Travel

What the Sea Gave Back.

Hello and welcome. Hopefully your reading this having read my post from yesterday Sand Dunes & Day Dreams- Terschelling. This post is a bit of a partner to that one so if you didn’t catch it, click over and have a read. Go on, I’ll wait for you.

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Previously, I wrote about the beauty of Terschelling. Even with pictures, its difficult to capture. Its rugged and wild,  ever-changing light, tides and shifting sands make for an unpredictable sort of beauty. But it’s also rather deceptive…the waters around these islands can be treacherous. Islanders have made their living from the sea for centuries. Some legally and other in darker practices of wrecking and looting. The sea can take as well as give. No where on Terschelling will you find greater evidence of this than the wreck museum.

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The museum is located in an old farmhouse , part of which was actually built using materials scavenged from the wreck of the Cyprian, a Norwegian ship wrecked off the coast of the island in 1905. It’s almost as if the house was always destined to hold part of the past. It now houses a vast collection of recovered and collected exhibits, from 150 wrecks and numerous beach combing expeditions.

The museum was founded by Hille Van Dieren, an experienced diver. In the 1980s a dive team was established on the island, Van Dieren a founding member. The team prided themselves on never returning empty-handed and when the club house became to full to house any more finds,  the museum was born.

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Anyone else find the old-fashioned diving suits a tad sinister? I reckon you could craft a good old fashioned horror story around one of them. Or maybe my over active imagination just needs reining in.

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Despite the fact that few British tourists seem to make it to Terschelling, there is a  British connection. We spotted several life buoys and recovered signage baring the name of British ports such as Whitby and North Shields. On a more sobering note, we also spent some time browsing cases dedicated to the Battle of Jutland and several British sailors are remembered here.

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Terschelling is well-known for its wrecks and also for cranberries. This seems a bit random but stick with me, there is a connection. Wadden islanders are known to be canny at using whatever washes ashore, and the story goes that back in 1840 some barrels washed up leaking what the islanders believed to be wine. Opening the barrels, they discovered they were actually barrels of cranberries. Disappointed the islanders tossed the berries into the marshes of the island. I don’t blame them, I would be miffed too. But, being a favourable environment the plants took hold. Never ones to miss a trick, the islanders embraced the little red berries and now you don’t go far without finding a cranberry product of some description on offer. Like I said, canny bunch these island folk.

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Helen x

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