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Archive for the ‘5. VOYAGES’ Category

We usually visit Paros in July for windsurfing, but thanks to an invitation from our friend Nikos & his wife Astrid (owners of the Philoxenia hotel), we decided to spend there this Easter.

Great choice by all means, because the island at that time, offers a much more relaxed atmosphere (as long as you know how to avoid the crowd).

Here are a few images I would like to share.

I start with the flourished countryside

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Below, is a cute folklore “angel” on Friday night of the Epitaph at the village of Prodromos, where the village follows the tradition of the adjoining village of Marpissa, where a large scale theatrical enactment of Jesus’ last days is organized.

IMG_2536 b

And since sailing in Paros is a must even when not windsurfing windy, I tried for a second time to wing-surf on my 140 liters Gong Lance, under the instructions of Alekos – the wingman of the group.

We sailed in Santa Maria, where John & Julie were already wing training.Me & John winging

Gong alternative sailing board

July is coming soon, and so does a new sailing season for us, so my friend Kostas & myself try not to spare workout time – Alekos & Mari are sailing daily…

surfer-dude httpwww.symbols n emoticons.com

 

 

 

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I never had a Fanatic board until recently, while if I hadn’t been so closely related to the Greek F2 importers back then, I’m sure I would have sailed a Fanatic sometime.

By mistake the Fanatic 30 years book commemorative anniversary advertisement, used as their first photo (1981),  one that my friend Armando Moustakis took me while I was sailing in Schinias, a 1980 Sordelli board with a storm sail made by Tassos Boudouris (the Olympic games Soling sailing medalist), and that was my only connection with Fanatic until last summer.

Well thanks to my 2 Greece-loving, German windsurfing friends Alex & Markus, I may proudly join the vintage Fanatic owners club. Here is how this happened.

Fanatic Ultra Cat – late ’80’s

I suppose you remember how I got interested about the Ultra Cat from the post Windsurfing season 2015 – part 2.

Thinking I would not find an opportunity to visit Paros again that summer, I had taken the Ultra Cat to Athens. :)25 days later, I returned to Paros, and as soon as Anastasia of the Philoxenia beach shop saw me,  she called me in and gave me a large parcel, telling me that Alex had left there for me. To my great enthusiasm, it contained the Cat’s trousseaux, consisting of 2 expertly hand made wooden daggerboards, 3 different size & material fins and 2 hard to find mast foot joints!ultra-cat-equipment-gift

 

I asked Anastasia about Alex, and she told me he was in Paros and that he was coming daily to the beach. Not more than  half an hour later, I spotted Alex, rigging a Mistral Pan Am raceboard.

I thanked him warmly for being so kind to give me all the valuable material of the board, but when I asked what was the sum I should give for everything, Alex offered me the Ultra Cat, not accepting any kind of compensation, saying that he was happy someone could appreciate the old Cat which was in need of some rejuvenating care. He had already replaced it with the Pan Am, while he also showed me his smaller, red, old-school Fanatic freeride, both of which he soon sailed in turns, with determination and flair.ultra-cat-attention-spotsI took the board to Kostas @ boardsnwheels. First we dealt with the non fully retracted daggerboard issue, that we solved by altering slightly the pivot point of the custom wooden daggerboard – after Kostas managed to mark the wood with a genius bronze marking button he crafted on his recently acquired lathe. Then he moved on (on a very slow pace, I may say), to fix the 2 holes on the deck, retouch the old repair of the tail – restoring the animal print graphics on plain yellow background (the old repair was covered with blue color, masking also some of the graphics), respray of anti-slip and finally change the rotten footstraps.

Trying to find appropriate footstraps for a board belonging to the funboard period, is not an easy task nowadays. Gone are the colorful choices, and after extensive search, I decided to go for the Dakine turquoise Primos that contain almost the full palette of the Cat’s decoration. Mind you that even knowing what I wanted to buy, it was not easy to get all 8 straps ( I always buy one spare) from one shop! I finally ordered them from France, from a shop that doesn’t even specialize in windsurfing… I believe these straps lifted the the bar of the reconditioning considerably.ultra-cat-reconditioned-2016ultra-cat-dakine-straps-fantasy

To complement the looks, I asked the board’s bottom to be sanded race wise, for less drag. Now, all I need is an experienced raceboard (see ALEX) rider to appreciate it. Alex, although older than me, still competes in tandem (2 riders boards), something I have not even tried in my youth.

