Cedar Is Stuck in the Mud- Biesbosch, NL

The National Park Biesbosch is one of our favorite places to explore.  Some of you might remember the luck we had last August with the rain and our attempt to paddle into the National Park, in Netherlands National Park Biesbosch.

This time, since we are camping close by, we decided to try an entrance via the harbor area we had heard about last August.  We didn’t want to pay the €5.00 launch fee, so we parked and looked for an appropriate place to put Cedar into the water.  The goal was to paddle to the Biesbosch Museum and have coffee then paddle back.  About 5km paddle.  No problem…

Biesbosch Museum Area

Biesbosch Museum Area- we started at “H” and paddled to “A-D”. This is the map on the wall at the Museum and doesn’t represent our route.

We found a great hiking trail with a wide path and we walked and found a wonderful bridge to launch into the Polder Jantjesplaat. We knew, from our prior research, we could access the main channel heading towards the Museum.  We headed back to car and pulled Cedar from her perch, placed her on the cart, loaded all our gear and off we went.

Cedar and me heading towards Polder Jantjesplaat

Cedar and me heading towards Polder Jantjesplaat. Hubby – took picture.

The bridge was over a small channel that linked two wetland areas and were full of birds.  I kept thinking about my blog friends who are always commenting on my bird pictures as they would be going crazy out of their mind with all the opportunities in this one location.  As we were lowering the canoe into he water, two young men came past with huge birding lens and informed us they had seen a coo coo bird and pointed in the direction they saw it.  Maybe I could get some nice shots of the water birds in this polder once we were on the water.

Launch site

Launch site on Polder Jantjesplaat

Cool birds!

Cool…birds! Lets paddle there.

Instantly, we both knew this launch point was very shallow.  Both our paddles were hitting the bottom as we started paddling.  We both decided that we just needed to keep our eyes open and continue to paddle towards the birds and the bridge that led out of the polder and into the main channel.

The birds seemed to be standing on the water!  That should have been a clue to us to not head in that direction.  But, we continued to paddle, the water got even more shallow.  Then we were pulling the canoe with the paddles through the shallow to a slow forward then to a total STOP!

“Cool, green plants.”  I remember saying.  My focus was really not on the water but the cool stuff I was seeing.

shallow water

Shallow water, Stuck…

“Push sideways with the paddle.” I heard from the back of the canoe bringing back to the reality we were stuck.

We both pushed with our paddles and made the canoe go a bit sideways but then it was another full STOP.

“I am getting out and pushing.  You keep your eyes on the front, find the channel and paddle!”  said Hubby and captain of our vessel.

I figured it was not the best time to take a picture (although the idea crossed my mind) and focus now on our situation.  Hearing the rolling up of pants and then the slush of water the canoe started to move again forward.

“Hey, the water is getting deeper.”  I yelled as I started paddling past the sandy mud and back into the channel.

Then I felt the weight of the canoe shift as my hubby hopped back into the canoe.

“That would have been one hell of a picture.” he said as he started paddling again.

“It sure would have, but you told me to keep paddling and look for the channel.” I retorted laughing as I knew he is now also hooked on capturing our adventures.

Back on track

Back on track, notice the rolled pants and the look.

The rest of the paddle was wonderful.  We paddled towards the museum now with ease.  The main channel was lined with reeds and hundreds of birds could be heard as we paddled along.

We made it to the museum and finally back to the launch site.  This time when we entered the polder we made sure I paid attention to the level of the water at the front of the boat as the tide had gone out and we now could see dry land where we had gotten stuck.

Marsh where we tried to paddle

Marsh where we first tried to paddle with the tide now out it is clear where we shouldn’t have gone.


Heading Home

The hubby hauled Cedar back to the car.  Two hikers were trailblazing for us.  We loaded her back on the car and headed towards the campsite.

Part Two… to be continued.


We paddled 4km round trip to the Museum.  I guess this one was about adventure and not distance.

Things we saw: birds, hikers, birders, fisherman, tour boat, kayaks, Scouting club out with sailboats, ponies.

Things we learned:

– That when we see birds that look like they are standing on the water, do not paddle towards them!  It is shallow!

– The Jantjesplaat is a good place to launch from but we need a tide schedule for the area for the next time we plan to paddle.

Swamp Iris (Dutch: gele lis)

Swamp Iris (aka in Dutch- Gele Lis) in bloom in the Biesbosch