Sunday, May 31, 2009
Yep, they had fun. Now they are paying for it. Chris and John were slow moving this morning. They were out late and tired this am.
Tim had already had breakfast and was on his way to Vela. I convinced JAB to go down the beach with me for breakfast at Cafe Pitu. Chris came along shortly after. This place is great. Right on the beach, 50 feet to the water, wiFi, and the best Omlettes we had had all week. The beach was quite and you can enjoy the beauty and the silence. The only distraction was the frequent beach vendors walking by offering the latest movies DVD's or local necklaces for sale. They are all over the beaches trying to make a buck and earn a living. "No Gracias."
Around 1 pm the wind did finally start and we were on the usual 120/122L board and 6.9 sails to start. The wind continued to improve during the afternoon, eventually getting to 90L boards and 6.2m sails. The waves picked up on the outside as well. We sailed until the wind died off around 6pm.
The sky was clear for the afternoon, which we hoped would help the regular trade pattern of winds continue to improve. We were hoping that tomorrow, our final day of sailing would be the best yet.
Wednesday May 27, 2009 "Getting Tired"
We got up for breakfast and headed to the little Hotel Clairo breakfast patio just up the ally towads the main road. Breakfast burrito please!
This is a great little palce, quiet and personal. The server is a 20 something from Germany, here for a few months. She is a kiteboarding instructor and that is her main job here. She does the restaurant gig for extra cash. She speaks perfect english, spanish, and of course German.
We walked down the beach to Vela as usual around 10:30 to wait for the wind. Chris went out on a 122 Kode and 6.9 sail. Time seemd to find his perfect set-up with and Excess 6.5 and an Excite 130L board. I was waiting for it to get better. John had gone down to the kite center for his morning to early afternoon kiting. Always a 10M kite.
The wind today was not that great, probably our lightest day so far. I took a rest day, sailing no more than two hours or so. The other guys sailed a bit more.
Wednesday night Chris and John wanted to go to the German restaurant for dinner so they got a group from the center to taxi over there about 7pm. It had started raining so motoconcho was not an option. Tim wanted to find someplace to watch the Wings game #5 so he opted out, and I joined him.
I think Chris and John had a group of nine to dinner. Amaizingly they found the place first shot. I was not there, but I know there were beer yards that were consumed along with Schnitzel and other German gastric delights. Ralph, a kite boarder was along with them, and he was a native German. Though he now lived in New Jersey, I'm sure he set them-up with all the right food.
Tim and I watched the wings game at Jalapenos and had great Mexican for about $7. We also met a guy from Orange County California on a diving trip for the week. It's funny all the people you meet in this little caribbean town. Tim and I stayed until 10pm watching the game. The placed closed at 9pm, but they let us stay to watch the game. Unfortunately, we missed the game winning goal for the wings as it went into overtime, and we had to get out of there so the exterminator could do his job...he had gratiously waited at the owners request for over an hour while we watched the game.
I can only assume the dinner at the German place was fun...those guys were still out at 11pm when I went to sleep.
OK, today will be a painful one, but it is part of the job. The superglue failed after 15 minutes on the water, so sailing was both exilerating and tourturous. The salt water shows no mercy to open wounds...they simply will never heal unless you stay out of the water. So much for that. When we woke up, John was surprisingly functional after last evenings bar tour. That is the great thing about the pace here..nothing happens before 11am.
we walked up the ally road to the breakfast patio at another small hotel just 100 yard towards the main road. We have been here already this trip, but the breakfast burrito is awsome. We were almost out of water too so after breakfast we made a quick trip to the Supermercado for more.
We were ready for some more good wind and walked down to Vela a bit early as the palms up at the hotel were already showing promise.
John was off to grab a motorcycle ride down to Dare to Fly to kite, as he does each morning. He gets 3-4 hours in before coming back to Vela to sail with us. We can see the kiters about a mile down the beach from Vela. Chris and Tim started the session on 120L boards and 6.5m sails ripping out and back to Da Reef. The longer they satayed out, the more sailors they enticed out to join them. Slowly the wind stated to build, and they came in to change gear. I went out with them on a JP FSW 101 and a 5.8 Alpha. It was decent and the waves were building along with the wind. Ultimately, we were on 85/94 L boards and 5.7m sails and fully powered as the wind continued to improve through the afternoon all the way to 5:30 when it lightened up and we quit. I got some good photos of Chris and Tim from the beach.
The bonehead move of the day goes to john...when he arrived to sail, we were on 85L boards for a while so he grabbed the same, a Starboard Kode. We watched him beach start and head out. Promlem was he was not really going anywhere but down..to his waste in water. still he struggled on eventually hitting the wind line farther out and getting planning. When he came back in doing the same sinking towards the beach in lighter wind...we realized the problem...when he put the board back in the rack, it was actually a 68 L board....he read the size backwards and thought it was an 86 L hull. Nice!
Well since we had eventful night prior we were all a bit weary of doing it again. We went to Vela for the all-you-can-
Well this was the type of day we wanted...at 3pm it cranked and blew us away on our JF FSW 101 boards and Firefly 6m sails. As I was sailing out a guy in front of me just got drilled by a gust over 30 and went over the handlebars - still in the straps - the board went with him! It was a spectacular crash on a full plane at full speed. We all came in to change gear, now to a wave board for me (tried a Tabou 3S and loved it) and smaller gear for everyone. John was on his way back from from Dare to fly around the point where the kiters ride. He had been on a 10m all day and packed up to join the windsurfers at Vela when he got overpower on the kite. Tim had finally gotten comfortable on a Excite Ride and Firefly sail and had his best session yet as the wind started to crank. He called it a day, while JAB arrived, scampering to get set-up and Chris and I split a RedBull to gear up for the small stuff and the huge ramps building on the outside. We all went out on 85L and 5.0/5.4 sails. John was ripping it up, not struggling with a recent knee repair like prior years. Chris was duck-jibing all over and getting solid stalled jumps. I was energised by the RedBull and felt like I had wings. The outside had six foot waves and mad chop but the ramps were huge, and we were sailing on the edge with 5.4's. It was super windy! I had 8-10 big back loop attemps, nearly landing two of them. John got a board bottom view riding the waves in while I was rocketing out to a ramp. I was afraid to look down in the air, I knew it was scarely high but John judged the hight at "at least mast high" in his own words. It was the first time I stuck the landing, but could not hang on the the sail with the impact. Such went the rest of my day trying to top the effort. We were so amped in the conditions nobody wanted to come in and get cameras for some on the water shots (sorry guys, maybe tomorrow). We had two and a half hours of full-on conditions and my hands finally gave way in the salt water. A few big blisters I'll have to deal with for the week. I'll pull out the super-glue from the First-Aid kit.
After an epic session(we had planned on none for the week based on the forcasts before our departure) we celebrated at Happy Hour to recognize our good fortune. Just as soon as Happy Hour started, the clouds come out over the water and a gentle rain began. It cooled down and felt nice. We walked back to the hotel without shirts off, in the rain. Three ultra-white guys walking in the pouring rain, shirtless. These things are normal in the town of Cabarete.
For dinner, we hit Jalapenos for Mexican and finished off with a jello shot. But that was not the end, we wandered on to LAX bar, and ordered frozen daqueries. We had Sara in tow, a single mom from San Fran who is down for the week. She enjoyed the company as she has been here on her own for the second week now. The first daqueries were not so great so they brought another, this time tasting correct, along with shots for the whole table. They were called Dominican Viagra....uh oh.
We left after finishing those and stopped at Voy Voy, the Vela Center that turns into a bar in the evening. It was Karioke night and the place was packed with 50 or so people. We watched for awhile and finally walked back to the El Magnifico.
It was quite a day of sailing, a great dinner, and a little too much spirits for some. Classic!
Before our trip down here, we had been checking the Dominican wind forcasts from home. Suffice to say they sucked. We were very bummed, but optimistic to make the best of what had been predicted as a week without wind. Through our first night, the trades seemd to be cranking as the windows whistled while we slept. We were hoping that was going to be a good sign for the day. We left the condo about 8 am to head up the street for breakfast since we had not yet been to the supermercado for groceries. We had a very satisfying meal and settled into the vacation pace with no priorities or issues at hand. From breakfast we hit the grocery store and secured the basics for the week.
We had a few hours to kill before the wind would come up around noon, so we spent time getting organized after our fire drill yesteday. By 11am the palm trees were all waving in the wind and we took off for the Vela center to sail.
Initially not very impressive winds requiring 122L boards and 6.9M sails, but we were powered up and that was good. Despite what we had prepaired ourselves for (no wind), so far we were getting it done. As the day wore on we were getting more wind...by 3pm we wer on 86L boards with 5.7M sails and getting some decent 3-4 foot waves out on the reef. Definitely respectable conditions. So far the group consensus is favoring the new Starboard Kode over the JP FSW. The FireFly seems to be the sail of choice for us.
