Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Getting into your kayak - the new AC, BCU, ACA and NKB-standard?

Click here for a demonstration by Cathy Miller of the new BCU-AC-ACA technique to get into your spray skirt. Thanks to Nico for suggesting to update the NKB requirements for "Zeevaardigheid" with this skill. Interesting. The NKB Sea kayak Committee is currently testing... ;-)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Wadden - Unesco World Heritage Site

Last year the signs were temporary red, but finally we made it: the Wadden have received the status of Unesco World Heritage site. It's a weird idea that the Wadden now are listed together with sites like the Taj Mahal, the Chinese Great Wall and the Pyramids of Gizah...
Look at the Video: Douwe is happy, I am happy ;-)

Some personal notes about the impact of the Unesco-status in last years post.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Snapshot from Woerden

Linda paddling in front of the landmarks of Woerden: Woerden Castle and Bonaventura Church.

Hot summer days! Woerden enjoys the water in the city. A lot of people look for refreshment along, on and in the channels of Woerden. This afternoon I paddled with Linda on the Rhine and the Singel amidst swimmers and small watercraft - most motorized, few paddlers.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Bernhard proudly presents...

... his new toy: the Tahé Greenland kayak.

Lucky Bernard, do I notice just a tiny little bit of envy, Hans? ;-)
One more good reason for to visit my kayak-friends in Cologne soon. Looking forward to play together with the new toy - I'll bring along my own toy!
Pictures kindly supplied by Bernhard Hillejan

Monday, June 22, 2009

Paddling in Zeeland: Oosterschelde - Westerschelde

Let's start with a little disclaimer: the area covered in this post offers great opportunities for paddling. But please do realise the coastline from Walcheren is one of the most exposed stretches of the Dutch North-sea coast, with strong currents, large tidal differences, and very, very busy shipping traffic in shipping lanes that almost touch the beach. The Westerschelde is a highway for sea going vessels to Vlissingen, Antwerp, Terneuzen. So be prepared to encounter rough conditions and know how to deal with intensive marine traffic.

Originally Govert and I planned to go seakayaking around the Channel Isles in June. But alas: work obligations hindered taking a full week off. Only 4 days were left so we looked for an alternative, closer near home. It became a trip to the province of Zeeland - a circumnavigation of Walcheren, Noord- and Zuid-Beveland.

Thursday, June, 18th. HW Vlissingen 23.16, Wind West 4 to 5, occ. 6 Bft.
Start Colijnsplaat at 14.30 - Domburg - arriving Dishoek at 22.15 hr. - 45 km.

Friday, June, 19th. HW Vlissingen 11.50, Wind West 5 Bft, warning 6.
Start Dishoek at 10.00 - arriving Ellewoutsdijk at 12.15 - 25 km.

Saturday, June 20th. HW Vlissingen 12.46, Wind West 4 Bft.
Start Ellewoutsdijk at 8.00 - Paal - arriving Wemeldinge at 18.00 - 50 km.

Sunday, June 21 th. HW Vlissingen 13.37, Wind NW 3-4 Bft.
Start Wemeldinge at 6.30 - arriving Colijnsplaat at 9.00 - 15 km.

Weather was great - impressive Dutch sky's, sunny and dry. Sea state was a joy: good wind and waves! I do admit the first day was heavy: battling 45 km against the wind. After the dinner-stop in Domburg conditions got rough. Big waves crushed on the basalt embankment of Westkapelle - impressive! While we were paddling in steep waves 1-2 meters high, sea ships passed by pretty close. Wet, cold and fatigued - but also highly satisfied I arrived at the beach of Dishoek. It was some time ago I enjoyed seakayaking in lively conditions like this!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Petrussen Maneuver

Bernhard has recently uploaded a webalbum with his collection of pictures of the Pagaia Seakayak Symposium, including some nice pictures of the rolling demo - Greenland Style.
Above: the Petrussen Maneuver. Greg Stamer has revealed the secrets of this fascinating technique long time ago in an article in Seakayaker Magazine.
Down: two paddlers having fun experimenting synchronicity.
Pictures made by Stephan.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Roman Ship in Woerden

This afternoon I saw this curious ship moored in the harbour of Woerden . It's a replica of a the ships the Romans used to transport goods on the Rhine (Woerden - Castellum Laurium - was part of the Limes, the northern border of ancient Rome). Around Woerden 7 of these ships have been found, the last one - a very impressive one - in 2003.
The replica looks a bit too new and polished for a transport-vessel, that will alter, but the worst part is in the detail:
Originally these Roman ships were mainly used one way: to bring building material downstream - the vessels floated down the river, assisted by a sail, oars and rudders were used to navigate. Once arrived on location the ships were dismantled, the wood was also used as building material.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The state of the art of the waterproof digital camera's

It took a long time, but finally rugged waterproof (WP) digital compact-camera's are getting popular. Almost every self-respecting camera-manufacturer lists one or more WP-camera's. And when even the Hema (a Dutch retail organisation which promotes itself as "de normaalste zaak van Nederland/the most ordinary shop of the Netherlands") has a WP-Digicam in the "offers of the week" it must really be getting mainstream!