 

Fanatic Ultra Mosquito – early ’90’s

It was last January, that Markus  having visited Hitthewave, left me a kind comment. He also told me, that he is windsurfing in Serifos, where he keeps most of his equipment, including 2 vintage boards, an F2 Sunset Slalom & a Fanatic Ultra Mosquito, that were somehow decorating the resort of his friend Edie, where he stays every year he goes to Serifos. I think you know this F2 is a benchmark in shaping and that it paved the way to the cross type of boards, but you are maybe unaware, that the Fanatic Ultra Mosquito of 1990 – 1991, belongs to a range that I consider as one of the most inspired artwork in the history of production boards.

fanatic-ultra-mosquito-1990

Not having any board of this range, I asked Markus if I could offer a substitute and get the Mosquito, but he generously told me I could get it outright. Without delay I contacted Edie, who promptly dispatched it to me. It was with great anticipation that I received it, to realize unfortunately, that neither Markus nor Edie had followed the fate of the Mosquito for quite some time and the board had obvious signs of neglect.

As usual, I took it to the repair shop for the bottom, while I dealt myself with the deck artwork (after all, Kostas is too busy to spend long hours in detailing). You see, although I doubt I will ever sail it, I had to restore it so that it will please my eyes.fanatic-ultra-mosquito-markus-board-renewed-2016

And nobody can forget the combined beauty of the girl & the surf – Jenna on the Mosquito, the unsurpassed photo of pro – sports photographer Sylvain Cazenave 🙂jenna-fanatic-ultra-mosquito-wind-magazine-by-s-cazenave

I hope one day, we will sail together with Markus, as we already did with Alex.

Below are some photos of Markus in action, both with the retired Ultra Mosquito and his present Fanatic board, while there is a playful entertaining video showing the good Serifos times.

Once again, I would like to thank my friends Alex and Markus for their gifts, and wish them happy sailings!

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Carampa, the renown contemporary circus school of Madrid, chose the historic PRICE circus theater to present it’s CRECE show, having chosen young artists from all over the world. Greece was represented by our daughter Nina and it was with great pleasure that we attended this modern circus event and enjoyed the company of such talented world artists.

Unfortunately, I was using a non familiar camera, so the photos are not as good as the artist, while I do not have pictures from all of them. Apologies, but I think even these samples are better than nothing…crece-street-adsambidextro-revista-dela-escuelade-circo-carampa-madridcrece-the-party-must-go-on-show-presentationcelinecharlotteandreanina-1-bwnina-3-bwnina-4-jesus-bwp1050718-rtriowisefoolscrece-end-of-show

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Whenever we feel the desire for a short trip abroad, Italy is the first destination that comes to our minds.

People are charming, the country is flooded with antiquities and attractive places that take you back in history, while at the same time it is the birthplace of high automotive technology and unsurpassed design in general.

Considering these, we decided to spend Easter in Trieste.

We have never been in Trieste before, but having heard a lot, we were curious to find out more. Trieste was the fourth largest city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (after Vienna, Budapest, and Prague and was a seaside Vienna and a fluid borderland where Italian, Slavic, Jewish, Germanic and Greek culture intermingled, it emerged as an important hub for commerce and arts, while the flourishing Greek community greatly contributed to the glamour of the city. The seafront view and the famous picturesque Piazza dell’Unita, would definitely look poorer if the fabulous palazzo Carciotti & the palazzo Stratti were not erected by these wealthy men of Greek origin. Piazza della Unita - Triestepalazzo CarciottiTrieste became part of the Italian nation just in 1954, having undergone severe population exterminations starting from the rise of fascism, until well after the Second World, as it was an important area of the struggle between the Eastern and Western blocs.

Through my blog, I come in contact with quite a few people, but this was the first time I arranged a meeting  in person.

