Archive for July, 2017
 

TrainingSessions#1

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Paul Thomassen, an experienced Dutch sea kayaker, paddled not less than 240 kilometres to reach the Belgian West Coast. He started from Noordwijk, Netherlands, with the intention to join our team for a few days.  This is the footage of a standard open sea training where he participated during his stay.  It is certainly not an instruction video, but we added some tips and tricks in it.  We were very honoured with his written report and feed-back on the NORTHSEAKAYAK team.  This is a part of it:

 

…”I’m tired but very satisfied. Why did I paddle solo 240km in 5 days to the Belgian West Coast from Noordwijk(Netherlands) to paddle with the NORTHSEAKAYAK team for a few days? The answer is that from the beginning of this team’s establishment I was fascinated, and wanted to know more before I would have a judgment about it. Together with my own desire to learn more about coastal sea kayaking, I made a combined trip of it. The first six days on my own (the trip from Noordwijk to Nieuwpoort) and the last four days, I left the shore with Dimitri`s team. These guys helped me in any way when I arrived in Nieuwpoort. Strange language, strange nautical law, strange biscuits with the coffee, current that is 2 instead of 1 NM an hour, many sandbanks just in front of the Belgian coast line, which can give dump waves 3 km offshore. And most off all; my astonishment: How is it possible that this group reached such a high level of experience/safety without the following off let’s say the regular channels (BCU system/Dutch system)?  I received my answers along with a lot of humour, serious conversations and challenging trips and exercises on sea. I came as a guest sea kayaker from Holland, I left as a member off the team.  That’s how it feels! Yes, when I write this 48 hours before my next trip starts ;paddling from Noordwijk to Den Helder to join the Peddelpraat sea camp instruction week 2017 with 40 Dutch paddlers, I feel a bit lonely, and satisfied at once. The NORTHSEAKAYAK sticker which I got from Dimitri and Sylvie ,the founders of the team, means a lot to me, and I will find a good place for it on my kayak. For sure I’ll be back in the future.”…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG33D2Pbu7M

The Westhinder Challenge

Monday, July 10th, 2017

We are always looking for a good challenge, preferably one that takes us offshore. If you look at the Belgian part of the North Sea, there are no islands that you can paddle to (with the exception of the North Sea crossing to the UK).  We have to do it with our buoys, navigation marks and towers.  Yes, there are towers located in the Southern part of the North Sea.  Two of them are drawing our attention.  The first, and closest one, is the Oostdyck radar tower.  When visibility is extremely well, it can be seen from the beach without binoculars.  The radar sends all shipping movements to the Traffic Centre for monitoring.  This tower is located some 21 kilometres offshore.  What cannot be seen from ashore is the second tower located at the Westhinder sandbank.  This one lies just behind the international shipping lane, one of the busiest in the world.  The Westhinder beacon warns ships for the danger of the sandbank beneath.  It also monitors the force of the wind and direction, which is important for the weather forecasts for this area.  This tower is located some 32 kilometres offshore.

To take on this challenge you’re not only need a good physical condition and stamina, you also have to know more than basic navigation. There is always a strong tidal stream that pushes you constantly off track, the stream is never in you favour.  Taking a break, even a short one, relentlessly pushes you off track.  Also the strength of the tidal stream changes every hour, so you have to keep a good eye to your bearings.  During the most of the challenge, you will not have any reference to paddle to.  When you reach the first tower, you still have to cross the international shipping lane, which is one of the busiest in the world.  Keep in mind that those very large ocean ships probably want see you, or change their course or speed for a sea kayaker.  When you crossed the shipping lane and finally reach the Westhinder beacon, then you just completed the first half of the challenge.  The second half, and the most important one, is to get yourself and your team back to shore safely.  If you’re tired, you can’t just quit.  There is no support boat to help you.  There is only you and your team.

I’m proud to say that were able to put together a small international team to take on this challenge. Two very experienced and well trained Spanish sea kayakers were eager to take on this challenge.  They travelled all from Spain to Belgium, we spend some days paddling together, before heading out.  On Saturday 7 July 2017 we started from the Oostduinkerke beach, at 07:40 am (local time).  As an extra difficulty we chose to navigate on compass, with a sea chart.  We carried also a GPS, just for registration and safety precautions, not for navigation.  We stated our intentions to the Coast Guard by radio before the start.  We paddled at a high pace, in order to compensate a bit lesser for the sideways tidal stream.  In the video you can see the buoys that we have passed, the way we have taken on this challenge.  It took us seven hours to reach the Westhinder beacon.  When we got there we established radio contact with the Coast Guard again, to tell them our position and that we were still in good shape to commence the way back to shore.  It was 14:30 pm (local time) and we were at the farthest offshore point, being 32 kilometres.  When arriving there, perhaps euphoric, we just did half the challenge.  The second part, also the hardest, was to get back with the team.  It’s also a psychological battle because you have absolutely nothing to look to, there are no references, and you cannot see the land for hours.  The visibility was limited to ten kilometres, which is normal for us.  You have to trust your navigation skills, simple as that.  Even when tired, we still kept the same high pace to counter the current.  We arrived back at Oostduinkerke beach at 20:55 pm (local time).

In the video you can see our GPS track log. The GPS was not turned off during our short breaks.  It registered all of our movements during the challenge.

To all other sea kayakers out there who are looking for a tough challenge, this could be what you are looking for. Be well prepared for this one, both physically, mentally and be sure of you navigation skills.

I got extremely lucky to do this one with such experienced sea kayakers! Big thanks to Carlos GARCIA and Santi DOMINGUEZ for joining!  It was an honour to be part of this team, and to beat this challenge together!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06aPdjRVuJs


Search

Admin
Log in
Pages
Blog Home
  • Sample Page
  • Archives
  • July 2017
  • May 2017
  • April 2017
  • March 2017
  • February 2017
  • December 2016
  • November 2016
  • September 2016
  • August 2016
  • July 2016
  • April 2016
  • August 2015
  • October 2014
  • September 2014
  • August 2014
  • May 2014
  • April 2014
  • February 2014
  • November 2013
  • October 2013
  • August 2013
  • July 2013
  • June 2013
  • May 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • May 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • August 2011
  • July 2011
  • June 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • July 2009
  • June 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • April 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • November 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007
  • April 2007
  • March 2007
  • February 2007
  • January 2007
  • January 1970
  • Categories
  • Expeditions (9)
  • News (17)
  • Reviews (9)
  • Technical (7)
  • Trip Reports (826)
  • Contributors
  • P&H Paddlers Admin
  • Björn Nehrhoff V. H.
  • Brian Day
  • Christopher Lockyer
  • Dimitri Vandepoele
  • Doug Cooper
  • Gethin Roberts
  • Jay Rose
  • Jim Krawiecki
  • Kate Duffus
  • Mark Kalch
  • Olly Sanders
  • P&H Sea Kayaks
  • P&H Custom Sea Kayaks
  • Paul Kuthe
  • Robert Moffatt
  • Roger Chandler
  • Sid Sinfield