As we get further into the busy season work is settling down into customer service mode, fun and excitement coming from seeing old guests return and meeting new guests. Routine tasks such as checking straps, fins, retuning sails etc. fill any spare time. Unlike other years, the wind seems to be cycling between light and medium days. In talking with guests who have visited other islands we’re all experiencing similar conditions.
One of the neatest parts of being here several years in a row is watching families return each year and seeing the kids grow up and their sailing skills progress. While mom and dad (Jackie and Jeff (hope I get this right)) have always sailed well, young Ben is getting into the harness, footstraps and planing this year. The JP Young Guns and Neil Pryde One sails are really good for progressing kids. It seemed like an island view of ‘The Brady Bunch’ watching dad, mom, and Ben, with Amy sailing on the back of dad’s board, taking a family cruise to the wreck and back, Ben actually taking the lead.
The SUPs are continuing to get more use. Even on somewhat windy days we are getting a lot of guests and walk-ups taking the SUPs out for a paddle. The new boards are easy to use and everyone has fun on them. As proven by Peter and daughter Georgia, the kids’ SUPs have been great for a family to use to ‘teach’ (or at least to give them a fun time) their young kids to windsurf. The boards are really light and have a comfortable, forgiving deck and the 1.0 kids sails fit perfectly. Some are using the big SUPs for cruising, while others are having fun paddling, sailing, or surfing in the small waves.
ABK was in town for their annual camp. On their off days, Andy and I took advantage of the new SUPs and Firefly sails to do some wave sailing up by the wreck. I’m admittedly am not a wave sailor but Andy gave me the basics and I caught a few waves and managed to tack and jibe out after some fun rides.
We had another evening sail for some of our guests this week. It was really fun and relaxing without a lot a people around and sailing until the sun set. Some margaritas and cold beer capped off the evening.
Congratulations to Arubian star Sarah-Quita Offringa on her PWA Woman’s Slalom victory in Vietnam. In Aruba we’re all used to her winning Freestyle events, but it seems like she is focused on winning two disciplines this year. The local windsurfing community is now getting more excited for the PWA’s return to Aruba this June. Quincy Offringa (Sarah-Quita’s brother and 10th overall in last year’s PWA Men’s Freestyle) is around during college breaks (studying mechanical engineering!) and is also sailing really well, getting ready for Bonaire and Aruba. Hopefully he is able to pick up additional sponsors and travel to more of this year’s events.
On the down side, we got a note from Maarten Van Ochten, H73, who fractured his leg and is out of sailing for at least 3 months. After Maarten finished 9th in PWA in 2010, and has been doing a lot of training for this year, we all wish him the best luck and a speedy recovery. Maarten is HOPING to be back for the Bonaire and Aruba PWA events.
On the non-windsurfing side, we finally had a night out with some old friends/guests. Dinner was at The Old Fisherman, a restaurant downtown. Everyone selected fresh seafood and we downed it all with some wine and other goodies. The meal was great and I’d recommend it to all. We finished the evening listening to one of the Vela desk worker’s singing at a downtown open-air restaurant/bar.