Exploring Rockanje, May 29, 2019.

On another beautiful day for a hike , I decided on second "beach walk", this one being southwest of Rotterdam.  Driving through and around Rotterdam port, you can only be impressed by the incredible amount of industrialization in this area.  Rotterdam is THE gateway for transport of merchandise and natural resources into and out of Europe. 

Once I passed all this amazing activity, I was back in the country side with cattle in the meadows and small towns filling the landscape.When  I entered the town of Rockanje , I parked my car, and walked a short while through a forested area before reaching the beach.

The beach was very wide and empty!  I had the whole beach to myself, except for a few people walking their dogs.  I think that will change this weekend, when the temperatures will be around the mid 80's!  Other than a lot of small sea shells, there were no major discoveries to enjoy.

Once I got to the end of the beach, I walked along the Haringvlietdam.  On the dam are a number of very large windmills, below which I noticed several bird fatalities, who had been unable to avoid the huge windmill blades..

The Haringvliet sluices are a construction that closed off the estuary of the Haringvliet, as part of the Delta Works. The structure consists of 17 sluices, several kilometres of dam and a shipping lock. The northernmost of the Delta Works, a huge project of dams and sluices to protect the Province of Zeeland from flooding, it was supposed to be finished by 1968 as the first part of the project.  Building started in 1957 and was finished in 1971. Instead of damming the estuary it was decided to build sluices in order to be able to let in salt water to prevent freezing of the rivers Meuse and Rhine and to drain these rivers in case of flood. The sluices have two doors each of which the door on the sea side is the lowest. This has been done to mitigate the effect of the waves on the doors and the construction.

There are plans to open several sluices permanently, resulting in the estuary function of the Haringvliet being restored. This will be done in order to improve the ecological situation in the river Meuse and Rhine. It will allow the return of brackish water (with the associated flora and fauna) and will restore the main route for migrating fish. It will also result in a minor return of the tides in areas like Tiengemeten and the Biesbosch, both important nature reserves.

After admiring the Dutch ingenuity of living safely below the water line, I walked back on the other side of the dam and followed the beach further to the east through an area of Dunes.  Walking here was a pleasure, having the whole place all to myself!  

The return walk took me along quiet narrow country roads, and a wonderful forest until I reached my car for the drive back home.

The hike was 10 miles of walking through a diverse landscape on a beautiful day.