Texel


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The island of Texel, with its extensive sandy beaches and abundant wildlife, is the most visited Dutch island in the Wadden Sea. Ferries make the 15-minute crossing north to Texel from Den Helder every half-hour during busy periods. Texel was popular historically as well. Texel Roads, off the southeast coast of the island, was one of the main Dutch anchorages for ships heading to Africa, Asia and North America between 1500 and 1900. Over the centuries many thousands of ships anchored there to provision and wait for good weather, and at any given time dozens of ships could be lying off.

With clear weather in the forecast, we took our bikes on the ferry to Texel and spent the day cycling around the island. One of our first stops was the Museum Kaap Skil on the southeast side of the island. Kaap Skil covers the history of the island, with excellent exhibits on Texel Roads and items salvaged in the area. At the north end of the Texel we climbed to the top of 144 ft (35 m) Eierland Lighthouse for sweeping views. And along the west coast we enjoyed the seals and porpoises at the Ecomare aquarium, nature museum and animal sanctuary.

Below are trip highlights from October 24th, 2019 at Texel, Netherlands. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

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Ferry Line
In the bicycle line for the ferry to Texel. It’s interesting that three of the cyclists were postal delivery people.
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Loading Cars
This time of year the ferry to Texel runs once an hour today (mid-week) and every half-hour at peak times Friday through Sunday. Given the frequency, we were surprised at how many cars were loaded.
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Bicycle Parking
Locking our bicycles on the ferry to tour around the ship while we’re underway from Den Helder to Texel. Surprisingly, this is the first time we’ve taken our bikes on a ferry since leaving Seattle.
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Scooter
Scooters, and small, low-speed cars, are allowed in the bicycle and pedestrian lanes in the Netherlands. It always seem odd to see a scooter zip past a group of pedestrians.
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Ferry Lounge
The busy ferry lounge. Most of the people heading across appeared to be tourists, perhaps because it’s mid-morning.
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Departing Den Helder
Looking back to Den Helder as we depart for Texel.
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Fishing
Fish boat working Marsdiep as the ferry crossed from Den Helder to Texel.
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Texel Arrival
Arriving into Texel. Only one ferry is running now, with another parked at Texel, but during peak times both will run to provide service every half hour.
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Texel Southeast Coast
Cycling along the southeast coast of Texel towards the town of Oudeschild.
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De Schans Pumping Station
Due to construction work, we were rerouted inside the dike where we passed the De Schans pumping station. Visible through the glass is Fort De Schans (see satellite imagery for more detail). The fort was initially built in the late 1500s on the order of William of Orange, and later expanded by Napoleon after he visited in 1811.
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Oudeschild
Traditional Dutch homes lining a street in the town of Oudeschild.
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Lunch
An exceptional lunch in the winter garden at Michelin-starred Restaurant ‘t Pakhuus in Oudeschild. It was a bit more extravagant than our typical lunch, but a most enjoyable meal.
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Museum Kaap Skil
The wood-slatted exterior of Museum Kaap Skil in Oudeschild, covering the history of Texel.
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Texel Roads
Texel Roads, off the southeast coast of Texel, was one of the main Dutch anchorages for ships heading to sea between 1500 and 1900. Over the centuries many thousands of ships anchored there to provision and wait for good weather, and at any given time dozens of ships could be lying off. This scale model in the Museum Kaap Skil, with over one hundred accurate and detailed ship replicas, depicts what the area might looked like during the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century.
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Shipwrecks
With so many ships passing by and anchoring off Texel, the surrounding waters are full of shipwrecks. This section of the Museum Kaap Skil displays some of the many undersea finds.
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Beachcombing Collection
The beachcombing collection at Museum Kaap Skil is packed with a huge amount of diverse beach finds. This is only a small portion of what is there.
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Bottles
One wall in the Beachcombing Collection at Museum Kaap Skil on Texel is full of found bottles.
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Texel Jachthaven
Lots of space this time of year at Texel Jachthaven.
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Lancasterdijk
After lunch we continued cycling north on Texel along the Lancasterdijk towards the lighthouse at the northern tip of the island.
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IJzeren Zeekaap
IJzeren Zeekaap, a daytime-only beacon erected in 1854, formed a line with a church in Oudeschild to help guide ships along the east side of Texel.
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Tidal Flats
Bird-filled tidal flats at the northeast end of Texel.
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Delta Works Monument
Monument in the shape of the east coast of Texel commemorating the delta works completed there between 1961 and 1981.
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Eierland Lighthouse
The Eierland Lighthouse at the north end of Texel was first lit in 1864. The 144 ft (35 m) tower is visible for 29 nautical miles.
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View from Lighthouse
The great view across the adjacent beach from the top of the Eierland Lighthouse. Even in late October a lot of people are on the beach—probably some of the same people who came over with us by ferry.
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Land Sailing
Several people were land sailing on the wide, sandy beach at the north end of Texel, viewed from the Eierland Lighthouse.
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Old and New Lighthouse
The Eierland Lighthouse suffered heavy damage and was repaired by constructing a new wall around it. You can walk around between the walls and still see the bullet-holes where the tower was attacked.
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Woods
Cycling south through woods along the west side of Texel.
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Ecomare
Porpoise at the Ecomare aquarium, nature museum and animal sanctuary. The facility rescues injured animals, releasing them back into the wild when possible.
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Harbour Seal
Adult harbour seal at Ecomare.
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Gannet
Ecomare’s main residents are porpoises, seals and sea birds. Locals and visitors are encouraged to contact the facility if they find one of these animals injured on the island.
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Baby Seal
One of several very cute baby seals recently brought to Ecomare.
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Porpoise Playing
Watching through the underwater window while a porpoise plays with a toy.
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Whale Hall
The Whale Hall is part of Ecomare’s nature museum. On display in the foreground is a skeleton of a 49ft (15m) sperm whale that washed ashore on Texel.
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Flora
If we’d had a little more time, we would have stopped in at the Flora Shipwreck and Beachcombing Museum. The museum, self-described as the first and biggest beachcomber’s museum in the world, is packed inside and out with items salvaged decades from Texel’s beaches over the past 75 years.
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F1 in Metal
Our final stop for the day was dinner in Texel’s main town of Den Burg. While walking to dinner we passed a shop selling metal art with an amazingly accurate metal sculpture of a a Red Bull Formula 1 car.
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Vibes Foodbar
A great dinner at Vibes Foodbar in Den Burg on Texel. We were pretty tired after cycling 30 miles (48km) and it also was a nice bre.
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Texel Ferry Dock
Our ferry back to Den Helder arriving at the Texel Ferry dock. We were really tired now after cycling another 4 miles from Den Burg for a total of 34 miles (55km).
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Den Helder Return
Arriving by ferry back into Den Helder with the oil platform Prospector 1 prominent in the background.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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