Oosterkwelder, Schiermonnikoog

The past weeks have been really wet. After an almost dry month of November, we had an extremely wet December. Besides this we had  two northwesterly storms in the past week. This pushed a lot of water into the Wadden Sea. The day before I went to Schiermonnikoog the eastern half was completely flooded. Looking at the high water marks the water had been one to two meters higher as normal. This keeps the salt marsh in place. Plants that can’t cope with the salt die, other flourish. And a new layer of sediment is deposited, fertilizing the salt marsh and making it a bit higher. In this picture you can still see large amounts of water on the salt marsh. Normally there would hardly have been any water in this picture.

This high water levels in the Wadden Sea also posed a problem for the land behind the dykes. Normally the rainwater flows into the Wadden Sea, keeping the land behind the dykes (which is below sea level) dry. However, with the high sea level of the last week, they couldn’t get the water out, so it had to stay. This caused a lot of troubles with polders being inundated and others evacuated. Fortunately the wind stopped, so the water levels lowered a bit and they could get rid of the water again. I guess this is the charming side of living in a country that is for a large part below sea level….

Oh, by the way, I took this picture with my iPhone 4, no fancy camera’s this time. The contrast between the air and the ground was a bit high, so I used the HDR fusion-app. This app takes two pictures, one exposed on the dark foreground and one on the lighter sky and merges them together afterwards. Not a bad result, I’d say.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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