Sunday, February 04, 2007

Another beautiful day...

Sunday, February 4;
Another day benefiting from a high pressure zone passing by. I must withdraw the little rant I did yesterday on the non-active kayakers in winter. I saw dozens of kayakers paddling around in the Biesbosch today: all good outfitted sea-kayakers.

This morning I joined a group of kayakers from the German Salzwasserunion kayakers in the Biesbosch. A nice occasion to meet my friend Urs Steiner, and to make acquaintance with Anita and Wim (the Dutch couple leading) and the other members of the group. It was only a short paddle because I had to be back home early in the afternoon. I paddled 1,5 hours with the group, enjoyed the lunch (with Wims' very special Scottish Soup) with the group and than rushed back alone in about 1 hour.

The Biesbosch, meaning 'forest of sedges' is one of the largest national parks of the Netherlands and one of the last freshwater tide areas in Europe. The Biesbosch consists of a large network of rivers and smaller and larger creeks with islands. The vegetation is mostly willow forests, with some grasslands and fields of reed. A great area to paddle. For me it’s historical ground. I made my first kayaking experience in the Biesbosch, as a young boy with his dad, about 35 years ago. It’s not a long way from Woerden, and I still like to paddle there, but in the last few years I seldom did.

Some years ago the European Beaver (Castor fiber) was reintroduced in the Biesbosch. This reintroduction program is quit successful, it started with 5 or 6 couples and now about 120 couples are living in the Biesbosch. Paddling around I have seen a lot of traces (bites on trees), but never seen a wild Beaver before. They are rather shy. But this morning on the way back, paddling full speed, totally alone in the “Gat van de Plomp” suddenly a giant Beaver crossed my way. I was surprised about his size (assume it was a him), and he was surprised by the speed of a little kayak: he dived away at first sight. Only a few seconds, but very impressive this meeting!

One hour paddling full speed in a dry-suit is rather steamy. Back at the starting point I did some rolls to get the temperature down, very refreshing indeed! I intended to do this slow-motion Greenland-style, but with my head hanging down in the called water I changed my mind and immediately decided to do it on the quick euro-way! I don't think the anglers at the pier did notice any difference, they called me mad anyhow.

sorry: because the waterproof Sony is defect, only launching and picknick pictures...

No comments: