Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Moldova, the river Nistro

Recently I just did show you all some pictures from the trip from holland to Moldova. It took me five months to complete the 4000+Km trip across Europe. Finally I made it to Moldova, entering from the Black Sea and the waters known as Kyllyman.

The weeks before heavy flooding did attack Romania and Moldova. People lost their houses and cattle did drown. The last few hundred kilometers were terrible for me. I had to go upstream, while mud and Moldovan Midges were giving me a hard time.
The last day i had to paddle 21 hours in a row, to be in time for the deathline: so press and all the other people could welcome me.

But in the end there is the reward. In Voda lui voda I was welcomed by the staff from the hospital, TVcameras and a large crowd who welcomed me. I did ask attention for the SMILESFORMOLDOVA foundation. Passing over twelve countries we did have a lot of attention and we put the project in Chisineau on the map. Other parties are now also picking it up and the Maxillofacial Protetics Treatment Room will be realized with a lot of help. Thank you all for your support.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ukraine and Black Sea

After leaving the Danube, I ended up in the Black Sea, overhere i had to go North in order to reach my last part of the trip, de Dnjester river in Moldova.
The sea looked more like the Brown Sea and I did have some '"adventures" while in the Ukraine. I had been arrested, had to hitch-hike with my kayak for a few days through backcountry Ukraine and then final was back on the track, in Bilhorod-Dnjstovski. That's where I meet some locals. We spend two days with talking, walking, fishing drinking and more drinking.
The lads did give a me home-away-from-home feeling. Or call it Ukrainian Hospitality. And as the bottle did get more empty...we were able to communicate easier. Needless to say that the next day i needed a day off.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Donau too....Two

My fist night on Romanian soil. Moldova Veche.
Paddling the Kazane...the narrow part of the Dunaj
The Biggest dam from europe...it cost billions of Dollars but no money left for a kayak friendly jetty.

Sun is setting over Serbia, while camping on the Romanian side.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Donau..Duna, Danube, Dunaj

On the way to Moldova, I had to paddle over 2400 kilometer on the Donau. Passing many countries and different cultures.

The big dam right after Vienna, Austria

Budapest, Hungary by night.

The Kayakclub from Novi Sad, Serbia.

Spending the night on a houseboat just outside Novi Sad


Monday, December 8, 2008

Main and Main Donau canal.

On the way to Moldova, I had to go upstream the Main and Main-donau canal to reach the Donau.
Over 70 locks I did pass. Sometimes with help from the lockmaster and the lock. Later on i had to take the kayak out on my wheels and walk around. This last is very tiresome.
The lock with most difference in waterlevel was Erlangen, Germany.
Over 20 meters.
Take a break
COBBER had a fight with a boulder

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Rhine...to strong to go upstream.

The people from Wannheim Kayak Club near Duisburg in Germany did look after my like a prodigal son...I did have a good homestay their for a few days. They also helped me to get a lift upstream the river Rhine with a ship. The stream was to strong to paddle all up to the Main canal.

The m.v. Waldhof did bring me in two days from Duisburg to the Maincanal. It's was a good learning experience to see from a ship the movements on the water.

COBBER is having a break and getting a suntan on the deck from the m.v. Waldhof.

One of the first damages along the way...hitting a boulder near a lock.
Many more would follow...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Germany. april 2008

The first month of the 4000+ Kmtrip was taking most of my condition: Going upstream and passing many sluices/locks. But also a lot of nice bridges

Pushing and pushing the Dormund-Ems Canal, no side effects

After passing a lock, the waterpolice did pass by and asked for my papers. I forget that I had a liter of "fresh"milk in my cockpit. And did step on it. It later turned into sourcreme.

I met many people along the way, overhere the couple that takes care of the kayakclub Sterkrade: Thorsten and his wife. Thanks for the beer and the hamburgers!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Images along the way..from holland to moldova

Images along the way
Above the pumpstation from Termunterzijl.

At the moment I am still busy with….ahh many things and don't know where to start with my story about paddling from Holland to Moldova.
So it's better to put some photo's on the blog and then hopefull it will come back.

The small fishing village of Ditsum, Germany. during the trip I was doing report for the dutch newspaper "De volkskrant''. Overall I did write over 60 artickles.

After crossing the Dollard I have to upstream the river Ems. In the background the port of Emden. This was all during my first days of the trip (april 2008)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

COBBER returns!

COBBER is home!

I just left Moldova September 13 on the way back to Holland. And was going back by plane.
Before I left we took COBBER from Chisineau to Galatz (Romania) by road, a ship was waiting to take him back to Holland .
A patient who was treated in the hospital with help from the SMILESforMOLDOVA foundation was so happy and delighted with his new prostheses that he offered me a free ride to the border. After a few hours we arrived.

Travel in style
Then I did tie COBBER behind a car and the last 20 Km we drove to the Shipyard where COBBER would go home over the water.
The BASE Express from VOS (VroonOffshoreServices) did take him in three weeks to Holland, Den Helder. Storm and rain; windforce 9
So Saturday afternoon I did receive a call and we had to pick him up from the ship.
We drive with wind force 9 over the Afsluitdijk and returned home safe.

