Sunday, September 17, 2006

Vlieland in retrospective

Paddling back to Harlingen in the Vliestroom

Home again. The NKB seakayaksymposium at Vlieland is over. Our group, 40 participants/sea kayakers, a staff of 8 seakayakcoaches and 1 chef de cuisine, enjoyed a great latter part of the summer in September. If it wasn’t Vlieland, I would call it an Indian Summer!
The weather is rather conditioning for the success of a seakayak-symposium. That is because of the mood of the participants (most people look happier when sun is shining), as well as because of the impact on the sea-state. With moderate easterly winds the conditions for touring were great. Without surf and with hardly any swell however, the conditions were not very challenging for the training-groups. While the week went on, we even feared we couldn’t do the tests for the NKB–certificates (comp. BCU-Star Awards), because the tests must be taken under “moderate” conditions and not at a calm sea. But just on time, on Friday-afternoon, suddenly the wind increased up to 5-6 Bft and the Zeevaardigheids(4 Star)- and the Zeevaardigheids-Extra (5 Star)- tests could be taken!

A brief extract of my log-book:

Saturday: Crossing Harlingen – Vlieland, 17 nm:
Divided the participants of the symposium in two groups. Lead the second group, 17 people.
Wind SE 3-4 Bft. High tide Harlingen 11.45 am.
Leaving Harlingen 11.45 am, arriving Campsite Stortemelk 15.30 pm.
Relaxed crossing, following wind and fast current (springtide).

Sunday: Circumnavigation Vlieland, 30 nm:
With the ZVE/5 Star-touring group: 2 participants.
Wind E 4-5 Bft, later decreasing 3-4. High tide Harlingen 12.30 p.m.
Leaving Stortemelk 10.00 am, along Wad-side, arriving Robbenjager 13.00 pm.
Leaving Robbenjager 15.30 pm, crossing Eierlandse Gat, half an hour break at North Sea beach at 18.15, arriving Stortemelk 19.45 pm.

Monday: Shopping in West-Terschelling, 13 nm:
With the ZVE/5 Star-touring group: 3 participants.
Wind NE-SE 3-4 Bft. , decr. 2-3. High tide Harlingen 13.16 p.m.
Traversing the passage between Vlieland en Terschelling vv.
Leaving Stortemelk 11.00 am, arriving West-Terschelling 12.15 pm
Leaving West-Terschelling 13.30, arriving Stortemelk 14.45 pm
Resting day, buying food for the planned multiple day tour around Terschelling

Tuesday-Wednesday: Circumnavigating Terschelling, 46 nm:
With the ZVE/5 Star-touring group: 3 participants.
Tuesday: Wind E 3-4 Bft, decr. 2-3 Bft. High tide Harlingen 13.56 p.m.
Leaving Stortemelk 8.00 am, 1,5 hours break at Terschelling paal 5, arriving Terschelling paal 30, 15.00 pm.
Wednesday: Wind E 2-3 Bft?? High tide Harlingen 14.25 p.m.
Leaving bivouac at Terschelling 11.45 pm, along Wad-side, arriving Stortemelk 17.45 pm, non-stop paddling. Because of the realtive early depart paddling against current from the dead water until half-way the Noorder Balgen.
Circumnavigating Terschelling is quit a long tour. It mostly takes two days, just like we did. But the circumstances were exceptionally good this year: Axel made the circumnavigation of Terschelling with the 5 Star-training group in one day!

Thursday: Examining the Kayak Safety Test (KRT)
Together with Hans vd W: theoretical and practical examining on the beach, 3 participants.

Friday: Examining the 4 Star Test (ZV)
Coordinating the test with Hans K. and Piet B., 11 participants, 3 examiners.

Saturday: Crossing Vlieland-Harlingen, 17 nm.
High tide Harlingen 17.00 p.m.
Leaving Stortemelk 11.00 am, arriving Harlingen 15.45 pm.
Returning with 3 coaches and 8 participants. Because of the wind-forecast (SE 5 Bft, later decr. 3-4 Bft.) a tough paddle was expected: 4 hours fighting against the wind, wind against current – steep waves. A little group of strong paddlers was selected to do the crossing. Of course that’s a disappointment for some other participants who looked forward to paddle back. But even most coaches preferred the ferry above the expected struggle, after a week of paddling. However: wind decreased much earlier than expected: we started with 5 Bft against, after just one hour suddenly wind was gone…

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