Day 2: 'S' stands for Shrimps and Seals

Texel Travel Blog

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TX-10 Emmie

Early in the morning I called the crew of the TX-10 Emmie fishing boat to see if they had enough space to take us with them. No problem whatsoever, we simply had to turn up in the harbour of Oudeschild at 10:15 AM. So after a nice breakfast with sweet buns we headed towards this lovely little town dominated by fishing boats, many of which used for tourist trips like the one we were going to take.

After a chat with the board man we went aboard and soon we were leaving the harbour towards the open sea. Part of the trip would normally take you to sand banks where you could watch the seals basking in the sun. Unfortunately however the water was too high, submerging the banks, and there was only the occasional chance of catching the head of a seal above the water.

TX-10 Emmie
Still, the two hour windy trip had enough of interest to make up for this.

The two nets at the sides of the ship were lowered into the water while we sat at the high platform at the front of the ship. These nets would be dragged across the ocean floor, catching shrimps along the way. After about an hour the nets were raised and the catch was dropped in the collection tray in the mid of the ship. Like the board man, the fisherman was a nice bloke with a great sense of humour. He would explain the process of shrimp catching in Dutch and German, and occasionally in English. Whereas this normally is a rather tiresome process, since you have to wait for your own language, this guy's approach was absolutely hilarious. Not only was his German slightly dodgy, with a thick Dutch accent, he would also change some of the details in every language.

TX-10 Emmie
In Dutch he told us that a certain poisonous fish they had caught would make you sick for 4 days. In German this suddenly became 25 days and for any unfortunate English speaking visitor that would be stung it would mean instant death. ;-)

After explaining the various sorts of jelly fish, fish, crabs and other strange catches (among which a dead bird!) he turned on the machine that sorted the shrimps from the larger sea creature. The latter were returned to the ocean while the shrimps were cooked and everyone could have a go at peeling and tasting them. Unlike gambas, peeling these small shrimps turned out to be quite a task and when we were given a bag of shrimps to take home I knew this was going to be a laborious evening.

After over two hours we docked in the harbour of Oudeschild again and I decided to drop by the hotel for lunch and to put the shrimps in the fridge.

Catching some sea breezes.
Now, we hadn't spotted many seals this morning but there was a better place on Texel to see them. At two o'clock we arrived at Ecomare, a big interactive exhibition about the history of Texel, the possible futures (taking into account climate change), the various fish and birds living in the region and much much more. The amount of multimedia information was simply overwhelming. If you would have the time and necessary attention span you could easily spend a full day in here (there's even the possibility to take a long guided walk through the dunes).

The absolute highlight however was the feeding of the seals that were kept in large basins outside.

Lifting the nets.
In half an hour the guy feeding the seals told the public about the life of the seals, how they ended up here and what would happen to them. Anxious to be fed some of the seals splashed water or even jumped out of the basin on the ramp. Some seals had become blind of old age, showing from their grey eyes. There were two types of seals and the last three to be fed were among the most remarkable. One of them had been used in a Scandinavian children TV series and had been trained to roar for food (something seals, unlike sea lions, don't normally do) and another would wave for fish with one of his fins. Close to the larger basins there were some small ones where adorable young seals were being raised.

Instead of going to a restaurant we decided to nuke some pancakes in the apartment's microwave tonight, after which I remembered the shrimps. A sat down to peel them and one hour later I had a small pile of peeled shrimps and a back that was killing me. Still, after nuking them again and adding some raspberry dressing they tasted great. To top this off I jumped in the appartment's steam cabin, followed by a cool shower and an even cooler beer. Sure, the level of adrenaline wasn't as high as yesterday but we still had loads of fun. ;-)

KeikoCreative says:
Wow oh I wish I can go there soon, is so fun seeing your blog:P
Posted on: Sep 04, 2009
Biedjee says:
as a kid I spent four or five summers in a row on Texel, this brings back memories :-)
Posted on: Aug 29, 2009
jaykay1975 says:
He Ed, Goede blog. Nooit geweten dat je gewoon met die boten mee kan..
Posted on: Aug 28, 2009
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TX-10 Emmie
TX-10 Emmie
TX-10 Emmie
TX-10 Emmie
TX-10 Emmie
TX-10 Emmie
Catching some sea breezes.
Catching some sea breezes.
Lifting the nets.
Lifting the nets.
Catch of the day.
Catch of the day.
Sorting ...
Sorting ...
... shrimpless waste ...
... shrimpless 'waste' ...
... cooking ...
... cooking ...
... and peeling.
... and peeling.
Cooked shrimp.
Cooked shrimp.
Mikes starfish.
Mike's starfish.
TX-10 back in the harbour of Ouden…
TX-10 back in the harbour of Oude…
Pre-historic wooly rhino in Ecomar…
Pre-historic wooly rhino in Ecoma…
Seal at Ecomare.
Seal at Ecomare.
Feeding the seals.
Feeding the seals.
Blind seal at Ecomare.
Blind seal at Ecomare.
Baby seal at Ecomare.
Baby seal at Ecomare.
A moment of rest at Ecomare.
A moment of rest at Ecomare.
Big fishy at Ecomare.
Big fishy at Ecomare.
Jan van Gent at Ecomare.
Jan van Gent at Ecomare.
More shrimp peeling.
More shrimp peeling.
The result of an hour of peeling.
The result of an hour of peeling.
Texel
photo by: maryanntravel