Paddle to the Biesboschhoeve, The Netherlands

We headed out to the Biesbosch after a year of disappointing four planned and then cancelled canoe trips, this time it really happened.  Our destination was the Biesboschhoeve (the Biesbosch dairy farm) located on an island called de Vischplaat.

We had heard about the wonderful location from Petra when we purchased our beautiful Cedar the year earlier.  She told me the story of the wonderful farm camping that mostly only had like minded canoe people.  She told me it was the only place she had camped in The Netherlands where you could really see the stars.  It captured my imagination from the start.  The one thing I miss while spending my time in the Netherlands is looking into a clear sky at the cosmos.  The sky of my Minnesota childhood was filled with a billion zillion stars and the Milky Way.

Over the Merwede

Over the Merwede River close to Werkendam

We started from our campsite in Oud Alblas and headed early to the canoe launch site we had found earlier this Spring.  (Read Here)

Canoe Launch at Gat van De Hardenhoek

Canoe Launch at Gat van De Hardenhoek

The steep berm into the canoe launch and the lack of shoulder on the roadway made for a quick and tricky unload from the car and careful handling of gear to launch site.

Steep grade to launch

Steep grade from launch looking up to the road

Our gear waiting to be loaded

Our gear waiting to be loaded

We were only heading out for an overnight camping trip but had to pack like we were heading out for a week.  Tent, BBQ, sleep bags, sleeping mats, and the canoe gear.  Notice the separation of my gear and his gear.  We have different ways of packing and we like to keep it that way to avoid issues later of “why didn’t you pack that?”.  Hubby works off a list and I work off my own list and then we compare prior to going out just to make sure that nothing gets missed.  But, there is always something we think we could or should have brought once we get to our destination and that gets added to the list for next time.

My gear in my water proof bag

My gear in my water proof bag

Once we were loaded it was already 0930 and starting to get pretty warm quickly.

All packed and ready to paddle...finally

All packed and ready to paddle…finally


Early morning in Biesbosch

Early morning in Biesbosch

As we paddled toward the 6km destination we saw small fish jumping out of the water all around the boat.  The Fuut (a type of water bird) was busy picking the fish out and having a good breakfast as we floated past.

The sun was starting to burn the back of my neck as we paddled. I had on my normal neck wrap but it left a small gap between my shirt, PFD, and the wrap.  The one small place where I had not placed any sunscreen. So we stopped at the 3.2 KM point and had a small break under the shade of some trees.

Nice stopping point under the trees and in the reeds

Nice stopping point under the trees and in the reeds.

At this point we had just passed over the waterway Gat van den Kleinen Hill and were heading on a smaller waterway towards the Gat van de Buisjes that skirts the large water holding area Petrusplaat.

The Petrusplaat is a manmade holding area along with two other holding areas located inside the Biesbosch that provide fresh drinking water to South Holland, Zeeland and Brabant areas.   There is a film (in Dutch) that shows how these wonderful manmade structures were made in the early 1970’s.  You can follow this link( Spaarbekkens ) to read more about the structures and to watch the film.

The dike for the Petrusplaat water holding area

The manmade dike ( where the brown grass is located ) for the Petrusplaat water holding area

This part of the paddle seemed longer than the first half as we weaved through and crossed several very busy boat channels.  I was glad that the hubby had the gps and map and steered us in the right direction.  To me everything was looking about the same.  The feeling I always have when I am in the BWCA of Northern Minnesota.

Crossing the Gat van Van Kampen heading to Kooigat

Crossing the Gat Van Kampen heading to Kooigat

Water entrance into the area close the island de Vischplaat

Water entrance into the area close the island de Vischplaat

Here is a link ( Biesbosch ) that is in English, to the information booklet on the Biesbosch National Park.  It has a wonderful map outlining the area we just paddled through to get to our camping location.

Arrival at Biesboschhoeve Camping- Hubby checking our gps stats

Arrival at Biesboschhoeve Camping- Hubby checking our gps stats


How were those stats? 

We traveled 5.91KM and it took us 1hr 37mins.

Our top speed 6.6 KM/hr (with wind at our backs).


Things we saw along the way.

Small fish jumping out of the water.

The Petrusplaat water holding area.

Fuut water birds catching fish.

Swans with off spring starting to get their white feathers.

Lots of motor boats either trolling along or moored overnight and the owners were preparing for a day on the water.  Some casually watched us go by while drinking coffee and waving to us.

In the last area of our paddle the water was shallow and there were a number of gulls, terns, and egrets.  The name of this area is Gat van Den Binnennieuwensteek.  (try to say that name three times if you are not Dutch! I have issues even saying it once…)

Thanks for stopping by our blog and hope you look forward reading about our adventures on island camping in our next blog.


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