So much wind, so little time.
When we came here last year we did not fare so well with the wind. Most days I was on a 6.2 to 7.2 sail and large boards...not exactly what you come to Aruba for, but then again February is not a particularly windy month in the ABC islands.
But fast forward 52 weeks and we are doing just fine, thank you! Principle sail for each day for me:
Monday 5.7 (should have been on a 5.4.)
Highlights have included blazing through extra W-I-D-E jibes in the pooltable flat water, seeing a large sea turtle down by the wreck towards the lighthouse (there's a great rusted out wreck about a half mile north of the sailing centers...a beam reach takes you right past its stern) and generally having a great time in 85 degree air and equally warm turquoise water. Aruba doesn't suck.
The only frustrating bit has been the exaggerated gustyness of the wind on a couple of days, particularly yesterday. Windsurfing offshore winds anywhere is going to bring you into uneven air as the land plays its part. And it's well established that sailing downwind of the high rise hotels to the south of Aruba's windsurfing centers means negotiating wind shadows (unless you're several hundred yards from shore, hence only advanced people windsurf there.) But yesterday, even on the blessed "blue highway" running north well past the hotel area, the gusts were major. We're not talking "gustylicious" playful gusts that Sally was raving about earlier on the trip. We’re talking flipping a switch back and forth between 15 and 25 knots. If you were at full speed it could be negotiated, but it put a damper on my desire to try throwing anything more adventurous than a duck jibe (I got creamed in the middle of a push tack...the gust came just as I began the backwinding portion. Pow.)
I have on occasion criticized people who have whined about gusty conditions in Aruba. I felt that yesterday's conditions were exceptional, but I realized it was possible that I might have become...a whiner! So I sought out local expertise to get a more seasoned assessment of conditions, and approached "Mac" MacFarlane as he pulled board and rig up onto the beach. Anyone who has spent any time windsurfing in Aruba knows Mac...friendly guy, excellent instructor, and he windsurfs like a bat out of hell. I knew Mac would set me straight. "Mac, call me crazy, but in nine trips to Aruba, I think today is the gustiest day I've ever seen. Does it seem particularly gusty to you?"
Mac nodded, uttering an "oh, man!" Vindication.
Time to get back on the water!