Site nr 1: Pampus is a shallow area in the former inland sea the Zuiderzee. At low tide it used to block the access of seagoing ships to the Amsterdam port. It was quite a handicap for the VOC, the Dutch East Indian Trading Company. Late in the 19th century an island fort was built at the site as one of the ring of 42 fortifications surrounding Amsterdam. The fort was abandoned in 1933 when the Zuiderzee was closed off from the North Sea by a dam and became the lake IJsselmeer. On Dutch television there is a program running called: Slag om Pampus a reality TV production - a clone of the Expedition Robinson-format in which 12 couples do a test to become finally warden of the isle - must everything become a multimedia-event? I won't be to negative: the program gives great shots of Pampus and some interesting background-information.
In bed last night I heard the wind howling around the house: windows rambling, doors rattling. On the road to Muiden snow showers passed by. On the car-radio was a news item of a rescue operation for a Chinese Freighter that grounded on the Maasvlakte. As daylight slowly came, I was impressed by dramatic dark skies at the horizon. It was a magnificent view through the windscreen of the car. I turned the heater up and prepared myself mentally for a fierce paddle.
To my surprise the flag on Muiden Fortress was hanging down and there was hardly any wind, as I met René at the agreed starting-point at the Markermeer. Above the Markermeer sky was open and blue. Rain showers were hanging above land at the horizon. But at the point where we were: it was friendly. According to René in kayak-English this situation is called a "Weather Window": some Scottish paddlers are said to have patent on this meteorological phenomena.
So our paddle started calm: a moderate wind of perhaps 3 Bft SW. Near Pampus short confusing waves made paddling a bit lively, but we were still relaxed paddling at about 7 km/h when we crossed the shipping lane near buoy P2. As we got closer to Marken wind was a bit increasing, our speed effortless got up to 9 km/h. But in our opinion the wind was still far from the 5-6 Bft. at the same moment measured by the Weather station at Lelystad, according to the Coastguard on the VHF-radio. Lelystad is about 30 km's from where we paddled.
Site nr. 2: Scotland has the Stevensons' Lighthouses, Holland "het Paard van Marken" designed by Martime Engineer J. Valk (1839)
The little green shed near the lighthouse offered a sheltered place for a break. Fleece, rain suit and ponchos made it a bit more comfortable, and prevented us from cooling down. As we got back to the kayaks white caps were all over the place, wind had severely increased. Finally we got what we came for. It was just a bit a pity that it was only on our way back: SW winds meant 15 km's to go against 5-6 Bft... Short steep waves made it a wet ride. Speed slowed down to about 5 km/h. But we had no hurry and enjoyed the ride!
Site nr. 3: het Muiderslot is the ultimate Dutch medieval castle, rich of history. The castle was built in 1280 by count Floris V. His objective was to take control of the trade route to Utrecht. From then on all traders using this trade route were forced to pay tolls at the Muiderslot castle. In 1296 he was imprisoned in his own castle by Gearart van Velsen, because Floris V had ordered the execution of Van Velsen's brother on false charges. Floris V managed to escape from the castle but was killed while fleeing.
Between Pampus and Muiden wind had turned to west and gave nice long waves from the side. We couldn't resist and turned our bows eastwards to get a few good surf-rides. It was short but exhilarating: riding down the waves, the bow of the Anas Acuta dived up to the cockpit-rim under water.
This was the first real "Groot water"-session for me with the Anas Acuta kayak. It performed well (as expected): the AA is no fast kayak, but it tracks well, is lively and manoeuvrable, and very reassuring! A delight to paddle! Site nr. 4: The Westbatterij Muiden is the eldest fortress of the Stelling van Amsterdam - the Defense Line of Amsterdam. This defencee line was built between 1883 and 1920 to guard the capital Amsterdam. It is the example of a fortification based on the control of water. The protection of the centre of the country was ensured by the network of 42 forts and their artillery acting in concert with temporary flooding from polders and an intricate system of canals and locks.
Please note: there is good access to the water near the Fortress, individual paddlers can comfortably load and unload their car here, space for parking is limited and restricted -> Advise: park the car elsewhere and don't use this place as a a starting point for groups of paddlers!
Total distance 31 km, wind 4-6 Bft SW-W, water temp 5 degr. Celsius, air temp 3-4 degr. Celsius.