It was as if Danilo & his wife Doris were friends of ours since many years. The fact that we share common interests, raised the barriers of speaking different languages, and allowed us to enjoy their great hospitality, Danilo’s insatiable mechanical/ electronics projects focused on their 2 well pampered X1/9s, Doris tasty cooking and a wonderful visit to the nearby historic site of the Roman Aquileia, after stopping at the Miramare castle.Miramare castello - TriesteMirabello - our companyAquileia cathedral

Danilo, wishing to prepare his ideal X1/9 versions, goes to extreme modifications, assembling engines and gearboxes, chosing the best possible components the Gruppo has to offer (and in many cases rectifying inherent design weaknesses)- in this last project I saw, the internals of Fiat Tipo/Tempra, doing also of course all proper weight reduction & balancing and upgrading like, wilder camshafts, extra carburation and free flow exhaust systems, topping these with plenty of accurate electronic modifications, like fuel measuring and programmable CDI ignition-all of his own design and construction (after all electronics is his major field)!

In a very modest way, Danilo tried to underrate his work, so he wrote to me:

My tuned engine does not have anything particularly innovative: many manuals contain much higher levels of preparation.

My CDI + static programmable advance, is a project of mine that dates back some 30 years ago: at present it is not very interesting …

Perhaps, noteworthy, may be the Tipo/Tempra gears transfer into the X1/9: but those who are not familiar with these
gearboxes, cannot appreciate the usefulness of such a change.

I, having followed  his laborious and deeply knowledgable projects, I will include some photos, while I’m sure Danilo will not turn down technical requests any of you may have concerning projects similar to his… Impossible to present everything I have seen, but you have to understand that even the absence of a spare part cannot stop our man from achieving his goal!

Side windows rebuilt

Corrosion worn-out glass supportsrebuilt X19 glass system ready to fit again

Digital dashboard display & electronically measured data upgradeDig_Instr & LightingMod_tach_elettr_digitRinvii & Trasmett_cambio_2rev-counter digitalizationDanilo & Doris X_1_9_1500Tempra 1.6 engine transplantcamshaft housing & upper engine support modification to fit Tempra engine 1.6home-made programmable electronic ignitionMod_motore_73

Gearbox upgrade with Tempra parts (too many modifications to list & show!)Mod_cambio_45Mod_cambio_6Mod_cambio_41_b

The beginning of an ongoing story of love X1_9_USA_74_1.3

We were lucky the weather was fine during our visit, because the BORA freezing stormy wind of the place is no joke.bora

Not forgetting my sailing interest, I learned that Trieste hosts every October the famous Barcolana sailing gathering & regatta.Barcolana race

And of course, windsurfing is great in Trieste as you can see from this photo just in front of the Greek church!

windsurfing in front Greek church

As you understand, we look forward to our next visit to D & D’s Trieste.departing Trieste 2015

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Our friend Arnaud, who spends all-year-long testing windsurfing equipment around the world, when asked where we should go for windsurfing, he replies blandly: “to Paros”…

Well, putting aside the various problems of our disorganized country, we are considered spoiled, being blessed with the fascinating combination of crystal clear sea & plenty of wind, in an attractive environment full of antiquities, not forgetting the mouthwatering Greek cuisine.

As years go by, less and less we enjoy cold weather, so a week ago, we decided to try Mauritius – Indian Ocean, East of Madagascar, at the Capricorn Tropic level.

This tiny nation is just 10 times the size of Paros island.Mauritious mapParos island - Cyclades - Greece

The best windsurfing/kite spot is considered Le Morne peninsula, at the SW of the island. Conditions differ dramatically from the ones we are used to in Paros, due to the very different environment. There is a good description by Buzz, which will help first time visitors.

aerial photo Le Morne - Mauritius

The Indian Resort that was housing the Watersports station Mistral Club (MC), was under renovation and according to plans, 3 new hotels will start operating at the site by February 2015. In the meantime the closer you can lodge is St Regis resort.

