We lock through the Willem Loressluis and reach the Lauwersmeer.
We can clearly see that this great lake has been part of the Wadden Sea in former times indicated by the dikes. In 1969 the 13 km long dike at Lauwersoog was built and so an area of 9000 ha has become inland.
The former tidewater and the marshes are now used as extensive pasture, controlled by the Staatsbosbeheer (State Forestry), who owns about 5000 ha. This and that a limited amount of salt water is allowed to enter at the Lauwersmeer dike prevent trees from growing. The farmers are not all happy with the strict nature management, as they are only allowed in summer to bring cattle for grazing to parts of the shores but as a result there are great wetlands for breeding waders and migrating birds at the Lauwersmeer. We spot some of the waders along the shore.
We also pass some sculptures of the artist Hein Mader, who died in 2011. Since April 2012 40 of his impressive sculptures have been placed around Lauwersmeer for three years.
We cruise along two nice moorings in reeds.
But our destination today is an island which, before 1969, has been a sandbank where seals rested. In the past the approach to the mooring at Senneroog was from the west side but the navigation has been silted up.
Under management of Marrekrite with financial support of Provincie Friesland and Provincie Groningen a complete new channel from the east has been built through the island and the old mooring (LM26) has been improved with an additional mooring. The west end is now sheltered by a low breakwater dam, secured with a wooden barrier with a canoe landing jetty.
Here is a video of the opening of Senneroog in June 2011. Note, the stakes are now replaced and the entrance is well buoyed. Photos of the construction works can be seen here.
We walk around and are impressed by the result of the works. And the used wood is in an exemplary manner FSC certified. Four other boats are moored at Senneroog this evening. The bank reinforcement with stones will be overgrown after a while.
We watch Konik horses playing on the western shore. They are used as natural grass movers as well as Scottish Highland cattle in other parts around the lake. About 150 of the horses were released as a semi wild herd. Koniks originally came from Poland and are phenotypically a close offspring of the extinct Tarpan, the last wild horse breed of Europe. They eat not only grass and reed, but also during the winter bushes and trees. The State Forestry takes care of all the animals around the lake and let a veterinarian inspect them once a year and if the winter is very severe they will provide extra feed.
We relax in the sunny evening and watch a few passing boats.
Lauwersoog Max 14.4°C Min 8.9°C Rainfall 12.2mm Sun hours 8.9 Wind NWW F4-5 Gusts F7