Although most reviews on the web and the magazine are quit positive about the new generation of WP-digicams there still is a lot to improve. A lot of reviews are not much more than just rewritten press-releases of the manufacturers. This kind of promotion works - it had me buying a new Olympus WP-camera earlier this year. I don't regret the purchase, but I am quit critical about the new camera. Mixed feelings.
At first glance it's great. The specifications are promising. I do like the look, the feel and the immaculate finish and the options in the user-friendly Olympus-menu's.
But in "heavy duty-kayak life" the performance is disappointing. Main issue is that the camera is slow: the starting up time, autofocus and shutter lag and cycle time make taking action pictures on the water a game of chance. The second issue is that the picture quality is far from what you would expect from a digital camera in the 300 euro-class. Lens-sharpness isn't great, internal reflections often hinder, the camera (often but not always!) tends to over-exposure and in low light conditions chroma and luminance noise are an issue starting already at 200 ISO. And about "rugged": after two months paddling life the lens cover of my first copy of the Olympus-camera stopped working, and a week later the camera broke completely down because salt water had found it's way to the internals. Probably I had a bad copy, I know a lot of kayakers using the predecessors of the Olympus camera without any problems with leakage. Dutch Olympus-customer-care worked correct and fast: the camera was within a few days replaced by a new copy.

The new Belgian Photomagazine Shoot published in this months issue a critical group test of all the current WP-camera's on the market. Regarding the performance and the picture quality of the Olympus this test covers my experiences. The test also confirms my assumption that the camera's of the other brands don't perform much better than the Olympus: according to the Shoot-test speed and picture quality are an issue with all the WP-camera's, differences are minor.

About the Pentax W60 in the Hema offer: I have some friends using this camera - comparing pictures, picture quality of teh Pentax is in general a bit better than that of the Olympus (metering/exposure/colour rendition are better). The Pentax isn't fast either and it feels more plastic than the Olympus. I know some people who had bad luck with water in the Pentax - but most people are using the predecessors of the Pentax for years without any problems. For the Hema price I think it really is an interesting offer: same or a bit better pictures and 50-60 euro's cheaper than the Olympus - suggestion for Father's day/Vaderdag? (in the Netherlands the 3rd Sunday of June ;-).

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

III Pagaia Internacional symposium kayak de mar - the video

It was about time to update my list of "upcoming events" (in column on the right of this website). The Pagaia symposium and the Emjak-NKB meeting are past events now. Sweet memories...
The Pagaia club has created a special space on the symposium-website to find all the concerned information the participants of the symposium have published on the world wide web: commentaries, blogs, websites, photos, videos, etc. "Powerkayak" made this video of the Symposium (including some shots of our rolling demo). Still to be added on the list are the striking observations of Wenley.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

First pictures of the Dutch-German seakayak-meeting on Borkum

About 3 years ago, I met German seakayak-coach Holger Wessels in Café Old Laramie at Spiekeroog. After 2 beers the idea of organising a German-Dutch seakayak-meeting on Borkum was born: not a highly organised course or a symposium with a prepared and detailed program of clinics, workhops and trips, but a simple "Treffen(D)/Ontmoeting(NL)/Meeting(EN)" of seakayakers of different nationalities, clubs and associations. The participants are free to make the program themselves, paddling for those who want (with a lot of experienced kayakers, guides and instructors at the meeting)-> but the emphasis is on the social interaction, meeting, talking, drinking a cup of coffee or a beer together. Borkum is a perfect location for such an happening: a giant stretch of grass in the old (Military) Marine Harbour and an interesting and challenging seakayak destination - for an experienced seakayaker Borkum is easy to be reached from both the Dutch and the German harbours on the mainland.
The intention was to make a small start this year - a first modest try-out with handful of people. Well, 32 Dutch and 23 German seakayakers joined the meeting at Borkum!

The perfect weather (sunny with wind!), the devotion of the Emjak-team (thanks Michael, Martina, Maaike, Petra and ... !), the cooperation of the "Hafenmeister-couple" (Louke and Gemma) and the enthusiasm of all the participants made the first edition of the EMJAK-NKB-meeting a great success. What about next year?

More pictures on Picasaweb.