years' course.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Fishers Island

Today I joined a trip counter clockwise around Fishers Island with Josko, Mel, Harry, Gavin, Archee and Eila. Tides were perfect to have slack (and lunch) off Race Point and all paddling with the current.

On the last stretch from Fishers Island back to Stonington I chose to paddle to the Latimer Light again; a bit of a work-out now against the current for completing the 'circle' of my stay here in this wonderful place.

In the evening the door bell rang frequently for it was Halloween. First time for me to experience this typical US tradition and being able to see all on main street just out of the 1st floor window from the accomodation we are staying in. When I answered the door, one girl was already dragging her feet from carrying her bin-bag with sweets. With one sweet a day, they could well last until next years' Halloween.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

When PANIC sets in

That's how I explained what Keirron just announced to the gathered attendance of the last day of the Autumn Gales Symposium to one of the potential participants of our class. And also what could happen when Keirron explains the day in more detail with his careful chosen words, and you lost your chance to bail out of the class without losing face.

Incident Management is about preventing and dealing with incidents. Keirron wants to take it a step further today; when all has gone utterly out of control and you still have to deal with the mess. And he is an 'inclusive' coach, so ALL are in the water out of our kayaks in no time, including all the coaches.

For me the 'panic' started when I thought I lost my sponge within a minute of launching... In general, all what is not attached to the kayak or person will get lost. I saw quite a few pumps and paddles floating about today. Loose decklines create a hazard. My VHF antenna got stuck underneath the very loose rear deck line. Rope skegs are a hazard. My VHF antenna got stuck underneath the rope of the rope skeg. Anything that sticks out of a PFD is a hazard.

Finally Keirron let an incident go so much out of control in outgoing current (safely), that actually the group decided on adding a fan/husky tow. Why I still don't know, but at least it added to the statistics that a fan/husky tow is not working in 99,997% of towing scenarios. And that a contact tow many times is a more effective option than hassling with any long towline.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Long Island Sounds

I am in Connecticut (first time) for the Autumn Gales Symposium out of the pittoresque 'sleeping' village of Stonington. Acclimatizing today litterally is getting used to the colder weather, just about the same temperatures as normal in the Netherlands this time of year.

I used the afternoon to paddle out to the Latimer Light; two miles out. During the crossing in force 3-4 winds I became aware of some vulnerability for I was not carrying a spare paddle on this solo trip. So I decided not to continue to Fishers Island, another mile out.

Comparing the map with my environment I was helped with the sounds I heared. The Horn off the Middle Ground breakwater and the Bell at the Latimer Light; Long Island sounds.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Old Dogs, New Tricks

Everytime I am in the USA I encounter things that I have not seen before. From the sea kayaking perspective, for instance, I learned standing on my back deck in 2003 and the balance brace (and Greenland rolling) in 2004. And I incorporated lots of new stuff into my coaching.

This time around Liz showed me two new 'tricks' she learned from Cheri Perry [video] ; the easiest ways to get onto the back deck from the water. Forget the scramble/cowboy re-entries... It combines nicely with other 'back-deck' acrobatics like the 'around-the-world' that at first seems quite challenging, but just need some perseverance. It does not have an official name, other than Cheri learned it when she was in Norway. Marsha referred to it as something sounding like the 'the diddely doodely back flip thing".

In below video Liz shows how it looks like.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Myrtle Island

My last day at the symposium we paddled to Little Tybee island and through a complex maze of channels around Myrtle Island. We saw dolphins and some gentle surf. I had some great runs surfing backwards. Thank you Tom for guiding us through the beautiful salt-water reed-sided sloughs. A wonderful warm and sunny Georgia October day.

Thank you Marsha and Ronnie of Sea Kayak Georgia for inviting me over again and running the symposium despite all the uncertainties after Hurricane Matthew, and for using Marsha's personal Romany; a coaches' dream sea kayak. Thank you Marc and Regan for taking all that good care of us.

And yes, those new 'tricks' I mentioned earlier... Upcoming...

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Rough Water & Surf

Two days of "Rough Water & Surf" brought us off off Little Tybee Island to play with surf over offshore sand bars. Wave refractions allowed for surfing both ways over the sandbar, sometimes hitting the clapotis/zipper for a splash. And careful to not run into the dolphins that we frequently saw.

