Last few months I spent on the Dutch Island of Schiermonnikoog. Being an adventurer is not always easy, who is going to pay you to go on a journey? That’s right, me. That’s why I had to find a job and a job was found as a bicyclerenter on this beautiful island. So after working here for four months I’ll end this periode with a good ‘ol adventure. The SLOW28.
Most journeys go quite fast for me. I try to do as many kilometers as possible, and try to go from A to B as fast as possible to challenge myself and my mind. Because of this I miss what is really around me and all the details of the land I’m walking, cycling or crawling. I decided to do things a little different this time (it also helps this island is quite small). So let me tell you about this very special island.
Schiermonnikoog is one of the five Dutch islands. It is the one with the least amount of people living on it; 947. Most part of the island is national park, part of UNESCO world heritage. Only the village has inhabitants and there are no people living outside the main village. Outside the village one can find a mixture of dunes, forest, beach (the most wide beach in Europe), wetlands and a huge mudflat when it’s low tide. Birds, seals and many types of insects and flowers thrive here. The landscape is ever changing. Winds, water and sand make the dunes bigger and smaller every year, the beaches wider and the ground more boggy or hard.
To keep track of these changes the Dutch nature administration placed “beachpoles”. At every kilometer a pole was placed. The poles would be 5 meters high, and if a pole would be smaller then last year it meant the sand got higher. With new technologies the poles became obsolete, but they still remind us of the ever changing island and nature that we are a part of. In total there were 288 poles placed. 28 main poles around the island, each one kilometer apart and the rest for extra measurements. This year it has been exactly 150 years ago the first pole was placed.
On September 25th (full moon), I will walk all these poles. At 11 AM I’ll start at pole one and walk towards the second, taking one hour for a kilometer. During this hour I’ll make pictures and write down in 150 words what I see. This journey will take 28 hours in total; from 11 AM till 3 AM. During this journey I will walk the widest beach in Europe, walk through dunes and through swamp lands. In the night I will walk the “Kwelders”, a boggy and soggy land with only small plants and nothing else. On the kwelders I will cross small salt water rivers, bringing salt water into the land when the tides are high. The last kilometers I will walk on the sea floor. During low tide the sea on the south part of the island gets dry, and it becomes a mudflat. In fact, during this low tide one can walk all the way to the main land.
Schiermonnikoog is still one of the wild places in the Netherlands. Unbroken sea winds shape the island, as well as the salt water and sand. Nature makes it’s own land and shapes here, making it one of the most beautiful and rugged places of the Netherlands. This journey takes me to the last wild place in this well shaped country and walking 28 hours straight on a slow pace allows me to see every detail of this land. I hope the moon will help me to light up the night.
You can follow me on my Facebook for the journey