United with my kayak: COBBER.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I made it!

Curious about what happened??? More later...
Hello to all the people.

August 27 I did arrive in Chisineau, the capital of Moldova.
After paddling over 4000 km and passing by 11 countries I could say to myself: I MADE IT!

Well I did not maintain my English Blog for a long time. I was busy with writing for a Dutch newspaper.
So in the coming time I will tell you what all happened (in English).

regards Jörgen

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

half way...

Since two days i am in Budapest. Or Hungaria as they call it.
When I did leave the Main and the Main donau canals things went easier. No more locks and more locks, only a few...still they were one to remember. Kilometers of walking to get back into the boat. After leaving the West of europe i did went into Slowakia, where i did paddle for two days, I did not change money, so I just went all the time south of the danube, where it is Hungarian soil.
Useless to say, you meet and experience a lot of karackters and situations. All worth the trip.

The danube is making it not hard for me, paddling in these waters go by itself and not hard work...maybe later.
I sleep on the banks of the danube, in clubs, in sheds etc... so just the way i like it.
People are friendly and nothing to worry.
In Vienna i had to repair my boat, it had over 5 holes and most of the keelstrip we had to replace. Taking it out of the water and carry it over locks and boulders everyday, will take the most of the material.

Well later on when i will be home a nice report will follow...seems i am into Eastern europe english, can not think clear, the way i want to write it.

See you later,
or t

Monday, May 19, 2008

the first lap


to all viewers.

well yesterday i did paddle my first few hours on the donau.

having paddled for over a month upstream, i was a relief. just go with the flow.

i left the blog a while unattended because i was to busy with paddling. and as i have to write for a newspaper as well every week overhere in holland, the english site is forgotten. the river rhine i did paddle for one day but the current was to strong. i did go to the wanheimer kayak club near duisburg and they helped me to get things organized.

we find a big vessel that did bring me to the main river, upstream the rhine. and we did a good interview as well in duisberg.
a whole page was for smilesformoldova.
then the battke of the river main did start a long and tiresome river....if you go upstream. sometimes, imean often the pace was not only 3 km an hour....and then the numerous locks. as for now i had more than 60 locks i did pass by.
some are helpful, sometimes have to wait for 2 hours to go together with a vessel. sometimes had to take the boat out of big quays and was always happy not to have my back in two pieces....all in all a reminder for the people who read thisl do it downstream and a beautiful river is there for you.
after a few weeks of hard work i did arrive at the main donau canal. also there a lot of locks and after a few days the lockmaster did not want to help anymore...the height was getting to dangerous for a kayak. so back to the traditional handwork, all in all hard work and always happy to be on the other side of the lock.

but it.s not all about suffering. one night a man passed by with his son, and promised to come back...with warm chicken, lots of softdrinks, lights, bread etc....i had to refuse a lot because it will not fit in the boat, although the chicken was already reserved for the belly.
or an old lady who did keep an eye on the boat because she did not trust the youngster hanging around.
for the rest it.s perfect kayaking, the cold freezing weather is now gone and we had a warm week. and now some rain again.
my first lap to the donau is done. 1245 km.
and although i speak some german...it can not be avoided to have some misunderstanding now and then...the lockmaster one time did hang out of his window because i made an error...i just could not understand what he did mean.
aber keine probleme jahhhhh.
i will take a few days of rest overhere in regensburg and do a interview and then at the end of the week it.s paddling again.
i also have a big hole under the waterline of the cockpit, but the tape is doing a great job.

well the coming two or three months i will be on the donau, danube or whatever they call it.
in 3 weeks i will leave the west of europe behind me and will go into serbia, etc...see what will overthere....

Thursday, April 24, 2008

images along the way, the river Ems

after trying very hard to do things in the internet cafe the right way. i did have refuge in a Photoshop.

See here some results....paddling the Dollard and Ems...
The photo above is at Termunterzijl.
The second night of my journeywas minus 6...but during the day it is very comfortable.

The boys from the ARV, the academical Rowing Club in Munster did give me two days of shelter in their very nice clubhouse. This club stands for tradition and a life time commitment. Leather seats a billiard and during the night BBQ with Bradwurst und Beer. Thanks!

Well, it was here that i planted my tent near an old pump station, and then we sun went down......

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A dirty rotten week.


After a great crowd did wave me goodbye on saturday, i went of to Termunterzijl. In an easy pace i had to be there on sunday early afternoon. Josephen and my mum would say goodbye to me

During the night it is cold and freezing: minus 6 was registered one night, while my body does have to get used to the temparatures as well.

After two days i had to cross to Germany and the weather was perfect. No wind and a sunny day. When I arrived in the little harbour from Jemgum, things started to get worse. I did start to vomit and my bowls are not cooperating. I have been in bed for three days. Last friday I continued upstream the river Ems. Hard work and a lot of headwind as well.

I made it to the Sealocks of Heebron. And now continue to go inland. I pass by numerous locks and have to wait long times in the rain and the hail. So fun at all.
But like they said, Better a bad day in the kayak, than a good day in the office,
so far I made it to Munster. A nice city, with a lot of bridges and nice cafes.

