Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Clouds


While the weather is breaking records in the Netherlands (July being the hottest month since 300 years, August the wettest month ever) we are now suffering rain and thunderstorms for weeks. No inviting circumstances for outdoor sports. Hardly any member of Kayakclub Wyrda comes to the weekly paddle lately. Yesterday I was the only one. And I must admit that I was wondering myself for just a moment: “what am I doing here?”. I had this thought, while I was all alone carrying my kayak from the boathouse to the pier at the Singel. Putting the kayak along the pier, pulling on my sprayskirt, inhaling the clean humid air, it’s no question anymore, it’s clear: I am going to paddle! Stepping in the kayak, and balancing to sit down the thoughts change: “Is there really no one else feeling that strong restless desire to paddle, to enjoy the few moments between the last rain shower and the next thunderstorm?” I can’t be the only addict? As always: after the first paddling strokes all questions disappear, no more pondering, just paddling in a steady state of mind.

All this August humidity is caused by the extreme warm sea (temperature 20-24 degrees Celsius, that’s 2-6 degrees above average), in combination with cold polar air. It comes together with wonderful skies. Every morning I travel 40 km’s by train from Woerden in the inland to The Hague at the coast. I enjoy looking out of the window of the coupe at the clouds coming in from sea. In the morning an endless armada of big white clouds is rushing in. Within minutes they change from friendly white cauliflowers to all kinds of dark grey monsters. Sometimes they stay compact, and all at once they grow kilometres upwards. I love clouds. I suppose that’s why there is mostly much sky on my kayak-pictures.
Just before the vacation I bought a little booklet with a lot of pictures of great skies: “How to identify the Weather, by Storm Dunlop” (Dutch edition from Veltman Uitgevers: “Het Weerboekje”). An interesting matter, but alas (maybe because of the Dutch translation) it is a bit dull to read. It is still fun to browse through yet, although I doubt if that’s appropriate to increase knowledge… “Boerenverstand” (=common sense) must do. That’s sufficient to interpret clouds like the giant on the picture above this post. Half an hour after I took the photo it became very dark in Woerden, a moderate breeze arose, a few lightings, thunder and a lot of rain…

Worth a visit: the webpages of Storm Dunlop, and (Dutch) the background information on the KNMI site.

1 comment:

Rene said...

Hi Hans,
Interesting subject and interesting links to weathersites!
As seakayakers we should indeed make more studie of the weather just to be able to predect what is going to happen once you are on the water.

Although I must say that, not being a regular student on this subject, that being often outside on the sea or in the mountains, a feeling develops, giving you a quite accurate feeling, sometimes looking a few days ahead, what is going to happen. Especially when you are out for a week or more; being able than to follow the weather developing constantly.
It is off course better to have a better background and being able to lift the information to your conscious mind.