The great Alf Imperato (the windsurfing instructor who, at my first clinic, told me "you sail fast but you do everything wrong. Everything." And who subsequently fixed me...) posted this on Facebook. Photo taken by William R. & Beach Activities of Maui. Can you imagine?
The only people I want to hear telling me that sharks are beautiful creatures that pose no danger to humans are windsurfers and SUPpers who have had a shark display interest in them while out on the water. Happened to me once, and it sucked. No fun at all. Yet sharks have as much a right to live as deer ticks and mosquitos and cockroaches, and thanks to the good people at OCEARCH (who research and track apex predators de la mar) we know that a 3,500 pound great white shark, 16 feet long going by the nom de fish Mary Lee is currently cruising off of Democrat Point, eating whatever the hell she pleases and taking no shit from anybody. Mary Lee is tagged and wearing a microphone, so both her position and dialog can be tracked. Her position is the more interesting, as the dialog varies little:
Mary Lee: "Get the f*** out of my way."
Everyone else: "Okay."
(Maps: Mary Lee's track from awhile back. Note the visit to the middle of Long Island in the past. Right now Pete Roesch says she's off of Robert Moses Park, with a Superlight stuck between her teeth.)
Producer, videographer and jibemaster Dasher posted this exquisite photograph on his Facebook page. A SUP paddler's-eye view of a board gliding through water smooth as glass. Those ripples in the reflected sky are incredible.
Roll cloud. That's what Jeff says it is, and he should know, being a meteorologist. We'd ask him more about meteors, but as an editorial matter we see more roll clouds while windsurfing than meteors. Photo by the Wolf.
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.
In 2011 it was hard to beat the McCall's holiday card. Taking advantage of the hurricane of the year (Irene) Greg and Cecilia managed an excellent SUP family photo (SUPing down the street in front of their home.) The Peconic Puffin featured their card in a post, and Greg later told me that he didn't know what they'd do for an encore...how to get back in the Puffin for 2012?
Another hurricane, another card. The waters rose higher in Chateau McC this year, and the repair work needed was great, but if anyone could find a silver lining and holiday cheer (and a Puffinworthy card) out of the mess, t'was Greg & Cecilia (and Casey and Lexie). So it is with great honor that we present the two time winner of the Peconic Puffin Storm Inspired Holiday Card of the Year Award!
I didn't get a single run out of this thing. On Facebook last week I posted "Old Plan: Catch spectacular windsurfing conditions. New Plan: Board up house. While the house didn't need boarding up (the storm surge stopped rising 1" short of our living room) the crawlspace filled with six feet of salt water. The list of new things we need (furnace, duct work) is growing. But we're not complaining. No damage to the first or second floor. Nothing like the disasters that people in Queens and Staten Island and New Jersey had. We sat in the dark in downtown Manhattan, but were blocks away from the flooded streets and damaged buildings that others suffered. We are fortunate and grateful!
Cupsogue did get the new inlet Scott was warning about. I've often complained about the 4WD requirement to get to the Cupsogue break...now it will take a boat. (Thanks Jeff for the link!)
There was way too much work to do at our house this weekend to think about catching Sunday's winds. We are flood zone fodder! Everything that could be carried upstairs is upstairs, everything we couldn't carry upstairs we raised as high as we could (the dining room table has been designated sacrificial...the couches are now stacked across it.) . Peconic Jeff has lost power (but his cell is working!)
Everything we couldn't raise is going to take a dip, in all likelihood.
Sally and I are back in NYC, but our neighbors (whose house is a little higher than ours) are riding it out. As of 10AM our backyard is beginning to fill with water (photo by Peconic Puffin contributing photographer Remy McFadden)