No action pictures today because my beloved old Sony DSC-U60 underwatercamera refused to do its job. I am afraid it's getting time for a new water proof digital camera. Alas Sony doesn't produce a worthy successor, and I am not very impressed by the waterproof cameras of the other brands. Perhaps the new Pentax W60 - has anyone already tried this camera?
Wind was no more than force 3-4 Bft today, but after a week of westerly winds up to 5-6 Bft surf was good above the "Bollen van de Ooster" (also known as "de Aardappelenbult") a huge sandbank in the North sea, some miles west of Goeree. Nice about this spot is that you can approach it sheltered in the lee site and decide how far you want to go into the rough stuff.
Today I was here with 2 experienced (level 5 star) seakayakers. We arrived at the Aardappelenbult at high tide, the water level was about 1 meter above the sand. The waves coming from the North sea turned into surf over the sand, creating a hundreds of meters wide surf zone over a length of kilometres in the middle of the sea - a perfect play spot to train surfing and bracing skills. It's a long time ago I have had the conditions so good here. We had wonderful long rides over breaking waves, the GPS recorded speeds up to 2o kmh. It was the first time I paddled the Anas Acuta in surfing conditions (I mostly paddle the Pintail at seatrips) and its performance was outstanding - it tracks good - no skeg needed, it's very responsive to edging and it's very manoeuvrable.
Some breaking waves were a bit awkward and one of the kayakers had wet exits in the surf zone. No problem - it's a quit safe spot. (It might take some time, but the water flows over the sand and brings the swimmer in calmer waters. The weather was fine: sunny, 20 degrees Celsius, water-temperature 18 degrees Celsius) - anyhow, a good occasion to train rescue skills in lively water. Towing a kayak with swimmer out of the surf zone is hard work, emptying a kayak in moving water in a x-rescue also. A note regarding kayak lay-out: a large cockpit design makes climbing in easier, but a high foredeck takes a lot of water when the kayak is turned over. Kayaks with large cockpits and a dayhatch often lack good decklines to grab direct in front and behind the cockpit (which makes handling the kayak and stabilizing the raft more difficult). The kayak in question was a Point65 XP, but the missing decklines over a big distance near the cockpit zone is something typical for more recent kayak-designs.
At the end of this summer recreation around the Bollen van de Ooster will become more regulated. The complete sand will be a closed zone, even when it's flooded at high tide, and also for kayakers. There is one exception - exclusively for kayakers and windsurfers is a zone reserved at the most North-easterly tip of the "Bollen van de Ooster" (the area with the diagonal lines on the map -see below). We explored this zone today. It's a spot with good surfing conditions around high tide. I just wonder how the boundary to the closed zone will be marked: on the water you don't see any difference - it's just surf for kilometres...