Saturday, August 30, 2008

PEI, goodbye

View from the chalet

Windsurfing overall- I windsurfed 8 out of 13 days, (1 of those was non-planing), 3 were fantastic (days 4, 11, 12). It sure beats August in New England!

Photography overall- I didn't have great luck with the beautiful island light for my photos. PEI just glows in the late afternoon sun. The red earth shows up everywhere, red dirt roads, red cliffs and dunes, red borders to the farms. All this is accented by the blue ocean and sky and patchwork fields of green and gold, and it all takes on a rosy hue as sunset approaches. But it seemed like most of the times that a shot presented itself it was cloudy or rainy or in the middle of the day. I got plenty of O.K. shots but few that really capture the unique colors of the island.

No Joshing- I missed Josh, lover of all things boating and saltwater. This was our first vacation without him. I guess this is a preview of some of the empty nester feelings to come.

Drive- We made it back to Boston in about 12 hours, including 2 stops for food and stretching our bodies. We may have overlooked a few speed limit signs..

Friday, August 29, 2008

PEI, day 13, windsurfed, NE 12-20?, 6.2/Acid94, solo

Last Session- It was windy last night! It sounded like the roof was going to blow off. I got up at sunrise to squeeze in 1 last session back at the bay entrance. I obeyed the rule of diminishing wind; don't go to the outside break in dieing wind with an outgoing tide. The inside waves had too much wind shadow from the dunes, so I went upwind and up current, into the bay. I sailed over the big flats across from the fish pier, knee deep water, decent wind. Then I said goodbye to one of the prettiest windsurfing spots that I've sailed.

Surf Advisory- I was chatting with a surfer at a gas station tonight. He said that PEI doesn't get much ridable surf. Apparently, the Magdellan Islands and Novia Scotia get better swell. I had noticed that the waves have been floppy, not really surfing waves. They were big enough, but not shaped right. They're still great for windsurfing though, especially jumping, easy to get out through. I know that many people here are very wary of the waves. The north shore has some special roped in swimming areas because it frequently gets surf and people have died from the rip tides.

Top Picture- A channel marker bouy washed up overnight. The opening to the ocean is in the background of the picture, old wharf on the right side.

Bottom picture- Closer look at the old wharf and waves.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

PEI, day 12, windsurfed, NE 15-25?, 5.2 & 6.2/acid94

I got Ben out on the Carve123, pulling him behind the dinghy for some mock water skiing. Light wind kept the water flat. He was standing up for some long runs! Then I derigged and packed up all the sails. We had reservations to go parasailing in the afternoon but it was canceled for high winds. You know what that means.

Windsurfing- I went back to the mouth of the bay. This time I drove. The NE wind was great there!! The shadow from the dunes wasn't as bad as I expected for NE and it was easy to get out past it. The waves were smaller with the side-on wind, maybe chest high on the outside, tide was coming in. Except for the fact that it was mostly deserted it felt pretty safe. I loved the variety; wide point break on the left, beach break on the right upwind of the old pier, breaking swell rolling down the middle of the channel. There was a lot of smooth water in between swells, around sandbars, etc. I did some exploring, tried all the wave breaks, went out past them, sailed upwind of the old pier towards Blooming point. I'm going to be spoiled!

Picture- there is heavy duty mussel farming in most of the bays. PEI mussels are delicious but the bouys can get in the way for windsurfing & boating.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

PEI, day 11, windsurfed, N, 15-30?, 5.2/Acid94, solo

Deep water but The N wind was slightly side-off in front of the chalet creating a small wind shadow and making it hard to sail over the sandbar. Barbara & Ben opted for a hang out day at the chalet. I opted for a cross bay run to the mouth of the bay to get into some waves. Barb & Ben drove over to pick me up in the afternoon when the wind had dropped, saving me hours of shlogging upwind to get back. That's a loving family!

Top picture- riding a gust thru the wind shadow in front of the chalet. The mouth of the bay is past the last dune on the far left in the picture, 3 1/2 miles across.

Windsurfing Heaven! Ever since we started coming here I've wanted to get out sailing in this spot at the mouth of the bay. It was beautiful! 2 curving shores, a variety of sandbars and waves, tide rushing out, wind blowing in, the towering red sand dunes, the remnants of the old wharf out on the beach. I felt like it was my personal windsurfing heaven.

No Crowds- There wasn't another person in sight. This made it seem more wild and unspoiled but it also made me a little nervous about the outgoing tide so I mostly played on the inside waves. As I was stopping 3 kiters came out.

Bottom pictures- sailing in the mouth of the bay. The photos don't capture the feeling of this wild and beautiful spot.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

PEI, day 10, light wind

Today was sunny, cool, with light wind. Barbara decided that it was a perfect day to bike around the bay to the fishing pier, nice ride. Ben and I put on wet suits and spent hours playing on the edge of the sandbar, using a big old windsurfing board as a flotation toy, snorkeling, and hunting for escargo, (Ben tried one and liked it).

Picture- Many of the islands fishing piers are very picturesque. I love the graceful lines of the PEI fishing boats.

Monday, August 25, 2008

PEI, day 9, light wind

We went amusement parking at The Sandspit, played black light mini-golf, and had a fantastic lobster dinner at Fisherman's Wharf.