Back at the beach I tried-again two new alternative re-entries, that Liz showed me yesterday; nailed it!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Tybee Time

It is great to be back at Sea Kayak Georgia for their annual sea kayak symposium. My first visits were in 2003 and 2004.

Tybee Island offers a great variety of paddling opportunities as you can see from the below map. The famous 'triangle' is a sand bar out of Tybee Creek that has surf, races and confused seas all around it. A very dynamic area for tides and waves in (for me) High Summer temperatures.

Evertytime I am here I learn new great stuff. More to follow...

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Stacking it again

A beautiful sunny day generally means I favor paddling out to the Skerries. Lucklily I did not do that today and went along for 'stacking it' again. For one, it's grey seal pupping season. Steve told me that the Skerries is full of them now; not to be disturbed. The other reason that today was the best South Stack race I ever paddled. Maybe even my best tide-race surfing ever.

With all the South Stack magic, I almost forgot that we had more than an hour great surfing at Penrhyn Mawr before heading on to North Stack. I had to do two precautionary capsises of which one I swam aferwards and had to do a re-entry. So exhausted I was that I could not hold my breath anymore after the first failed attempt to roll.

All of the beaches were taken by the seal pups. The only undisturbing lunch spot we could find was a rock ledge beyond North Stack in the shade. Out of the sun it was chilly.

After lunch, North Stack was very dissapointing for surfing. We continued directly to South Stack to find the most wonderful running race. Sunshine made it all less scary. Wave after wave. Sometimes broaching, bracing and sometimes just continueing the surf after broaching when pivoting on the foam pile and down again, go, go, go... Magic!

Steve and Ed just kept on going when I thought it would be enough. I imagine when the locals do not want to stop or had enough, it must be very special. There is no eddy at the race, so it is full-on all the time. The eddy is 10 minutes paddling to South Stack and 10 minutes back up again to drop into the race again. With Ed, Steve, Zoe, Tavi, Gerard & Lianne. Hope to be back again in November.

Saturday, October 01, 2016


I checked if the "Saturday Club" would be paddling today. They're all out paddling allright but working... Ed texted me that it would be 'Stacking'. Porth Dafarch was full of sea kayakers (and cars) as when it would be at a symposium. School groups, Coasteering, 4* Training, and us two. The weather is a bit grey and drizzly but the sea water is still comfortably warm.

By the time we made it to South Stack the tide had already turned. North Stack was rushing, but too fast to catch waves. It does not help when it is blowing force 4 WITH the current. So we dropped down to South Stack. I was a bit intimidated by the sight of it. I saw surf-like breaking waves with 'tubes' and spray blowing off the tops like on a good beach surf day, but this is South Stack. Memories of many years ago of being trashed there gets me a bit more cautious today and I aim for the side of the race and go from there. South Stack was even worse with the wind. Forever on the pivot point on the wave hitting a wall of wind and only once dropping down for a long surf. Too much hard work on the arms and shoulders (and feet); exhausting... Once off the front waves, never making it back where the real action is.

Back in the eddy at South Stack for a short rest and one more go. Not before we are hit by a heavy squall; hurting in the face. Glad it is not hail. And the fog horn at South Stack going off. Again, the headwind killing any easy surfing.

Back at Porth Dafarch more and more groups return and more and more 'Saturday Club' members gather at the Paddler's Return for a pint and food. We were the only ones being hit by the squall. Stacking allright today, but more that the wind was stacking against us.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Park & Play

Only Dale, Levi and I are left to go paddling. The general concensus at breakfast was to rather go "Park & Play" than to go on a trip. The wind and tide is perfect for paddling out of Cemlyn Bay to the tide-race over Harry Furlough's rocks. Nigel urged us to leave soon...

When we hit the race it was better than I had ever experienced it here before. Very easy to catch the waves for long rides with easy manoeuvring; some bracing required. Later we were joined by Steve & ?. We were spoiled with the easy rides, so after an hour we already called it a day when it took more effort to catch the waves. Park & Play it was.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

T-Bay workout

With the forecast for increasing winds we chose to paddle out of Trearddur Bay. We got as far as Porth Diana and using that area to try to surf the open water waves. Getting enough speed to catch the waves and paddling back out into the wind was a great work-out.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Anglesey business as unusual

Meetings in the morning. It is blowing and pouring rain. For two days now at lunch the skies clear and we had a great afternoon paddle.