Before going to the MC, I decided to check the windsurfing facilities of Lux resort and the Pryde Club just next to it, on the public beach between Lux and Dinarobin resorts.Le Morne - Pryde club

Lux beach

The Lux material was in a rather poor condition, with very basic sails – equipment good just for beginners.Lux Le Morne windsurfing equipmentLux Le Morne windsurfing equipment close-up

The Pryde Club is focused on kite & sup, no windsurfing, so there in no real option but the MC further down the beach.SUPing @ Le Morne

The first day I visited the Mistral Club, was windy alright, but rainy…There was no securely dry place to leave my backpack & camera (no lockers), and my non windsurfing company had nowhere to lay down not getting wet. We walked away looking for a better chance to return.
Le Morne windsurfing spot on rainy day

MC sailing plan postkiting at the Le Morne reefwindsurfing @Mistral club Le Morne

4 days later, weather conditions looking more favorable, plenty of sunshine and just OK wind ~17 – 19 knots, we went back.Mistral club beach area

MC & waves

In search of an average-Joe experience, I did not inform the staff about my blog, but just asked for a 120l Gecko board and a large sail, having agreed to book for 1 hour including 10 euros damages insurance – a total of 1,680 rupies (1 euro= 38 rupies).Mistral club Le Morne windsurfing equipment

I got a pair of shoes from the club and started sailing. I familiarized myself with the terrain, always staying within safe limits, as I realized that the waves area was quite far away (1,5 km from shore) with no rescue watch on duty. Although conditions were not thrilling, I tried to get the maximum from my equipment, speeding on the flat water. I soon realized the board was missing punch, and went back to check.zaosan @ MC Mauritius 2014

I noticed the fin was relatively small for such a board, and in poor condition,while the 6.9 sail had a torn luff and some patching tape, so I asked for what I thought was the easiest fix – a bigger sail. Surprise, surprise, I had already taken the biggest size of sail the club has. I say surprise, because they do carry several larger boards that actually demand larger sails to do what they are designed to do…As a remedy I trimmed the sail less flat, reducing the boom’s length by 1 click. I completed my sailing on this tired equipment and upon paying, I pointed out that since I was not a novice and having asked for a freeride board (not a wave or a freestyle that are prone to maneuvers damages), under conditions so calm, by asking for an insurance coverage I was expecting to get mint condition equipment. The girl at the desk gave me an unprofessional reply, that I should have told them before getting in the water, as if it wasn’t them who handed me the board & sail.Mistral Club North sail 6.9 conditionMistral Club Mauritius fin on Fanatic Gecko 120

Now that I’m back to my computer, I checked the Gecko 120 specs and verify my impression that the board I was given was fitted with a too small fin. The worn – out fin was 36, when the standard is 39…Fanatic Gecko specifications

My brief experience from Le Morne, is that if you do not have your own equipment, Mistral Club is the only realistic option, but check well what you will get to ride. Demand standard board fittings, otherwise you will get a wrong idea about the board you will ride!

If you wish to hit the waves, do it in company preferably with some locals and definitely not alone!

As shoes are a must, try to find some ankle-high, so that when stepping on the sand, no sand will get into your shoes. It is very annoying.

On the beach, stay away from the coconut trees, because falling cocos are dangerous. One fell less than a meter away from me, while I was taking the photos!Mistral Club Mauritius - coconuts danger zone

In the public beaches areas, you have the option of food & beverages at a fraction of the resorts prices. Unfortunately, they are not allowed to operate in the evening.Public beach @ Le Morne between Lux & DinarobinPublic beach resto @ Le Morne between Lux & Dinarobin

Point public beachPoint public beach - fresh fruits shop

In Le Morne we had the company of some very cute feathered friends, like this one, who was posing for me at the Point beach.Mauritius orange birdie

 

Sunsets were spectacular, but I’m looking forward to sail in Paros again.

And a sentimental remark: When talking about a PRYDE club, I would expect to find arrays of Neil Pryde sails, rigged to rocket me away, while at a ºMISTRAL club, I would love to have the choice of the complete boards range of the historic brand, not to sail on a Fanatic board rigged with a North sail bearing the Mistral logo…Le Morne low tide sunset

December  2016

I just came across an interesting windsurfing Mauritius review in Windsurf magazine, complemented with nice video filming.

