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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hayling Island, Seafront June 15, 2013

Gulp! I have done it. I have gone and signed up for my first ever windsurfing event to raise money for Cancer research. For those of you who don't know about this event it is a Sunrise to Sunset Watersports event. The goal for the REALLY good windsurfers (and other watersports persons) is to be out on the water for 16 hours. Most people do this in a team so allow for food and bathroom breaks. I am not yet good enough to be on a team but I wanted to take part in this event so I have joined the group of personal goal individuals. So while I won't be out there for the entire day I will be really pushing myself. Normally a 2 hour session leaves me ragged and not being able to lift my arms, especially if it is blowing! So I am going to do double that....4 hours on the water trying to spend most of that time on my kit, rather than falling in the water. The bigger goal is to complete 20 dry tacks, my personal best so far being 3 in an hour. SO I am definitely going to have my work cut out for me!

So please show your support for me and click my Just Giving webpage to donate. Enjoy the photos below of my excellent windsurfing skills to give you a bit of an idea of how big this challenge is going to be for me.
I am in the water...

Why my arms get tired

Hoping I don't fall off...


Don't fall, don't fall, don't fall

Look out I'm coming through

Wobble tack

The Haling Island Seafront...where the event will be. Fingers crossed it is this sunny with a bit more wind.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Vasiliki, Greece

Vasiliki Bay, Island of Lefkada, Greece

Last minute decision making saw us booking a holiday with Ocean Elements to stay in their Surf Hotel for 7 days. So by Sunday afternoon I had another stamp in my passport and we was enjoying the beautiful view of Vasiliki bay. The plan was to take advantage of all the different toys that Ocean Elements includes in the holiday package from windsurfing to SUPing, kayaking to dingy sailing, as well as mountain biking. The holiday started off really well with a bike ride to take in beautiful views and explore the village as there was not really enough wind to bother with windsurfing or sailing.

Vasiliki Harbour
Vassiliki Bay
Day one was a highly usual wind day which made any wind activities incrementally difficult. The staff who had seen Vasiliki through more than one season told us that they had never before seen the wind do what we dubbed Vasiliki allshore! For those of you unfamiliar with wind let me explain: When sailing or windsurfing you need to know what direction the wind is blowing so that you can plan the direction that you are going to sail in to maximize the speed and ease at which you travel. So you may hear windsurfer talk of a "cross shore wind" which mean that the wind is blowing parallel to the shoreline which means the optimal windsurfing line is perpendicular to the shore which means you can easily and reliably get back to the same starting position. Vasiliki all shore meant that the wind was blowing in all directions at the same time, how? We have no idea BUT it meant that it made for some very confusing visuals. At one point I was sailing on the same tack (side of board and leading hand/foot) as two other people but we were all going in completely different directions. Normally Mark would be able to blame this phenomena on the lack of my ability, but this time all windsurfers were having the same issue! Everyone came off the water slightly confused and frustrated.

The second and third days were much better as the conditions were planing conditions. Yes I am now starting to plane!! So much fun! I don't quite have it cracked and I still fall in LOTS and turning still involves more swimming than windsurfing but I am getting so much better. I have graduated from the wobbles of last summer, the wave sailing in Brazil and am now beginning to plane and learn light wind freestyle! I went to all my lessons I am now considered a intermediate planing windsurfer which means that I am working on planing getting in the harness and foot-straps which will mean I can go fast! I am still trying to conquer a dry fast tack, but have also started to learn how to do a non-planing carve gybe as well as generally increase my skills overall. My instructors (Hannah and Emily) for the week were amazing and I feel like I learned SO much. I can't wait to go out again here in England even though it will be chilly in comparison. The second half of the week was not very windy at all so the had us practicing lots of light wind skills which is something I never really did before. It really slows everything down so that you can concentrate on what you are doing and the implications of that action. One of the other members in my group had a blast working our tails off at trying heli-tacks, back winding the sail, sail 360's, body 360's (my record was 8), and upwind 360's. Mark took video of me and I also created a new move a reverse 3 point turn. How I do it I have no clue! hehe it looks ridiculous. We also laughed our heads off to the point that we had other guest on the beach stopping and watching us. 
Trying to plane/blast
Light wind freestyle

Due to the light wind conditions and the fact that on Tuesday Mark hurt his leg and could not really take part in the I did a few things on my own. I went for a kayak trip to a secret beach which was such fun. One the way there I saw a school of sardines jumping for their lives. And on arriving to the beach we scared a bunch of naturalist's taking advantage of the secluded spot and hazy UV rays hehe! I have never before see naturalist be shy - not only did the cover up but the hid in the rocks and they were all at least 50 years old...maybe it was their first go at it? 

I also went for a bike ride that took us through the olive groves and through the back part of the village to another secret beach, only this time there were no naturalists.

The other adventure was a SUPing trip. There was no wind so I took out a windSUP (Stand Up Paddle baord with the slot for a windsurf sail) out to goof off on. I tried a bit of freestyle but only succeeded in looking like I didn't know what I was doing and got a bit wet. Then Hannah who was in the safety boat boat told me that there were dolphins out in the bay. So I went for about an hour paddle to try and find them. I did manage to see them but they were a way off, the crested through the water and then disappeared  So a tiny glimpse but I still loved every moment of the paddle. Being on the water is just were I love to be.

So although our last minute holiday wasn't everything we had hoped it would be. We still had a good enough time that we both want to return, but this time try and not get hurt so that I can learn to sail! Who knows maybe again later this year??? Time will tell.