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!

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