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I regularly check the classified used boards for sale, and in June I spotted an F2 Ride 274 (mod.2000). It was located less than a 10 minute ride from my place, the seller was a guy I meet often down the beach of Shinias, the board in good condition supplied with both the original swept back 30 Concrete Wave fin, plus a more powerful upright 36 Ciessevi fin, so I handed over 200 euros and took it home. Such board sell for 150 euros, but mine had also the original foot straps OK, plus a historic Drops board bag, which although hardly presentable, it would serve to safely transport the recently renovated F2 Thommen Slalom Small down to Paros.

I know I don’t really need that board, but it will be a favorite among my windsurfing progressing friends and you should know by now, I have a soft spot for F2 boards of the Thommen era.F2 Ride 274 mod. 2000F2 Rde 274 finsF2 Ride Range 2000

In the meantime, I sold the T1 FreeX 130 bamboo Thommen board to a nice heavy guy who usually sails in Golden beach-Paros, so now I’m left with 2 boards of this line, the RS 59 and the eXperience 165, that I have already reviewed in the past.T1 mk4 RS 59-FreeX 130-eXperience 165sale photo of T1 FreeX 130

PAROS  REVISITED

This year we arrived in New Golden Beach a little earlier, with good wind to sail all 4 boards I brought along, 2 F2 classics – the Wave 254 & the Thommen Slalom Small and 2 modern, the Exocet Cross IV 84 pro & the RRD Firemove 100.

The big news this year, is that in addition to the long established Paros Surf Club Station (Taboo/Gaastra) that belongs to Philoxenia hotel, and run by Kostas,Paros Surf Club @ N.G Paros Surf Club manager - Kostas 2010 - RRDa new sports center affiliated to Aqua  Marina resort has opened: The  Goya Center Paros, run by the renowned windsurfing athlete & experienced trainer John Xefteris.Goya windsurfing center ParosGoya windsurfing center Paros - stationJohn Xefteris @ Goya Center ParosEfinha StreetDancer

The good news, is that now we have more friends running their businesses in N.G. beach, greater choice of equipment offered & more rescue boats.

The not so good news, is that the space is limited, parking is less easy, more people are both on the beach & sailing…

This July, there were fewer windy days, while there were some days of S & SW wind, rather unusual for this time of the year. Still, the windy days of meltemi wind, created a great terrain.

NGB Paros July 2014 - big wavesVergos wave riding NGBDuring my stay, I spotted 2 broken Taboo fins and I wonder if there was a production butch of inferior construction…broken Taboo finbroken Taboo fin -2

Talking about questionable material quality, I have to protest for the Dakine gloves I bought in Paros. These gloves started coming apart just the 4th day of use!Dakine glove 2014 RDakine glove 2014 L

It is a pity, because the 2011 Dakine gloves I had were very good – unfortunately I lost them. The Gull gloves I had last year, were also up to the job – again I managed to lose them…

Dakine sailing gloves 2011 – GOOD

Dakine sailing gloves 2011 - GOOD

Now I just received a pair of MacWet gloves which look promising. I will report in due time.MacWet watersports glovesThere were no friends photographers around this year, so it was thanks to Arnaud Dechamps, who in between shooting  the equipment on test for Planchemag, took 2 photos of me on the Exocet, where you can see the incomparable clarity of the water we are blessed to sail on!

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 To be continued

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Τώρα ξέρω γιατί έχει αεράκι σήμερα.
Είναι για να ταξιδέψει καλά με τα πανιά του ο φίλος μας.
Καλό σου ταξίδι και σ’ευχαριστούμε για την φιλία σου και τις συγκινήσεις που μας έδωσες. Ώρα σου καλή.

Agora eu sei porque ventoso hoje.
É bom viajar com velas nosso amigo.

Tenha uma boa viagem e obrigado por sua amizade e emoções que você ofereceu. Boa viagem.


Fernando De Noronha Race- Brazil

           Leonidas Renos Zerboulis ∞

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MADRID

Last week, while in the center of Madrid, I spotted a nice looking classic BMW motorcycle with a sidecar, that brought back memories of my childhood. I took a photo and continued my walk.Z-tours Madrid

The same afternoon , we saw this moto carrying a couple that were obviously tourists.  Back at our hotel, we asked the reception if they had any information about this kind of touring, but they could not help, so blowing up the photo I took in the morning, I read the name of the touring company. Soon after an internet search, I called David, the person behind the Z-tours company and at the same time driver & personal guide for the rides. We arranged for the half hour tour, and headed to the Grand Via spot where I had photographed the beautiful 1961 BMW.

