Paddling 450 km of the German north sea

In the year 2007 my idea was to paddle the whole German coast line in two steps. First step was the west coast with the very flat north sea shores and the wadden seas. Three month later I wanted to start on the Baltic sea for the nice sandy coastline of the east coast. Well , things often don´t come as planned.

In late Spring my friend Sebastian and me left the shore close to the neatherlands to head out the typical chain of Islands in that area that occupy at least one third of the trip. Always changing between the very flat inner part of the wadden sea and the more exposed outer part of that chain.

Here you need a lot of tidal panning not be grounded somewhere 5 kilometers from land to each side, and no water under the keel. But to fall dry for some hours is also one of the most fascinating things to experience on such trip. The feeling when the water vanishes, then sitting on the bank of a dried out wadden river, looking for all kind of small creatures in the muddy ground. Cooking dinner in the sun relaxing and waiting for the water to come back slowly, which then creeps closer centimeter by centimeter. You can´t wait to keep going again. Then the flood is coming and taking you with speed to the next Island.

There are three national parks on the almost entire German north sea. They have pretty strict rules that you need to take into tidal panning accounts as well. Wild camping isn’t easy but on the margin to the non park areas possible, if you come late and leave early. The Islands are all big sand dunes of 10 to 25 length which means nice beaches on the outside. Between the islands you get the strongest German tidal flows that can become interesting when wind and current come from opposing directions.

At a point half of the trip Sebastian needed to go home because of problems with his cats. I continued 3 days later the rest of the trip solo to the Danish border.

The northern part of the German coast has unique islands called “Halligen”. Those islands are flooded over several times a year by spring tides and storms coming in. Thus the houses stand on small hills (so called: Warften) that keep over the water level in such cases, if the storm is not too bad. Those kind of amphibian Island always fascinated me on my visits. At the end there is the 38 kilometer the long island of Sylt. Home of the rich for the summer weeks. Happy to reach the much more silent Danish Island Römö I finish the trip after approximately 450 km having seen lots of seals, porpoises and different kinds of birds.

A big thank you to the my sponsors: P&H sea kayaks, Globetrotter equipmet, Kokatat dry suits, Kanu-Outdoor, Lendal paddles and Gadermann shop.

Then in the beginning of autumn a strange problem with my stomach keeps me from paddling the Baltic sea. Still fighting with that stomach problem I hope to be out on the batic sea in summer 2008…


COBBER hat gesagt…

Hello Björn,

Nice trip you made. I paddle a Quest as well, and do a lot of paddling in the Wadden as well. Most in Holland, last year I have been joining the NKB/SWU camp in Spiekeroog. We had a good time.

I will add your blog...if you do't mind.

Regards Jörgen

Björn hat gesagt…

Hello Jörgen

Yes the north sea is fascinating. But untill now I have unfortunatelly never been paddling in the Netherlads except 100 Meters at the border close to emshafen ...

I don´t mind you add my blog, so i do with yours :-)

Happy paddling Björn