12/28/97 - The day had finally arrived, and we were
Aruba bound. The thought that by days end I was going
to be in 80-degree weather was enough to make me glaze
over in anticipation. On a non stop charter out of
Boston, our group, the Cape Cod Windsurfing
Association, had finally arrived at our destination by
4:00pm. On the plane the pilot had informed us that
wind was blowing 20kts out of the east in Oranjestad.
Most people would have shrugged that little detail off
but all the board heads on the plane gave a small shout
of glee in the anticipation of the winds that were to
be. When departing the plane we were blasted with 30kt
winds and man was it warm.
All of us gathered our rental cars and headed off to
Sailboard Vacations to check in and relax. A few die-
hard stragglers were still out sailing when we arrived
but most gear was put away and they were closing for
the night. Once everyone had moved into their rooms,
we headed off to Le Petit Cafe in Oranjestad. This
popular bistro had a great selection of beef, chicken,
and seafood that was moderately priced. As we ate a
woman wandered the dinning area, playing Arubian music
on her guitar and sang. The special feature in this
eatery is that all meals are served on a heated stone,
which stays hot through out the meal and causes your
food to continue to cook and stay warm till the last
bite. Be careful though, it can cook your fingers and
hand just as well. With our bellies full and our minds
on windsufing we headed to our beds for a restless
12/29/97 - The day had finally arrived and after
listening to the 30kt winds the previous night, it was
time to ride the wind. We arrived at the sail loft for
9:00am for our orientation. Seeing that the winds were
blowing anywhere from 20-30kts, I opted for a 5.7m
Freeride and Vivace 263. After a few runs the winds
increased to 30-40kts. I changed down to a 5.1m
Freeride and things were more manageable. The locals
were saying that we have had more wind this winter than
any other has in the past. In addition, with the
extreme easterly to southeasterly, the wind was very
gusty and up and down. Even the pros and instructors
were having a bit of a challenge keeping it all
together. Coming from 30-degree Cape Cod, I am in no
position to complain. I am just happy to be here,
gusty wind or not. I decided to call it quits around
2:30pm to save myself. With 6 more days of this I want
to enjoy everyone minute of it; not ruining it by
shredding my hands by the second day. Day one, no
blisters. Good sign.
Dan Roberts and I signed up for some looping lessons
the next day with Christian I'll let you know how they
went in my next email.
This evening we ventured into the backcountry of Noord
where we had a meal at an authentic Arubian restaurant
called "Gasporitos". The food was out of this world
and not very expensive.
12/30/97 - Tuesday was a slow going day with sore
muscles to tend to. The winds were lighter. I opted
for a 5.7m Slalom TC sail and a Saxo 265, I also
checked out a 5.2m Onshore Wave incase the winds came
up. Most of the day I stayed on 5.7m and was
overpowered at times but I enjoyed the stability of the
slalom sail over the Freeride. The Freerides' seem a
bit meek. I guess I am just used to my Neil Pryde race
sails. I think the B&J jumps sails work better in
steadier and winds and when the wind is so up and down,
the more cambers the better.
In the afternoon at 3:30pm, the time arrived for my
looping lessons with Christian. We decided to learn
the basics in front of the reef at Sailboard Vacations.
We started with learning how to get alot of height in
little or no chop. You don't need alot of height but
enough to clear the nose of the board. I worked on
getting 1-2 foot of height on Aruba's flat water and
then the lessons for flat-water loops began. He did a
couple of demos for us effortlessly. From there, we
each gave it a try. My first attempt I was so worried
about over-sheeting that I forget to chop hop in the
air. It was a sad sight. I spun around the handlebars
and landed on my but with the board never leaving the
water. My second attempt was better in that I got the
height I needed but then didn't commit to the over
sheeting. After a few more tries I got close to
getting the flat-water loop. I was able to chop hop,
sheet in, and got all the way around but seemed to land
in a mess. My feet keep slipping out of the straps
somewhere in the move. O'well, I need more practice.
These loops seem easier in waves and big chop.
This evening we headed off to the famed restaurant,
"Boonoonoonoos". What a place!!! Some people in our
party had the Jamaican Jerk Ribs. Wowow!!! These are
HOT!!! But very good. I had the Trinidad Chicken,
which was curried with pineapple. Yummy!!!