We found David encircled by admirers taking turns to be photographed next to the shiny black beauty. We put on the appropriate era-style helmets and set off.  Reaching the other end of Grand Via, we found the street closed by the police because of a demonstration of unhappy people, due to the economic crisis and the resulting high unemployment. As there were no alternatives for our tour, we took a break and strolled about, waiting for David to call us for the opening of the traffic.

Madrid demonstration May 2013Madrid street closing due to demonstration May 2013

One hour later, we were riding again with David, crossing Madrid up & down at a relaxed pace,  seeing monuments & neighborhoods, taking pictures while cordially greeted by many on our way.

We ended at a cafe, where David offered us a coffee, while we had a chat about how he started this unique classic motorcycle city touring business, after he lost his job some months ago, while working at the same time as a scooter-taxi driver. After our drink, David dropped us at our hotel and next time we visit Madrid, we will book him for a different route.

Z-tours Madrid May 2013 Z-tours Madrid information - classic sidecar moto rides

ROME

Although we have visited Rome many times, this city has a special appeal to us. During the spring of 2011, while waiting for some friends to join us for a trip in Tuscany, we noticed a cycle rickshaw strolling in Piazza de Spagna. I asked at the reception of our hotel, and they had all the details we needed to arrange our tour. Ecotaxi/Ecotour was a new combined project, under the auspices of the Municipality of Rome & the Ministry of Justice, which had been active since the summer of 2010 and aims to contribute reducing the noise and air pollution in the historic center, as well as the reintegration of socially disadvantaged persons, who drive the vehicles.ROMA risco 2011

Our driver who’s name I apologize I do not remember, was right on time to pick us up from our hotel, and then a revelation tour started, with our cart going to places only pedestrians could reach, but covering the distance between sightseeing faster than a runner would, without sweat and under the protective shade of the tent. Just incredible!

At some point, the gentle driver offered us a gelato Siciliano, and led us back to our hotel. We will absolutely repeat it next time in Rome. My only regret derives from the fact that the electrically assisted rickshaws are made in Great Britten and not in Italy which has such a great tradition both for bicycles and coachbuilding…

Roma ricsoes

2022 – Unfortunately, neither Z-Tours in Madrid, nor Ecotaxi/Ecotour in Rome seem to be operating and this is a regretful outcome.

If anyone has any information about the fate of those 2 extraordinary projects, please let us know…

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Six years ago I visited Cuba for the first time and although I came across some decent boards & rigs, it was impossible to get a harness & boom lines.

This time, on April 2012, I arrived with my own harness/lines, sure that on my second visit, I would enjoy the perfect conditions. To my disappointment things instead of improving, they have become hopeless. The already aged boards are now realistically obsolete, and so are the rigs, with the usual 4,5m sail as the only option – and when the wind was strong enough to plane with a water-soaked board and the storm sail, then the watersports center would close down & go for a nap, as the authorities would ban sailing on rent equipment. Yes, it was a disaster!

I tried both in Varadero & Cayo Largo.

I checked the Varadero beach from the Golf club up, and the situation was the same everywhere, up to the end of the beach at Paradisus Varadero. Even the Cuba Kiters center (close to Melia Las Antillas hotel), that advertises windsurfing, has nothing better to offer, although kiters are more lucky.

The sail bears the CUBAWINDSURF CLUB  logo, and 3 out of the 5 panels are torn & patched

The board has a large crack on the nose

Although the wind is full 20’s, the sail 6.4m & the board 125l, the guy plans with difficulty on his water-soaked board.

The marina authorities have raised a red flag, so no windsurfing is allowed by the watersports station!

