As seen in the iWindsurf forum. The wonderful and twisted gear art of "U2U2U2". (Used with permission of the madman. The interpretation of the artist's intent is purely that of the Peconic Puffin's Arts editor.)
As each of us pulled up to the end of Sebonac Inlet Road, we said the same thing.
The Wolf: Look at that!
Frank: Look at this!
Peconic Jeff: Yeah, look at that!
Christian: Look at that!
Fisherman: Look at this!
"This/that" was a lovely carpet of whitecaps across the Peconic. The sand bar was going off, the sun was bright, and out came the four meter sails. (Yeah I said "lovely". It's been too long between sessions...)
The sail call was 4.2-4.7 (I was on the 4.5/77 liters, Christian on a 5.0). Classic Sebonac mock wave riding down by the bluffs (the bigger rollers were waist high), and the ramps I would grade a B+ (every once in awhile a beaut, but most of the time B grade). The Wolf was seen sporting a GoPro on top of his helmet. "I've gone GoPro!" (The Peconic Puffin will be seeking out his footage and scenery in the future...for now we still depend on Peconic Jeff's handiwork.)
The sun was so bright that we were all sweating inside our drysuits, and nobody had cold hands. Scott arrived late but still caught a good hour. All of this on a Saturday afternoon!
(Top: Hot launch off the beach. Bottom: A rare sighting of Fisherman at a bay launch. Photos by Jeff Schultz.)
We just received this from Bowsprite, the mad and wonderful nautical illustrator of New York Harbor. "Puffin in da house! But of course this trippy groovy piece will make me think of you!" she writes. So here it is. Thanks Christina!
Relaxing in our Bonaire bungalow after yet another day of fine sailing, Sally was excited about windsurfing. She has a love/not love relationship with the sport, but right then she was glowing. "It's like going dancing," she said. "You may think you're not sure if you want to dance or not, but once you hit the floor and start dancing, you're having a great time. The water is like the dance floor...once you're out there windsurfing you think "I love this! It's a whole different world."
It didn't hurt that she hit a jibe earlier that day. But yeah who doesn't know exactly what she means? Particularly when you haven't sailed in awhile, or its cold or whatever. Get out there!
(Photo: George Marr was first man on the water for this sunrise sesh.)
To be in Manhattan yesterday and hear the wind howling...'twas agony. Then the text from Lord Scotworth: "Going to the Bowl. Wolf. Fisherman. Me." More agony. Also jealousy and envy. I asked Scott to file a report afterwards (for the edification of greater Puffindom) and this morning it came:
"Went to the Bowl but it was Victory At Sea! The Wolf and I went to East Landing. Sailed 3.7 nuked for an hour. Best conditions I've seen on the Peconic, with ridable waves! I saw the Wolf get a jump...a gust took him 5 feet higher than he already was (5 feet) and then slammed him into the sheep that were grazing. Took him a minute or so to get going again. But no rescue this time so we went home."
Sounds pretty good to me. East Landing is the bay launch (just west of Meschutt) reserved for eastern blows that close out the ocean launches. I've seen some near-waves jack up but seldom any ridable. Missed it!
Here at the Puffin we get a lot of direct email asking for recommendations regarding Bonaire this and Bonaire that. I'm hoping to refer everyone to one post based on our trip from a week ago, so here are some of my Best Bonaire Recommendations for Windsurfing Vacation (etcetera):
Gear rental: Shout out to Jibe City. I'm not saying Jibe City is better than Windsurf Place, but in the past I have said I thought Windsurf Place had slightly better equipment. No more...JC has stepped up its game! It's purely a coin flip between them now. The beach staff from both are outstanding. btw.
Restaurants: At Sea knocked it out of the park (I had the barracuda, and the amuse bouche were tres amuse.) Appetite is outstanding. Bistro de Paris moved, but it remains excellent. And the restaurant at Sorobon was surprisingly good. Old favorites we did not get to this year include Cappricio, Mona Lisa, and Casablanca.
Help with putting it all together: As always, it's Ann Phelan. Before every trip to Bonaire I get wound up about something and worry, but every trip she's got it all worked out just fine. Folks: she's a windsurfing travel agent who doesn't cost you a penny, and knows exactly what's going on there, week by week. Smartest move you can make...we've been using her for almost ten years now.
Beach Bar: Hang Out. More pirates than the other place, and perfectly situated between the two windsurfing rental centers.
Beer to order at Beach Bars: Polar. Like so many other things Dasher taught me.
Where to get taught things: Hopefully you're in an ABK clinic there with Andy Brandt, Brendon and company, but otherwise work with the mighty Caesar at Jibe City, or Elvis and his team at Windsurf Place. There is no place easier in the world to learn.
Thing to do if you want to take a break from windsurfing: Boy was this a surprise...Sally had to twist my arm to get me to do a guided nature tour of the mangroves (by kayak and snorkeling).
We'd picked up a flyer for one tour outfit, but then someone told us "what you really want to do is go with Tina and Clear Bottom Bonaire (the kayaks have clear bottoms.) It was amazing. The kayak tour was wonderful by itself, and I was almost ready to (I can't believe it) skip the snorkeling at the end. As the kids say, OMG. Simultaneously easy and breathtaking, snorkeling just under the mangroves you find yourself with a gazillion fish, sometimes packing themselves tighter than a fishmarket, other times spreading out (giving the barracuda room...yes there were barracuda, like small stainless steel missles, but they don't bother you.) And when you leave the water at the end, there is blessed rum punch set up under a shady tree. We'll be returning for another paddle/snorkel tour with these guys next year.