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Denmark 2006

(Classes and trips with nicusnature.)

"The spiders bring luck" explained Beth. "When we first saw this farmhouse the thatch and all the windows were festooned with spider webs. It's a lucky place."

We reached the Danish island where Beth lives by kayak with Nicolai from Nicus Nature. It was a windy September so we made camp here for more than one night.

Denmark isn't known for rocky shores, cliffs or ferocious tides, and really the wind and the sun are the only potential summer hazards. The wind, harnessed by restored wooden sailing ships and by modern wind generators alike, was generous...

I had rarely thought about how quietly sailing vessels can travel, slowly gliding past under steady canvas.

In a tepee of this size it's good to be short... or to kneel...

...but too much kneeling can make your legs grow short....

Beth's cobbled farmyard, surrounded by thatched buildings draped in spider webs. This is one of the only farms that survived a fire in the Second World War.

Beth, the lovely wife of my old friend Peter Blay

Beth opened Peter's studio for us to meet and eat. This is the space where Peter worked on his graphic designs, paintings and children's toys. In the rafters above our heads rests his long paddle and the kayak in which he traveled thousands of miles.

...at the window, a real cat...

...and a mock one keep watch in opposite directions

Peter lies in the churchyard beneath this headstone and these lovingly tended plants.

Down by the tiny harbor is "Peter's boathouse", the red shed.

Each farm on the island had its own sign. It was used on all the farm implements that might be shared through the year when everyone worked together on each farm in turn to get the heavier jobs dome more efficiently... each item could be instantly identified with the correct farm.

Like some ritual dance, we all circle with our paddles, rehearsing the moves to make when turning our kayaks in the wind.

The tiny harbor that provided shelter for everyone from the wind for an on-water class

Preparing food in the shelter of an information board telling about the history and life on the island

Suiting up before heading home...

... while the wind combs the soft grasslands on shore

Inter-island paddling in Denmark can spring some surprises... here highland cattle wade in the salt water...

So, the Danish islands offer great cruising with little in the way of major hazards. Sheltered water, historic seaports, old farms, rural coastline...a relaxing place to paddle despite the occasional rain...

...and the occasional "strain"...

After this trip in rural island Denmark, we traveled to Copenhagen, exchanging the thatched roofs for the bustle of a historic city...

Nigel and Kristin will be running classes and trips with Nicus Nature again in September 2007... and hopefully in 2008 also. Check out Nicus Nature for details.