Yesterday from Porth Dafarch to Holyhead harbour. I got unexpectedly looped near the rock channel behind the 'Chicken Run'. I used the surges near the rock islet to get up and turn into the channel when a bigger wave arrived. This was really exciting; rolling-up afterwards made it an enjoyable experience. Much later I learned that Rick had to do a precautionary capsize because I was in danger of surfing and looping on top of him. For me this all went in 'slow-motion'.

Today just out to Penrhyn Mawr. PM was very big, but forgiving. That means that the waves sometimes were intimidating high in the outer race but one was not being trashed by crashing waves.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Isle of Man Symposium

On the Isle of Man for the annual Adventurous Experiences symposium.

Because of the very strong winds we could not go too far out of Port Erin. But this area has lots of dynamic options. One is the confusing breaking seas over the reef just outside of it. Surf inside the bay. Wind shelters and wind fetch areas. And lots of wave action over and near rocks. The half-day sessions I ran were 'Adapting skills for wind', 'Waves & Rocks' and 'Rocks & Waves'.

For Isle of Man is an Island it has lots and lots of challenges for any level of paddler.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Calf of Man

A great trip with around the Calf of Man. It is my second time on the Isle of Man for annual Adventurous Experiences symposium.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Another time around

I was invited to join the 2Kayak4Batten team for the crossing of the Rotterdam Europoort Maas Entrance. The Port of Rotterdam is the busiest Port in Europe and as such it's approaches are regulated.

In 2003 Nico and I crossed the harbour entrance with just a VHF call for our Around the Netherlands by Sea Kayak. The channel is 1 km wide and we had to stop halfway for the vessels were a bit faster (and bigger!) than we thought.

When I learned that the KNRM lifeboat would escort them for the crossing, it was an easy decision; I did not want to miss this. At 07:45 I met up with Feike, Fenna and Willem at 's-Gravezande and at 08:45 sharp, the KNRM Jeanine Parqui arrived at the Maasmond north pier accompanied with some very nice wave action on an otherwise flat sea. Just before that some big container ships and ferries in the channel, but on our crossing there was no shipping at all.

Thanking the KNRM for their escort we continued along the south breakwater and along the Maasvlakte land-reclaimed industrial area. At the corner I spotted an offshore patch with some waves. On this windless spring-tide day and otherwise flat seas...

Combining bus, metro, train and 4K walking got me back to my car and I could return to pick-up my kayak. Arriving back just in time at Rockanje to join the team for dinner at the campsite. Thank you Fenna, Feike and Willem for your great company and the KNRM for escorting us.

I captured the crossing (and VHF communication) in below edited video.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

2Kayak4Batten on their way

Feike, Fenna en Willem started yesterday in Amsterdam on their epic 5.500 km sea kayak trip to and around Italy to raise funds for the Batten Research Fund.

Their cause - - had a good head start for they got extensive and quality national media coverage.

I wish them a good and safe journey.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Costa Smeralda

The last two days Claudio took the group to the Costa Smeralda. Beautiful turqoise waters. Very comfortable swimming (and rolling) water temperatures. I had a great time coaching-on-the-go and rarely felt the need to act as a ‘police officer’ for group control. Everybody enjoyed his bit of sea and not always in the same direction.

Today I was pleasantly surprised that on this last day the group stayed closer together and had a lot of fun playing. Many switched kayaks to experience different kayak designs and materials. For a few this week was their first time ever in a sea kayak.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Golfo 'd Arzachena

Three days of paddling in the Golfo 'd Arzachena. Today we crossed the bay and towards and into the Lagoon. This time, with the group, on the east side of the bay with a nice maze of channels and lunch on the sand spit in front of it. Very scenic!

Tomorrow is a 'day off', that is, moving the kayaks and gear to the Costa Smeralda for two days of paddling there.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Baia Sardegna

I just arrived in Sardinia for a week of coaching and guiding with Sardinia Discovery. My base for the week is Isuledda near Cannigione in the northeast. I left the Netherlands in not so good changeable weather and arrived in high Summer temperatures. So yesterday afternoon was a bit of acclimatizing and today was all about preparing and a paddle to the lagoon at the south end of the bay at Cannigione.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Supporting 2kayak4batten

Fenna, Feike & Willem start their 5.500 km, 7 months "2kayak4batten" cause from the Amsterdam, Netherlands to Pesaro, Italy on 27 August, in support of Batten Disease research.