For a holiday week in the States, things seemed a bit slow for Cabarete tourism...the are only 18 guests booked for the week with Vela. Good news for us, we can pretty much sail whatever gear we want. Tim ended early and headed down to Jose o' Shay's to watch the Red Wings game. After we finished sailing and had a few cocktails, we walked down the beach to join him. We saw the third period and started another bar tab than ran to $46 bucks. We need to get some food in us. We headed back to Magnifico to change and walk over to Ali's for Churoso (steak). It was a great dinner for US$ 9 dollars. On the walk home, we ventured to the Casino just east of Cabarete. It was very small but looked like a palace compared toe the rest of Cabaretes construction. Chris sat down for some $10 blackjack and made some friends from Portland and Russia. Not a winner though, the house got his $80.
That was it for the day....we hope for more tomorrow.
Hola sailors! Well its Saturday, the day of our arrival. Pretty uneventful except for the momentary jolt as our airplane hit one patch of turbulence out of Miami and dropped 100 feet instantly. Everyone awake now?
We flew into Santiago this trip instead of Puerto Plata since the flights were cheaper. This required an hour and a half drive from the city to the coast. It was very slow at times because the Dominican roads are in poor shape, and there are no rules of the road… think Mad Max driving through the country. On our journey had to cross over the highest mountain in the Caribbean. The scenery was beautiful but the section of twisty roads and changes in speed nearly has a few of us looking for our barf bags. Along the way we passed several little impoverish villages, broken down cars, washed out road sections, a donkey tied to a fence, several stray dogs and crazy drivers all over the road in cars and motor scooters. You really put your life in the hands of the driver to judge how crazy the rest of the drivers are. We neary side-swiped several cars ond motor scooters along the drive! About 15 minutes outside of Cabarete we had to stop for what looked like armed militia running some sort of check point. We got the once over from the guy with the M-16 rifle and were allowed to co ntinue on.
We finally arrived at our hotel about 3:30 minus chris’ suitcase which was still in Miami thanks to American Airlines. We did a fire drill down to the beach to try and get some rides before the wind ended for the day. I’d say we had a few, but it was a short session as the wind had already begun to shut-off. At least we got on the water.
Speaking of, not one of us had had any water or food since we left Miami at 1:20pm. It was now nearly 6:30 pm and we were well on our way through happy hour and 2for1 drinks at the Vela bar Voy Voy. We grabbed our gear and headed down the beach to get some dinner.
We were starving! We stopped at LAX bar to check on the specials and were we in luck…Pizza or Spagetti Bolognase for $299 pesos just about $9 bucks US. We all ordered and continued with more drink specials. Somewhere along the way we crossed the line from tourist to annoying Americans with the drinks flowing the voices getting louder and the cameras going off – mostly trained on our tall, elegant Swiss Miss waitress with long blond hair…I think there is even one in there of someone getting a kiss…
Well that was about the extent of the evening. Everyone was feeling the Dominican vibe and we were in much need of sleep. By 9pm we were walking back down the beach to the El Magnifico hotel to get some rest for the next full day of sailing we tomorrow20(we hope).
Friday, May 22, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Still blowing when I left Metro, on a 5M Search and the 85 for most of three hours of 20-35+ WSW winds. Really good (4M) from 10-12pm before I got there but a bit holey later on with it picking back up after 3pm. Could'nt find the right fin (always pair fin size with sail size!) or dial in my straps but still well worth the trip and the sesh.
There for it: Brent, Millard, Jason, Dean, Jeff
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Crazy day of winds - starting at Metro 4.5M and ending as quickly as it began. Super windy and bumpy ride out and then winds switched to the north breaking up what would have been a great morning. Hell Craig was on a 4M just before I went out. Thats all she wrote for Metro. Next its off to the Blue Lagoon for some more up and down and hole-filled frustrations as the west winds there early on just aren't fun with a 4.5 and the 107 FSW. Next up is a drag in for Rick who snaps his mast about a 1/4 mile out - good save and the long walk back up wind to the beach. By 4pm the sun is out and its NW and I finally got the right setup with the 5.7 and the 101. Powered up and could of body grag attempts latter things are working and thats when the day ends. DR in 2 weeks....hoping to get in 1 or 2 more before then.