“Intertidal Mud-flat hiking” (Wattwandern) at the German North Sea coast – a little adventure for the entire family.
Starting from Duhnen or Sahlenburg beach / Cuxhaven you can walk to the next Island called Neuwerk, have a piece of strawberry cake and a cup of coffee over there, and then return to the main quickly in order not to be surprised by the rising flood / high tide. The clock will be your best buddy in addition to other hikers, who care for each other, of course. The later you start, the bigger and more powerful the tide-ways will be. If you`re a laggard, it might be therefore helpful to have your swimming toggs with you.
It is an amazing experience to literally walk over the bottom of the North Sea through a surrealistic landscape, where it is sometimes difficulty to retrieve the horizon line due to reflections, flickering air and the steaming ground in the summer heat. Heading for the Island Neuwerk, you might experience fata morgana-like phenomena.
Of course, it is a special thrill to think of the (minor) risk of returning too late…In fact, there will be People who will remind or help you (e.g. to cross tideways “Priel” if the drift becomes stronger). For cases of emergency, there are “rescue baskets” on poles, which are numbered and equipped with radios to call a shuttle service. I am sure that you can hitchhike and ask horsemen for a lift too.
By the way, you can choose guided tours or you can walk on your own. In Cuxhaven / Duhnen, they are also offering tours with carts… or you enjoy the tour on the back of a horse. The latter is the ultimate fun for the horsemen but also for the horses who seem to enjoy the cushioned / elastic ground, the vastness, the fresh air and water too from my experience. Pure lust for life!
It is also fascinating to pass the waterways with big container ships and sailing boats by. Most of the ground is stable / solid but there are also areas close to the beach at the main, which are very muddy, slimy and slippery… These areas are the perfect playground for kids and adults, who rediscover their inner child again. There are mudflat areas, where you can sink into the soft mud knee-deep or even up to the hips.
In the national mudflat park, you might meet seals, mitten crabs, various shells, rock worms (if you dig deep), jellyfishes, small fishes and different sea birds.
(“Mussel bed” = in German language: “Shell Bank”; and old-fashioned “mouthpieces” = in German language: “Talking Shells” => “Bank of Talking Shells”… Listen to the shells!)
The mud shall be healthy. It is said that the mud ease skin deseases. In any case, the mud is an excellent peeling.
Mudflat walking is also known for its positive effects on your leg muscles and in particular your feet if you walk barfoot like the vast majority of people in the summertime. You will notice it in the evening. It feels like you got several hours non-stop TCM foot massage. You will walk on clouds. Promised.
Besides, expect to fall into a coma-like deep sleep in the night. Kids & dogs will already pass out in the car on the way back home. Your chance to have some quality time & privacy with your partner after a wonderful day at the seaside…!
Slippery mud – perfect for gliding, mud battles and more…
Yes, you can take your dog with you. But please, test him if he can tolerate you and other people walking through deep water or swimming…or if he is too protective and becomes stressed because he thinks his human is in danger and needs to be rescued.
For instance, the Bernese Mountain Dog of my parents could enjoy neither the beach nor the Watt. Surprisingly, he was totally stressed trying to rescue his family and was close to a nervous breakdown, when my dad crossed a tideway.
Possibly, our dog would have felt more comfortable on the top of a glacier but unfortunately, we are not used to high mountains…
“Mud Spaghetti” created by rock worms
…sun, wind, water, friends, and horsepower – pure joy!
No bird cage…but a safe place if the flood is faster than you.
Carts Crossing a tideway.
…the direction to the Island Neuwerk.
Neuwerk – the only destination in walking distance.
…Maybe a bit late? No problem. The carts are capable to swim.
The Watt in summertime.
The Watt in wintertime
Cuxhaven – Duhnen beach, the mudflat entrance and exit (showers are available).
Grounded under full sails.