Sometimes things turn out a bit different than expected. So did the little wintry kayak expedition in the German Bight.
The first surprise was on the radio on Thursday when I was driving north, heading to Horumersiel. I thought Astrid was the "Glücksfee", but the meteorologists on German radio were speaking about the "Bernhilde-high pressure zone". What's in a name? It didn't make a big difference though, the weather was perfect.
The second surprise had a bigger impact. I was invited to this kayak trip that was announced as a "challenging seakayaktrip": winter conditions, open bivouacs on remote places, night paddling, long distances. The organizer had clearly stated this trip was meant for well prepared, advanced paddlers with a good physical and mental condition. It surprised me highly that, ready for departure late Thursday-evening in the darkness, one of the participants told this was his first paddle out on sea ever. He paddled a traditional skin-on-frame low volume
This may sound as if I am very disappointed and didn't have a good time. That's not the case. I had two wonderful days in company of good friends which formed a strong team together. The night-paddle on Thursday-evening was spectacular, I enjoyed sliding down the mud in the harbour (we left near low tide), paddling under a starry sky, a fun midnight picnic under open sky, exploring one of the hidden treasures of the German Wadden-region in the early morning and midwinter rolling exercises out at sea and many more nice moments. Of course I am a bit disappointed I didn't paddle along the promised historic lighthouses in the German Bight (the Lighthouse "Roter Sand" is a absolute highlight). But: "things happen". I'll be back soon, and I picked up some new ideas for future paddles.
Everyone had his own lessons from this experiences. The organizer realized it was a mistake to accept a new unknown paddler on a trip like this. The novice seakayaker learned that good skills and condition are not enough - good practice and equipment are also essential. (Our novice seakayaker isn't a novice in kayaking: he is an advanced white-water paddler and an expert in greenland style rolling, but new to seakayaking. He had dramatically underestimated winter-paddling and wasn't familiar the habits and (safety- and group-) procedures of of seakayaking).
Driving back to the
PS: given English is not my native language, I found it hard to put my refections on this trip into the right words: it's difficult to bring in the nuances. I sure don't intend to make anyone black! Being smart afterwards is always to easy...