Maas – Sophiapoldertocht – – Sunday, May 31, 2020 – 30 km, 4:30 paddling time

Author: Mike Griffin, foto’s door Joachim Keppel & Mike Griffin

With the beautiful weather and a long weekend, a spontaneous trip was planned on the Maas, which was announced by Ilja in the club Whatsapp group. Based on the tide info of Iede we paddle upstream until the tide turns and then we return.

Ilja, Harm, Iede, Joachim and I launched our kayaks at the beach at De Esch at 10:00. We paddled with the current but with headwind upstream, and with the wind and current on the way back. It didn’t feel like 30 km, the current certainly helped!

The route – red line on the south bank there, red line on the north bank back.

When we started, it was quiet on the beach and we crossed to the point of the Island of Brienenoord, to paddle through the Zuiddiepje. The current flowed here too, and the water level was much higher than in 2018; during that trip the houseboats lay crooked on the mud.

The Maas was quite busy with speed boats, and it would get even busier in the afternoon. Maybe all that money that has not been spent in the cafés and restaurants has now been spent on speed boats? When we arrived at the beach at Het Nieuwe Veer (1st green pin on the way there), we pulled the kayaks on the beach to take a break at the cove.

Joachim after the first break
View from the cove, the Bridge over De Noord

We had not agreed a turning point, so in good spirits we decided to see if we could reach the Sophiapolder without too much effort, it was only 5 km away. We still benefited from the current, so we reached the Sophiapolder easily. There we took the 2nd break, some of us enjoyed the birds and the peace on the “polder”, more like a lake surrounded by dikes.

Gangway at high tide
Aan oystercatcher over the Sophiapolder
Social distancing check by drone 🙂
Rebar tree

We returned from the Sophia polder, at the northern point of the polder we crossed, taking the ships into account. It had also become busier with ships. Here we noticed that the current was heading our way again, also nice. We viewed the ships under construction or renovation at the shipyards, but there were not many. In the past we saw luxury yachts worth tens of millions of Euros at oceAnco, now there was nothing, maybe there was one inside.

Kruising van de Noord, Lek en Nieuwe Maas

At the intersection of the Noord, Lek and Nieuwe Maas we crossed to the southern point of De Zaag. After started with the crossing we had to quickly get out of the way for a barge that wanted to turn from De Noord onto the Lek. It is very important to look behind you on large rivers, but also to consider which direction such a ship could go.

Puur natuur!

Arriving at the southern point of De Zaag we had our 3rd break, it was a wonderfully relaxed trip, without pressure to really be back on time. From there it was fast paddling because we now had the current and wind. The last 7,5 km we paddled at an average speed of 8,5 km/h! And the occasional wave from a boat, waterbus, or ship, but there wasn’t much to surf on.

Bij het strand, in- en uitstapplek

When we got to the beach it was much busier with day visitors. While we were changing and packing, 2 men tried to swim across the Nieuwe Maas. But they hadn’t taken the ships into account; a man only just escaped from a collision with a ship, which passed him at 20-30 meters! They won’t try that again soon, I hope!

It was a very successful trip, even taking Corona measures into account, and we hope that we can pick up the official tours of Never Dry again soon.