Tides- The water depth in the bay seems to be equally dependent on wind direction and tide. The days that the wind has been from the W, NW, N, blowing into the mouth of the bay, the water has been deep most of the day. The SW days, wind blowing out of the bay, have been shallow most of the day. The sailing is much better with the deeper water so I'm hoping for more NW wind.

Picture- sunset in our little corner of the bay.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

PEI, day 8, windsurfed, 10-25?, SW, 6.8/Hyper-tech, 6.2/RW 94, solo

Camping- Ben and I enjoyed a spectacular sunrise on the dunes! It had been pretty windy during the night. We had to close up the tent vent that faced the wind to keep out blowing sand but otherwise it was fine. We both slept like lambs. In the morning there were some fresh drifts of sand on the dunes. If we stepped into the drifts we would sink almost to our knees. Camping on the dunes with Ben was definitely one of the highlights of the vacation so far.

Windsurfing- I got some sailing in with low water in the bay, walking out past the sandbar. Barbara & Ben held off because the sailing is less user friendly when we can't sail over the flats.

Baseball & Biking- We did an afternoon baseball practise at the local baseball diamond. We took Barbara's bike along so she could ride back with a 25 mph SW tail wind but the wind had dropped to 10-15 by the time we finished baseball and Barbara started back. Those tail winds never seem to work out for biking.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

PEI, day 7, marginal winds

Clammy conditions- I did a few runs on the 6.2, no wetsuit, but the wind was pretty marginal, 10-20, gusty, SW. This was the first day with low water in the bay. The sandbar that we had been sailing over was mostly out of the water, good for clamming. Ben loved digging for steamers! We had a feast of mussels, steamers and snails from the bay, with grilled salmon, (no one ate the snails but me).

Camping- After dinner, Ben and I boated out to the dunes for some camping. We set the tent up pretty high in the dunes, then watched a fiery sunset and chatted about life as the stars bagan to switch on. We both saw a shooting star that seemed close enough to touch. It almost looked like fireworks. Ben said that it was the first one that he's ever seen. That must be a good omen!

Picture- clamming in front of the chalet

Friday, August 22, 2008

PEI, day 6, rest day, sightseeing

I got my rest day. The wind was super light, glassy water. We climbed to the top of the Panmure Lighthouse, swam and played catch on Panmure Island beach, and went on a seal tour at Murray Harbor. It was a very relaxing day.

Picture- Ben took this shot of the Panmure Island Lighthouse.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

PEI, day 5, windsurfed & biked, NW, WNW, 12-25?, with Barbara & Ben, 6.2/ Carve 123

Windsurfing in the morning, biking in the afternoon, baseball practise on Greenwich Beach in the evening. I may need to squeeze a rest day in here somewhere. Deep water in the bay again made for good sailing conditions.

Top picture- in a NW we sail out to the left, towards the cliffs.

Bottom pictures- view of the bike path along St. Peters Harbor

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

PEI, day 4, windsurfed, solo, W,WNW,NW, 20-35?, 5.2 & 4.2 Acid 94

Another windy night and morning but this time the wind stayed up all day. It was a little too cold, windy, drizzly, for Barbara and Ben. They went to town for some back to school shopping. It seemed very quiet on the bay without them, just me, the wind and the water. But the sailing was fantastic! I was on the water for at least 7 hours, chasing my tail. That isn't a sign of youthful-like strength. It's a sign that I was sailing in a protected bay and cove with waist deep sandbars and that, after all the skunky days I've had this season, I couldn't bear to let good wind go to waste. I didn't waste any of it!

Picture- deep water all day meant that I could sail everywhere, including right up to the bank.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

PEI, day 3, windsurfed with Barbara & Ben, SSW, 10-15, big boards, little sails

I heard the wind howling all night and got up to a bay of whitecaps, but we had a lazy breakfast and the wind was light by the time we got out there. No worries. We had a great light air session. High tide made for a perfect water depth, knee to waist deep over the entire sandbar.

Ben was tacking, beachstarting, and even got a few jibes on his 2.7 with the Carve 123.

Picture- A sign of the wind! Some nearby trees grow away from the direction of the prevailing west wind.

Monday, August 18, 2008

PEI, day 2, dune sledded.

The winds were in the 10 to 15 range for most of the day, sunny, warm. It was a great day to boat out to the dunes for a picnic, swimming, baseball practise, and sand sliding.

For an aging beach-bum-at-heart like me, these deserted dunes on Tracadie Bay are one of the wonders of the world.

Pictures- Barbara & Ben ripping it up on the slopes!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

PEI, Day 1, windsurfed, with Barbara & Ben, SW 15-27?, 6.2 & 5.2 RW 94

Rig Fest in front of the Tramore Chalet

All the toys rigged, down by the water, ready to go
Get set

Go Ben, this is his first time really getting on plane
Go Barbara

Friday, August 15, 2008

Road Trip

Our faithfull steed is loaded and eager to set off on the long road north to Prince Edward Island, Canada. We're hoping for a southerly wind to push us on our way, maybe save some gas. Check in time is 4:00 pm on Saturday, no problem.