12/31/97 - Another slow day on the island of Aruba.
Went into town to do some shopping and visit the
marina. Everything was a buzz in getting ready for the
New Year. The funniest thing I saw were signs all over
town for the "Klap". I was thinking, "What the heck is
that!!" I didn't if they were quarantine signs for VD
or what. It turns out that is what Fireworks are in
Aruba, KLAP! So, being in the festive mood, I bought a
Got back to the beach around noon and headed out on a
6.3 SC4 Race. Nice sail. And I grabbed a 288 Vivace.
The winds were alot steadier today but only around 20-
25mph. After a few runs, we headed off to sail around
the California Lighthouse and sail in the waves. We
sped across the waters, passing the sunken ship on the
way. It was probably a 5-mile trek until we hit the
open ocean. It was a pleasant site and feeling to
experience the non-flat water conditions of Aruba.
Anyone who think Aruba is just about flat-water sailing
should check out Arashi Beach and Boca Grande. These
places really go off with 6-10 foot breaking waves and
tons of opportunity for sky high starboard tack
jumping. Side off and back side wave sailing is also
possible with great ease. This has to be the best day
and run I had for the week. A day to remember.
That night at Sailboard Vacations there was a BBQ with
a video of the past 1997 season in Aruba, made by
Dasher. The food was great and the video was way cool.
There is this guy in Aruba who can chop hop over 10
feet in the air off of flat water. Amazing to watch.
He jumped over the chase boat in a couple of scenes.
1/1/98 - For a change of pace, we decided to go
snorkeling in the morning. My arms and legs were
starting to get a bit weary so it was nice to have a
small break. We headed out to Malmok Beach, before
Arashi Beach. There is a nice c***reef there. This
was my first time snorkeling and I was pretty amazed.
In my first dive I got to see Brain Coral, a Trumpet
Fish, a spiny Blowfish, Hearing, Star Fish, Antler
Coral, Parrot Fish, and Clown Fish. I can not wait to
go snorkeling again.
When I got back to the beach it was blowing a little
light again so I rigged a 6.3m CS4 Race and the 288
Vivace again. This time we speed off in the other
direction and cruised over to Eagle Beach and the Divi
Resort to see if any good chop was developing. As we
got there the wind was dying further so we headed home
soon after arriving. The chop was a lot of work while
That night Ann and I headed off to the most amazing
restaurant I have EVER been to in my life. It is
called "Flying Fish Bones". Sounds like a cheesy name
but this is the most ***, ***, romantic, gourmet
dinning I have ever experienced. From the road it
doesn't look like much. But once you enter the front
gate, you go down a long hallway, which then opens to
the Garden of Eden. It is the most amazing site. It
had a small waterfall with rock sculptures and soft
couches everywhere to relax and listen to the water.
Bamboo structures lined the garden and a soft
Polynesian sound beat in the background. You continued
onward to the deck where you found small tables on an
open-air deck and some tables on the beach next to the
water. There were palm trees and torches everywhere.
We chose a table that had Cabana Chairs made of wicker.
The ambiance was intoxicating. The meal was even more
intoxicating. We had a four-course meal that included
a raw tuna pate with chives and mustard, for an entree,
then a bowl of mustard soup followed. Then a raw Mahi
Mahi plate came that was surrounded with *** spices.
Then the main meal of Asian Shrimp rolled into a corn
and egg role. All of this finished with a desert of
Choco' Nuts. I can not give this meal or restaurant
the full affect with out you attending it yourself. It
will blow your mind away!! This is gourmet food at its
finest. Healthy too!!
1/2/98 - We awoke to the wind blowing like crazy.
Ahhh, more wind for the day. I rigged up a 5.2m Simmer
Onshore Wave sail and a Veloce 278 and headed out onto
the water. The wind was steadier than most days and
decided to head out to West Point again to play in the
waves. The waves were bigger than before. Most waves
were over mast high with some sets between 15-20 feet
high. The winds were blowing like crazy and I scored
some BIG air off these lumbering giants. There must be
a storm out at sea with how big the swell was coming
in. I practiced a couple of forwards off these waves
and actually landed a couple. I was e***d to say the
least. These large but gentle waves seemed to boost my
confidence and pushed myself to the limit. A couple of
times I sailed out to sea just to rest a bit on my
board, going up ...
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