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 Post subject: Margarita
PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2002 4:32 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2002 10:06 pm
Posts: 5274
Location: Here, Now
Big thanks go out to our local Margarita expert, Tim Walker for providing the following:

Margarita.  Not just a drink!  This is a premium windsurfing destination!  The island of Margarita is located about 30 miles off the Northeast coast of Venezuela.  The Carribean island location results in a natural thermal and 'funnel' wind accelerator for the prevailing NE tradewinds.  The daily island heating creates a thermal up the mountain slopes, and the mainland mountains help squeeze and focus the winds, side-on, into the fishing village of El Yaque.  This creates some of the most consistent wind in the world!  The Alisios winds(as they are known in Margarita) start in January, and blow through June.  10-20MPH in the AM, and 20-30MPH each afternoon!(see attached wind graph)
    The sandy shallow bay is about chest deep for about a half mile out and 1-2 miles wide!  Warm (80-85deg F) shallow waters on the inside are excellent for beginner and intermediate. The deeper waters offshore offer excellent bump and jump with waves in the 3-5 ft range.  "A moving mogul feild of, sweet, white topped ramps!"  Perfect for scoring excellent air time!!   The wind starts up around 10AM with 6.0-7.0m2 and builds through noon to 5.0-6.0, then often finishes the day 4.0-5.0 by shop closing around 5:30PM!  The site is excellent for kites and windsurfers alike.  Kite rentals and lessons are also available.
    The small town of El Yaque hosts a half-dozen or so windsurf/rental shops/centers for lucky winsurfers who choose to make the trip down.  All the shops carry the latest equipment, and most have on site instruction, and some free daily classes.  To name a few shops, VELA WINDSURFING, HAPPY SURF, CLUB MISTRAL.
    The small town atmosphere makes for a cozy feel to the local stores and shops.  Accomidations range from cheap rooms to full hotel suites and small apartments.  To name a few; WINDSURF PARADISE, EL YAQUE BEACH, and CASA RITA.
    Resturants serve a varity of food types from oven fired pizza, local seafood, to the casual snack bars.  There are about 4-6 local spots you can try, each with it's own cozy carribean atmosphere. Thankfully, No Mcdonalds there yet!
    For the big city experience, take a taxi to the 'free-port' city of Porlamar, a short 20 min. away, for Fine resturants, fast food places, shopping, gambling, and intense nightlife!  Dance clubs abound!  And yes, you could get McDonalds in town, if you really have severe withdrawal!
    El Yaque sports a handful of beach bars and one nightclub for evening entertainment.  The beach hotels/resturants often have special parties on the beach with live music and food for a cover charge.  The bands range from rock to local salsa and dancers.  These get-togethers are great to see and be seen, as the majority of the sailors attend.
    Moreover, most shops are able to arrange combined stays with their branch hotels giving the opportunity to enjoy other locations like Coche for flat-water, and Los Roques; the beautiful chain of isolated islands, for windsurfing in crystal clear azure waters, fishing, snorkling, diving and island hopping!
    For my money, I select Margarita year after year!  I currently have a running average of 95% of the days booked were sailed on a 6.5 or less!  For me, a 220lb sailor, that is simply amazing!  I've not had near that percentage anywhere else I have had the honor to sail.
    If you want nearly assured wind quantity and quality, Margarita is the place to go!!
some Surf Shop Links:
Vela Windsurfing- http://www.velawindsurf.com/margarita/index.html
Happy Surf- http://www.happysurf-elyaque.com/Privat ... nglish.htm
Club Mistral- http://www.club-mistral.com/index_cme.ht

Some Acommidations:
EL YAQUE BEACH- http://www.porlamar.com/english/el_yaqu ... _hotel.htm
CASA RITA- http://www.porlamar.com/english/hotel_casa_rita.htm
Windsurf Paradise- http://www.windsurf-paradise.com/indexstart.htm

    Here's an email I sent back from Margarita while I was down there last year, sort of sums up the day to day experience, from my personal point of view:

Writing from the hammock, it's Monday in Margarita.  I had a great day yesterday, slept till 9:20 then got up
for breakfast.  Had some eggs, ham, cereal, fruit, then hit the hammock for about an hour long nap.  Birds
singing, slight breeze thru the palm trees, slightly cloudy, bout 80 degrees, excellent weather for a siesta
in the hammock!
        Got out of the sling and played with the computer for a while.   Nice to have the laptop here this year, get to email from the comfort of
my own room.  Only get about 22KB, but always seems to connect with no problem.
        After the ritual application of sunscreen, I head out to the beach.  Light winds for nearly noon...
Stopped at the Vela center and did the meet and greet of the buddies there, chatted with Tom the owner for a
bit about techy stuff, and then buzzed over to the store for some agua and a bit of a snack.  Time for the
beach chair.
        Watched the beach scene from the comfort of the reclined position.  The vendors for empanadas (Venezuelan equivalent of the corn dog)
shouting out their sales pitch as they walk along.  Empanadas!  Coco Frio!  Musica!   Sun is now full on,
the breeze has changed to a slightly stronger version, and the clients of the surf shops start the surge towards the
sea.  Boards and sails fling out of the lofts to the beach, big boards and big sails so far, 280
powerglides, and sails in the 6.4 to 6.9 range.
        As the sun heats up the island the wind thermal machine starts to crank, and the wind starts to tease
me to come out and play,  the big stuff is coming in now and the small boards are hitting the sand for final
adjustments and off to ride.  I slowly move from the beach lounge to the equipment loft.  Discuss sail size
and board type, Robby suggests the Pro-Tec 272 race board, only 90 liters displacement, but long and
narrow, says its one of the fastest in the shack. Should be good with a 6.5 for me.  So it's off accross the100 ft
of sand to the water with the rig for some rides!
        Hit the water about 2:30- 3:00, wind is strong and steady, it's hot and the waves are nice little 1-2ft
on the inside, 3-5ft on the outside.  I shlogg for about 50 yds, and then get the puff, pump the sail,
stuff the feet in the straps, and lean back for the blast of power, and off I go!   The board is fast! I am
already rippin as fast as I was on my downwind ride yesterday!  Shredding along at about 25MPH, a nice
triple set of waves presents itself into my path!  AIR TIME!  I slice the board towards the wave face and
pushoff, foosh, I am climbing, 2..3..4..5 ft into the air as the ramp pushes me upwards, then pullup the back
foot, more lift now...6..7..8..10Ft high!!!  I am flying downwind at a 10 foot elevation!!  I turn slightly in
the air to glide to the perfect planing landing just past the back of the third wave!!  SWEEEEET!  What a
rush!
        Of course for the next hour or so, I repeat this scene on wave after wave, some jump heights of
only 2-3 ft others as high as 11ft!  Simply heaven on the water, the rig is perfect, all adjustments are
perfect, and the conditions are excellent!  Finally my body is tired, and I have had my fill of endorphin
rushes, need some water.  Blast downwind to shore, crank on the straps, lean on the rail, and put the
board into the death grip power blast zone!  SCREAMING FAST!!!  Can hardly control the rig!  Skipping over
chop at what seems like 60MPH! (actually, 32.4MPH per GPS)  What a blast!
    I slow down now and drop in the water right in front of the Vela center, pick up my rig and carry it back to
the loft.  Hit the shower, rinse off the salt, and hang up my wet stuff.  It's about 4:45, only 45min before
happy hour!  I towel off and move to the beach chair to watch the beach scene again.  As I sit there Beecher, a
frequent client of Vela, and a friend, walks by and hands me a Polarcita beer.  "You look like you might be
thirsty." Life is tough in Margarita!
    As happy hour starts, all the clients crowd around Mike's beach bar, the blenders sing their familiar tune
as Coco-monkeys, Banana-mamas, and various other drinks are created for the patrons.  Lynn, another
friend/client, puts another beer in my hand. And before I can put in an order, two more beers arrive from
Beecher again!  Loren, from Alberta, keeps the flow going and puts like a dozen beers on the table now!  We
are making friends with Matt and his wife, along with their daughter and son, sitting at the same table. They
are from Wisconsin, having a blast so far, as is everyone.
    The kite guys and gals are out on the water now, most windsurfers are in at this point, and the air show begins!  These guys fly in towards shore and rip huge air in front of the crowds gathered for happy hour and
the trick show the kiters put on.  30..40 ft sick fat airs!  Deadmans, flips, spins, board grabs, inverted.
Every trick in the book, and some that aren't even defined yet! Loren and I decide to go for pizza across the street at the Italian place.
     Lots of fun with everyone, discussing the day.  The beers keep coming, and so does the pizza, fresh from the wood fired pizza oven.  Very tasty thin crust pizza!  We scarf it down and then they bring the after dinner
shots.  We are off to the beach bar again.
    The place is quiet now at 10:30, but a handful of folks are still there, so we pull up to the bar for awhile.
We are having fun talking Spanish to the waitress and bartender, and just
shooting the breeze!  Finally its closing time, and we depart to each head back to the beds.  An excellent day again!  Totally content, I head to the hammock for a final ride of the day, as I gaze at the moon and stars;
I doze off and finally hit the bed.  Another perfect day in paradise!  Wish you were here!


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