Friday, July 07, 2006

Camping on Simonszand forbidden

Simonszand is a sandbank between Schiermonnikoog and Rottummerplaat, one of the most beautiful spots in the Waddenzee. It’s a popular destination for seakayakers in this region. The western part of Simonszand is a bird and seal reservate and therefore a closed area. When there are no seals or birds resting, the eastern part of the sandbank is accessible.

Recently the Commissie Zeekajakvaren of the NKB reported some news about camping on Simonszand. This message is communicated in the Dutch seakayaking-scene. Because it’s also relevant for foreign visitors of the region (and this blog is regularly frequented by e.g. German kayakers) I translate the Dutch message in English.

In early June some kayakclubs and kayakschools were surprised by a phone-call of the “Waterpolitie”. The Police told them that camping on Simonszand isn’t allowed. This was reason for the Commissie Zeekajakvaren to contact the Police. The reason why the police actively seeked contact with the Kayak-scene was the increasing number of reports of camping groups of kayakers on Simonszand. Some years ago only some individual kayakers were reported, but now the groups are getting more numerous and larger. The Waterpolice announced that they will give a ticket in the future.
In the Netherlands it is not allowed to camp freely in the countryside. The Code of honour for aquatic sporters in the Dutch Wadden region allows skippers to beach anywhere, with the exception of permanently closed areas, as long as they and their crew do not show any disturbing behaviour. Camping on Simonszand with a group of seakayakers however doesn’t fit in the set of rules of the code of honour.

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