Watt walk Föhr: As we walked across the seabed
Whoever is on the North Sea has to go to the Watts. This is an unwritten law because the Wadden Sea is a unique natural phenomenon worldwide. A mudflat walk with a knowledgeable guide is exciting, entertaining and incomparably instructive.
It’s not as if love was at first sight with us and the Watt. At our very first encounter on the North Sea coast on Sylt, we only hold it out for a few minutes in the mud. Silas is still so small that already the way from the parking lot to the dike crown is a challenge, Janis spills sea water into the rubber boots during the first steps. It is early March and cold as snow.
A good five years later, we have the opportunity again, and this time we take it thoroughly. In our fantastic short break on Föhr we decide for the great natural history mudflat walk with Heinz Jürgen Fischer.
The yield of our tideland migration on Föhr: Oyster shells and housing of the whelk, provided with traces of other Watt inhabitants.
Content of this article
Watt walk with a Föhringer unique
In Hoftel, our beautiful family hotel, we have learned from the appointment. Because the mudflats are directed to the ebb and flow, the break times change daily. If you want to go with it, you have to get there on time Parking in Dunsum stand by. Registration is not required. We meet this condition and meet a fifteen minutes before the announced departure to a motley troupe of other tourists, a total of more than 30 people. We shyly do small talk, compare our footwear and consult if our boot heights are sufficient.
Fischer drives ahead punctually in his old station wagon and looks exactly as one would imagine a knowledgeable tuyere guide: short pants, tanned, a weather-beaten face under snow-white hair and peaked cap. He shows Frisian rudeness, which is never meant evil, but tolerates no contradiction.
It is a cool early summer day, not 20 degrees air temperature. I certainly have no intention of walking barefoot for miles across the exposed sea floor.
But that’s exactly what I’m going to do, says Fischer. He’s right. And: I will love it!
Under difficult conditions into the Watt
A shared view over the dike shows that we still have to wait a bit. With a grave fork the experienced mudflat guides the earth, sun and moon into the parking lot, explains where the water comes from, where it goes, and why. The wind conditions today ensure that the water has not run out sufficiently. For me, it looks as if the tide has just reached its peak: the water is up to the packing plant.
It is similar, explains our guide. Watt walkers basically follow the flood to get back to shore in time. And today there is a lot of water. With rubber boots there is really nothing to want. Critically he examines Silas, who is by far the smallest with his seven years.
“If you have the water higher than the belly button somewhere, you’ll turn back!” He says clearly.
Higher than the belly button? I thought we were walking over dry seabed; I thought that was the joke of the matter.
The first part of the route gives us the impression of going for a swim.
But as we descend the rudimentary concrete staircase over the packing plant, I have the impression of a collective bathing party. We left our shoes and boots at the dike crown, neatly lined up and turned over, so that the rain does not run in pure. The weather does not look particularly good. Fischer has long considered whether we should dare today. But for us it is the only chance, because we are going home tomorrow, and together with a few others, we have successfully begged.
Barefoot into the mud at not even 20 degrees: Not so bad
Nearly half of the original group has left the courage. In these circumstances they would rather not.
Luckily it’s not as cold as we thought. The movement makes us not even cold feet to get. And after a few hundred meters, the water becomes much flatter, until we finally find ourselves in the dry. The worst we have now overcome, assures our guide. The Priel at the very beginning is already the deepest.
For about 50 years, Heinz Jürgen Fischer leads holidaymakers into the Watt.
Close up encounter with lugworm and beach crab
We walk a long way, then Fischer lowers the grave fork, which he has carried so far over his shoulder, in the surprisingly solid sandy soil. We form a circle and watch what comes to light.
So we make the acquaintance mussels and at the same time can observe the technology with which they work their way back underground. Fisherman digs one Wattwurm out. Silas is allowed to pick him up and show him around.
“Looks like a fat, fat earthworm,” judges Janis, who of course has to take a close look at the animal.
We learn how the digestion of the lobworm works and how the many piles in the sand come about. In general, we learn a lot. This man knows how to teach children and adults about the wildlife of his homeland and to inspire them seriously. I know for sure that at that time the Wattenmeer habitat was an extensive topic in my school. But I know with equal certainty that I never knew so much about how I experienced Heinz Jürgen Fischer in these three hours. Treating things in the truest sense of the word locally is and remains the best form of education.
Length of the mudflat hike: 8 kilometers
About eight kilometers we lay back that day, walking barefoot alternately through shallow water and over sand. We meet Swordfish, whelks, observe seagulls, oystercatchers and even seals – far away as jumping points in the Priel.
Silas gets acquainted with one beach crab, who hastens over his foot.
On rain shower get us thoroughly, and we experience a small one Sandstorm, the nasty tingles on our bare legs.
Föhr’s coastline has shrunk to a narrow strip on the horizon. We are in the middle of the North Sea. This realization hits us with a profound vehemence. Water and sand, hidden in between a welter of life, and yet our little group is literally alone in the distant corridor, exposed to the mercy of the elements.
The shallow waters and sand underfoot are teeming with life.
At the turning point we are already closer to Sylt than to Föhr, can clearly make out the ugly bed castles of Westerland; However, even at low tide a several meters deep Priel separates the two islands. Once a week, Fischer Wattwanderer leads from Föhr to Amrum, but also on the tour you should have a swimming trunks for the “middle hole” pride.
The elements successfully met
The way back becomes a bit tedious. Our coddled feet are not used to riding on scouring sand for so long. But the unambiguousness of our situation lights up the boys. Behind us, the tide slowly sets in and drives us to the shore. The tides can not be stopped by a “I can not do more”, and mom and dad can not help it either.
“You do not need to complain, it’s no use anyway”, sighs Janis wise. Luckily we have motivation biscuits here.
If you are there for longer and more flexible in terms of time than we can with luck also one Children tour catch, which is tuned to shorter legs.
The superior feeling of having done everything on one’s own strength, however, certainly has its own value. After climbing the concrete steps again, squeezing socks and shoes over our shrunken feet, paying our guide and saying goodbye with thanks, the boys euphorically puffed across the bicycle handlebars across the island back to their accommodation. And I’m also very happy with our experience in the Watt.
Here’s why Föhr’s slogan is “Frisian Caribbean”. Especially the “Frisian” is right.
Practical information about the mudflat hiking on Föhr
As the days and times of the hikes are constantly shifting, the most up-to-date information can best be found on the signs posted anywhere on the island or on the island Tourist Information Föhr catch up, telephone (0 46 81) 300. If and when special children’s tours take place, you know there as well.
Watt walks on your own are dangerous! Never go into the mud without a knowledgeable guide!
More reports about mudflats
Marc von Reisezoom was also with his family on a mudflat walk and has a lot of great photos than me. He started from Büsum. Here is his blog post.
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