“Schön war es!” I enjoyed 4 days of paddling and winter-camping with a couple of nice people. The conditions were just like they are supposed to be on a winter-tour: rough, windy and chilly, but we picked out exactly the best days of the period. Saturday and Sunday we even got pampered with some hours of sunshine. Friday we paddled from Norddeich to Borkum. Saturday we circumnavigated Borkum and Sunday we passed by Juist from west to east at the sea-side and camped at the wad-side of Juist. Wind increased during the tour, and due to the fact it had been stormy all week before, there was quit some powerful surf at the sea-side of the isles and sandbanks. I capsized unintended in a big surfwave, not quit my favourite action in winter, but had no problem rolling up again. I was in good company as Guus and Freya made the same experience (off course this comparison is improper: no one rolls in style like Freya does! ;-)
Bernhard had taken along his giant Hilleberg-expedition base-camp-tent. This proved to be very practical. When it got dark and cold (early) in the evening, we didn’t have to draw back to our individual little shelters, but instead we could have a social evening with the complete group. We had a introduction to some good old German “Weihnachts”-traditions: Freya’s “Glühwein” and the “Feuerzangenbowle” of Nils and Tanja, accompanied by the Guitar-music of Bernhard. Compared to this Dutch winter-traditions are poor. Guus and I could only offer “Speculaas” and some “Sinterklaas”-stories. Spare our German-friends the terrible Dutch “Snert with spek”-tradition!
From Sunday to Monday it got very stormy. The big Hilleberg-tent was taken to the ultimate test, we had a restless night. Alas the tent didn’t outstand this test undamaged, the conditions proved to be to extreme for a tent of this size. The conditions were also to heavy to paddle back and we decided to put the boats on the kayak-trolley’s to take the ferry back to Nordsiel. No paddling on Monday, but 15 km walking and pulling kayaks over the dunes is also quit fatiguing! More about this kayak pulling-happening in the next post.