When I came to know them I was struck by their enthousiasm and determination on preparing themselves the best they can, while remaining very modest and realistic.

They now made the final five nominations of the Hobkey Adventure Grant. While they are not shouting that off the rooftops themselves, I thought I give it a bit of extra attention here.

Voting is open until July 8th. If you think their cause deserves more support, spread the word and please vote for them here NOW !

Thursday, June 30, 2016


An afternoon paddle on the Menai Strait with Justine. It is neaps. So we were pleasantly surprised to find a (gentle) working Swellies wave. Justine wondered if it would be a bigger neaps. Looking it up later; indeed today was a 5 meter neap tide...

It is rather difficult to position oneselves on the wave. Before I know it I am off of it. But I am better at it than last time around. The front wave looks so small, but still has enough steepness and 'speed' to 'surplace-surf' the green wave; magnifique!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Puffin Race

I am in Anglesey to pick up Rockpool and Nigel Dennis sea kayaks, among which the three Explorers for 2kayak4batten. It is great to meet-up with Justine and to be on the water again. The forecast was horrible for lots of rain and a cyclonic 5-7 wind. But the afternoon promised to be for less wind and even some sunshine...

We decided to go to the Penmon headland for a paddle around Puffin Island. The southerly wind was still strong but manageable. Upon returning to Penmon the flood had just started and with the southerly wind this could well turn into a nice race later on. Fighting the headwind for half an hour towards the listed shipwreck and surfing back within 10 minutes.

With all those years paddling in Anglesey, I never before played in this race and it actually build-up to something very nice. At one time I was taking a picture and the kayak started surfing by itself. It was a great afternoon paddle.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Ameland Surf

This weekend I joined a Peddelpraat club trip around Ameland. Aart had a lot of work with the pre-trip planning, because the planned campsite had a beach rugby tournament with a permit for an 'after party' until 03:00 AM. That meant increased logistics of taking a taxi to another campsite, far away from that beach. Ameland Adventures were very kind to allow us to leave our kayaks safe with them.

On the Saturday we had a break at the eastern tip of the Island. With the start of the ebb it was clear that a tide-race would be forming here in an hour or two. Unfortunately we did not have time to wait for that. Also getting a laden sea kayak to surf is much harder work and still a long way to go.

Some pictures have an oil-rig (more specifically a gas-rig) in them. For many years now the NAM is test-drilling in the Waddenzee for natural gas. Despite that mainland Groningen is now suffering from increased earthquake activity and structural damages to old and historic buildings. I am curious about the answer to the question just how many billions of euros the damage compensations will run up to in the next 50 years in respect to the money the gas industry has made for the Dutch economy. Politicians and promises... Everyone that is affected is promised full compensation. Anyway, the Dutch economy has floated on the natural gas 'bubble' for the last 50 years and it is about to run out; the more they take out, the more the Groningen province wil sink. Sort of "what goes up, must come down...". So far this 'political statement'.

Navigating around Ameland will prove more difficult. With almost no wind and surf, it was already difficult to find the safe inside channel of an extensive sandbar on the northwest side of the island. Last year it was difficult to spot. Now it was just remembering that it was near the last building on the beach. Anyway, we did it again. So the title of this post is a bit misleading.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Ouddorp Surf

Last year I vowed never again to try to find nice surf at Ouddorp. On three consequetive occasions we paddled out of Springersdiep for more than an hour to find absolutely nothing rewarding. Part of the problem is the Aardappelenbult drying sandbar that is in the way and only allows surf to reach the shore around high water. The real surf was allways too far in the distance, further along the coast.

The Aardappelenbult itself is a very challenging, and sometimes risky, surf environment. But it is now off-limits because of 'Nature compensation'. That means when the Rotterdam Maasvlakte Chemical Industrial area was expanded into land-reclaimed sea, the law said it needed to compensate the negative environmental impact with Nature somewhere else. The result was drawing lines on the charts, outlawing the whole Aardappelenbult area for watersports. Reason: trying to entice the harbor seals to use it for nursing their young. So far this 'political statement'...

