Wadlopen


Walking in Groningen.  Day 6: wadlopen Pieterburen to Schiermonnikoog, 20 km. Map.

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Wadlopen is walking, but not on solid ground, but from the shore of Groningen or Friesland through the Waddensea.

Of course, it has to be low tide, otherwise you will get very wet. You can wander around and return at your starting point, or walk to a sandbank or to one of the Frisian islands.

Waiting for departure

The muddy part

The first part is very muddy. The wooden walls are made for land reclamation: sand and silt brought here by the sea settle down, creating in tens of years new land.

The muddy part can't be crossed with normal shoes, they will stick in the mud. You definitely need a pair of high basketball shoes. After you've used your shoes in mud and salt water they STINK, so probably you'll want to throw them away. So, buy as cheap as possible. But not too cheap, you don't want the soles to come off.

S.O.S. * Save Our Soles

This guy's has discovered S.O.S. actually means Save Our Soles. You don't leave any garbage on the Wad, not even some unstuck soles.

We walked to Schiermonnikoog, one of the Frisian islands. To get there, you have to cross several tideways. Depending on the tide (and the depth of the gully), the water can be as low as this, or up to your chin. In sunny weather like we had, it is refreshing and fun to cross a gully. When there is enough time, you may even have a swim in a gully.

Als het water stijgt wl

A boat on the sand

On the Waddensea are lots of boats too. The ones you see when you're walking here, are either far away or, like this one, have anchored on the sand. It must be fun to wait in the sun for the incoming tide, raising your ship until you can sail again.

The sandbanks and tideways change each year because of the storms in the autumn and winter, so each year the guides have to rediscover the paths in the Waddensea. To go wadlopen by yourself is very dangerous (and forbidden). If you would not have reached high ground in a few hours, the tide will come in and you will be floating in over two meters deep seawater.

And there is no need to go by yourself: even in a group like we walked in, you can make pictures without anyone in it.

You can almost see Schiermonnikoog

When we arrived at Schiermonnikoog, we decided we had walked enough and we needed a day of rest. 

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