In my first two posts about this trip Paddle to the Biesboschhoeve and the Biesboschhoeve Camping Experience I wrote about the adventure of paddling to this unique island located within the National Park Biesbosch in The Netherlands. In this last blog I will cover the last part of our stay at the camping and some of the interesting canoe people we made contact with and lastly our paddle out of the Biesbosch.
By the time we had finished watching the milking operations at the Biesbosch Hoeve and realizing that it doesn’t differ much from the older milking operations in Northern Minnesota we picked up our BBQ meal from the farm house (extra charge but well worth the price and hassle of bringing additional food along for this overnight paddle). The two person BBQ packet was more than I expected, two hamburgers, two worsts, two salads, a bottle of wine and bread with butter. Plus the dishes. The only thing missing was a corkscrew for the wine and maybe that was intentional as people within the camping introduced themselves in order to find out who had been thoughtful enough pack a corkscrew for a bottle of wine. Sadly we were not one of the thoughtful ones and had to look for the person who was handy and well prepared. It is going on our packing list the next time!
Along with the food we also purchased firewood for the fire pit. Many of the campers prepared their BBQ packets over the open fire pit, we had brought our Joy BBQ grill and prepared ours on the BBQ and saved the firewood for after dark star gazing and warmth.
One of the things that was enjoyable at this location was seeing all the different types of canoes, kayaks and camping equipment that was being used. Everything from blow up chairs to huge air mattresses to one group that had only a small tarp tied up for shade from the canoe to cover their sleeping bags that were laid out under the tarp. The one group that really caught my eye was two men from Belgium that had two fold up canoes. I had seen them paddling earlier in the day and then asked them about the canoes later. The one guy is a product Ambassador (meaning he travels around and uses and promotes the canoe at different locations and gets the product for free from the company). He did a great job at trying to peek my interest in the canoe and offered to let me take it out for a paddle. I declined his offer (I already liked the product and sure I wanted it and didn’t want to have the “fall in love” feeling I knew I would have once I paddled it). I did get a close inspection of the craft and admired it and someone who was so creative to think up such a product and to make it durable enough to not sink on the water.
The material it is made out of reminds me of the milk carton boat races that are run on several Minnesota lakes during the summer months. Most of those sink within moments of hitting the water and some of the more simple ones actually make it across the lake with all their milk carton and duck tape glory. This craft had no duck tape holding it together.
The name of this Belgium product is ONAK and folds up into a case on wheels.
Both the hubby and I even at a closer look are still skeptical that these canoes are safe. But, they seem to be and I did see them on the water paddling along as a normal canoe would paddle.
After dinner we also went for a short paddle around the Gat van Den Binnennieuwensteek. Due to the hot weather the water was covered with green slime plants that seemed to take on a life of their own as the wind or the passing canoe interfered with the water surface. It created a very strange green artwork on the water surface.
The relaxing evening paddle brought us back to a busy campground and we watched the activity and then snuggled into our sleeping bags for the night. My hope was to wake in the middle of the night to get a good look at the stars.
My wish was granted as I got up at about 2:30am and gazed at the sky filled with stars. I could pick out the Milky Way, the Big Dipper and see (much to common these days) satellites flying past in the heavens. This sort of sky is unusual to see here in The Netherlands due to the light pollution of the cities and also much of the time the cloud cover. I was lucky that both on this trip had not interfered with my star gazing and feeling connected to the universe.
The morning brought the normal pack up and loading and heading back to the car. An early start for us before it got blistery hot to paddle. The paddle back always seems more enjoyable to me as we are then looking at things instead of focused on where we need to go on the route.
We had one area where we crossed the shipping channel where we had to paddle fast in order to get out of the way of a large ship that was heading right toward us. It is always amazing how fast those large ships can move and how slow we seem to paddle even when we are putting all our effort into it.
The paddle ended with a picture perfect ending close to the dock.
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