Today I took over Nico's (Zeekajak.NL) 3* group, for Nico was called upon to co-run a coach assessment. One of the candidates I am tutor of and as such I could not assess that person. I was definitively not going to paddle to Ouddorp lighthouse to again find nothing. But because today all of us had kayak trollies we parked at the Lighthouse to start from there, trollying to the beach. At the Lighthouse beach; no surf. Arggggg... But further along the coast it looked at least there was a little bit of surf. Paddling for half an hour towards something that looked like surf I decided to go for lunch and hope for a bit more after it. Around the Aardappelenbult the surf and clapotis waves looked spectacular, even unsafe. I think 10 second foam piles are a bit too much for 'recreational bongo slides'. Between 'nothing' and 'too much' (and prohibited), what can we do?

Just after lunch two lines of surf started to appear and the onshore breeze picking-up to force 3-4. For the next two hours the group could challenge themselves in wonderful 3-foot surf. With sunshine and blue skies it meant great photo opportunities. And all-smiling paddlers.

On the way back to the Lighthouse (just after high water) the beach was fully exposed to the surf, now unsheltered from the Aardappelenbult sand bar. We stayed as close inshore as possible. For most of the group these were the highest seas they have paddled in. Safety was allways the beach so as long as all goes well, all goes well. At one point I even had to 'work' myself, finding the easiest route for the group between inshore sand bars to a more easy patch of sea. Right in the crux location (Murphy's Law at work) a capsize and the quickest rescue of the day. Safety was allways the beach (and trolly), but again we could continue paddling... The lucky ones got a big dumping wave on top of them landing at the Lighhouse to finish a wonderful day.

On my phone a text message... Both Max and Marian passed their sea kayak coach assessment. Yeaaahhh! Congratulations! Fresh winds of change!

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Balgzand Lunch

Fred leading a Peddelpraat trip with lunch on the Balgzand tidal flat in the Waddensea. Tiger is on the loose today, for my Explorer is used by Jan. 'Falling dry' is also a popular day trip for flat bottom tour boats.

Someone was frantically calling out and waving to Jan. It was a German guy offering Jan a 'Bratwurst auf Brot'. I was not quick enough to make a picture of the handover. So I only caught Jan trying to eat the Bratwurst while trying to keep up with the group with only one hand to paddle until he had finished it.

The water levels in the gullies were just enough for most of us not to get out of our kayaks while the flood would slowly turn the flats into all sea again.

It was also a kind of reunion, because Sien, Pieter and Jan were present which who'm I did expeditions in the 'early years', like Alaska (1999) and the Outer Hebrides (2002).

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Kissing Noorderhaaks

A Peddelpraat trip from Callantsoog to Huisduinen and 'kissing' Noorderhaaks before a downwind run back to Callantsoog. The trip was led by Marian & Ria. Paddling through a fluffy foam patch got me above picture.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Tern back on the Skerries

Another gorgeous day, my last paddling day in Anglesey this time around. A perfect day for the Skerries to check if the Terns have arrived. With this tide I have guestimated a crossing on 300 degrees compass course. During the crossing I notice I am closing in on a couple. It is Rich and ? It turns out that it is their first visit to the Skerries. They spent all yesterday evening in the Paddler's Return pub on the tidal calculations having three sources saying them somewhat different things. I congratulate them on their spot-on navigation.

We're not alone at the Skerries. The screeching sounds are proof that the Arctic Terns arrived back in numbers for the season. Just three days ago it was still quiet. The RSPB warden tells me that the Terns hardly go quiet and that he uses ear plugs for sleeping. Two other paddling groups arrive with Phil and Nigel.

For the return journey I waited a bit for the tide to strengthen. In the meantime I played at still small races around the Skerries. I set my compass course out to 'intercept' West Mouse. I am amazed at the roughness of the sea between the Skerries and West Mouse for it is near neaps and only blowing a Northerly force 3 Beaufort. In front of West Mouse a sizeable race is running. A fast surf ending in bracing on a foam pile; maybe not the best of ideas to play here longer as a solo paddler... Staying well outside the inshore eddy, I used the 'conveyer belt' back to Harry Furloughs rocks. I add another sunny day to my Skerries statistics.

Today (May 15)is a good friends' Birthday. A perfect day and place to celebrate lifetime adventures.