After spending all the time camping, I now have residence in the ARV, the rowingclub overhere. A nice hot shower is welcome and a meal in a restaurant is welcome.

See you later,
I am not able to send pictures or can I use a grammar correction...this in case my English sucks!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Press and Paddles.

The last few weeks are hectic. The media is giving the project SMILES FOR MOLDOVA a lot of attention.
We are happy with it. The back-up team did work very hard:
On the website you can see translations in many languages, so people from countries I will pass by are also informed.
The guestbook is having frequent visitors.
And in the media section you will find all articles, interviews etc.

I did give a lot of attention about safety as well, when doing an interview. Seems they always cut it out….a pity because the general public is not well informed about kayaking. Most people only read about tragic accidents. A few days ago a peddler did lost his life on the river Rhine. He was minced beef when they find him in the screw of a vessel.
I repeat all through the interview: Safety first! To make the public aware of Safe Paddling.

Last week we also went to Amsterdam to visit Arend Bloem, he is one on the major material sponsors. At the same day we visit the daily newspaper; de Volkskrant.
The editors did welcome us.
Toine Heijmans, Jady Petovic and Michiel van der Geest are the ones editing the Travel section.
Volkskrantreizen.nl will be keeping the Dutch readers up-to-date about my trip.

Well a few days more…and then I will go off.
So if you want to meet and greet….Saturday april 5.
From 10.30 you are welcome. I will leave 12.00 noon.
Not later, I don't want to miss the boat.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Arend Bloem - kajak.nl

Yesterday we made a trip to Amsterdam. The weather was just like it was used to be in Ireland. We had sun, rain, snow and some mist in a short period of time.

We did visit Arend Bloem. Also known as "the Kajakcentre from Holland". Dozens of boats are on display and if you want to have a try; Just hop in and do a test on the water. Having a wide range of boats: There is always a model that will suit you.
Seakayaks, WW, playboats, Canadian canoes or for the more advanced: racing and K1 boats.
Together with Arjen and Rob and the other Kayak-holics they have a lot of know-how when it comes to boats, paddles, safety, clothes etc.
Paddle to the metal!
Mister Eagle has been in his younger days a participant of the Olympics. So over speeding in a kayak was a common habit of him. This year he is celebrating his 25 year anniversary in the Kayak business.

A milestone and many more years to come….congratulations! They are situated in an area that is known as the "Zaanstreek". Windmills and irrigation systems from the early days keep this part of Holland dry.

Who will be the Medal-winner?
Arend Bloem and kajak.nl are also sponsoring the project SMILES FOR MOLDOVA.
This is a nice gesture and a great help. We went home with a lot of materials. But also with good advice…useful hints from skilled people.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Invitation to say Farewell.

Well sometimes you have to say "Bye Bye" in order to make your dreams come true.
Saturday April 5 is another day to part again from family, friends and a lot of other people.

Restaurant "de twee provincien", also known as the Lighthouse, near the "Paterswoldse meer", the lake is having their facility available for the public who wants to say Goodbye and give me their best wishes for the trip I will make for SMILES FOR MOLDOVA.
The kayak trip I will do across Europe to ask attention for "Maxillofacial Prosthetics".

Everybody is welcome at 10:30 in the morning to have a cup of tea, be informed about the trip and give each other the opportunity to wave Farewell.
At 12.00 noon I will part and paddle away….my trip will start!

The last few weeks I did have a lot of heart-warming reactions.
A sailing yacht near Tasmania was sending their moral support through their "Sailmail", somebody did phone me from an oil rig in the North Sea. While another send me a nice poem from Northern Ireland.
And in the UK, kayakers did help me to spread the sponsor mails to a wide audience.
Not only abroad people want to help and support….

This week we also had the good news that a sponsor in Holland, called
NATIONAL ACADEMIC will support us with 20000 Euros.
So this is a good start and a reward for the back-up team as well as for myself. It helps to make SMILES FOR MOLDOVA a big success.
Also a motivation to make it to Moldova and keep the project in the spotlight.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Since a few years I read and join the Forum from Hiking-site.nl

This site is the number one in Holland when it comes to Outdoor.
Raymond Koome has proven over the years that a high standard website like this is appreciated by the public.
When you are a hiker, mountaineer, kayaker or maybe a backpacker looking for new horizons this is the site to be.
Dutch and Belgium people find quick and easy an answer for all sorts of questions:
Materials, cooking, camping it's all discussed on the Forum.
Or maybe you want to read about people who climbed the mountains and have stunning stories to tell….or have a slideshow from the top of the world while sitting in your armchair.
As you can see, there is something on this website for everybody. Not only far away, but also close to home: Friesland, the Biesbosch or a stroll on the beach of Vlieland.

Hiking site.nl is also supporting SMILES FOR MOLDOVA.
They send me a Katadyn waterfilter Combi.
This piece of equipment will safe a lot of time and will make sure I have reliable drinkingwater along the way.
Thanks for this.