The cubawindsurf.com speaks honestly about the situation (2014 – sorry the site has been deactivated), but in the meantime, I have come across the interesting  community page of CubaWindsurf,  of Osvaldo, whom I will definitely contact next time I plan a trip to wonderful Cuba…

Of course there is some reasoning for the windsurfing mistreatment by the security authorities. During the hard times of Cuban suppressive isolation, there were quite a few brave ones who sought their freedom on a sailboard: 

April 23, 1990

A New Dawn

Lester Moreno Perez fled Cuba by boardsailing toward

Florida under cover of darkness

 

Sam Moses

Article sportsillustrated

In the annals of great escapes, the flight by 17-year-old Lester Moreno Perez from Cuba to the U.S. surely must rank as one of the most imaginative. At 8:30 on the night of Thursday, March 1, Lester crept along the beach in Varadero, a resort town on the north coast of Cuba, and launched his sailboard into the shark-haunted waters of the Straits of Florida. Guided first by the stars and then by the hazy glow from concentrations of electric lights in towns beyond the horizon, Lester sailed with 20-knot winds, heading for the Florida Keys, 90 miles away.

Two hours past daybreak on Friday, Lester was sighted by the Korean crew of the Tina D, a Bahamian-registered freighter. The boom on his craft was broken, and he was just barely making headway, 30 miles south of Key West. The astonished crew pulled Lester aboard, fed him spicy chicken and white rice, and then radioed the U.S. Coast Guard, which sent the patrol boat Fitkinak to take him into custody. After five days in the Krome Detention Center in Miami while paperwork was being processed, he was issued a visa by U.S. immigration officials and released into the welcoming arms of his relatives.

Except for his rich imagination and broad streak of courage, Lester could be any 17-year-old who decides to leave home, He was raised in the shoreside town of Varadero, the second-oldest of five children in his family. “As soon as I started thinking a little bit—when I was seven or eight years old—I wanted to come to America,” he says. Independent thinking ran in the family; his grandfather, Urbino, had been imprisoned for attending a counterrevolutionary meeting early in Fidel Castro’s regime and spent nearly five years in jail. Furthermore, Lester’s sister Leslie, who had been on the national swim team and had traveled to several foreign countries, had told intriguing tales of life outside Cuba. Lester also did not like the idea of serving three years in the Cuban army and then facing the possibility of having his career chosen for him by the Communist Party. There was also trouble at home; he and his stepfather, Roberto, were at odds, mostly over politics. So Lester decided he wanted to go to America, not Angola.

When he was 10 years old, Lester taught himself to windsurf by hanging around the European and Canadian tourists who rented boards on the beach at Varadero. “If you made friends with them, they would sometimes let you use their equipment,” he says. As he grew older and got better at the sport, he found he liked the isolation and freedom of the sea. “Sometimes I would sail for eight hours without stopping, and go very far out,” he says. His windsurfing to freedom seemed destined.

Recently, Lester sat in a big easy-chair in the Hialeah, Fla., apartment of Ana and Isidro Perez, the great-aunt and great-uncle who took him in. Lester is so skinny—5’6″, 130 pounds—that it seems there is room for two or three more of him in the chair. On his head he wears Walkman earphones, which he politely removes when a visitor enters the room. He has been in America only a few weeks, but he has already been interviewed several times and has been chauffeured all over Miami in a limo on a radio station-sponsored shopping spree. The tops of his feet are still covered with scabs, the result of the hours he spent in the sailboard’s footstraps; but his hands show no blisters, only hard, white calluses.

As he waits for a translator to arrive, Lester rocks back and forth in the chair like a hyperactive child. He clicks the television on with the remote control, passes a Spanish-language station and stops at a morning show on which a man is explaining, in English, how to prevent snoring by placing a Ping-Pong ball between your shoulder blades, a move that forces one to sleep facedown. When a visitor demonstrates this to Lester through gestures and snores, the young man rolls his dark eyes, smiles and says in perfect English, “People are all crazy here.”

A few minutes later, the translator, who owns a windsurfing shop in Miami, arrives, and Lester begins to tell his story through him.

“I had only been thinking of making the trip on a sailboard for about a month,” he says. “Before that, I’d been thinking of leaving the country by marrying a Canadian girl—every couple of months a few would come that were pretty nice-looking. But I decided to sail because I was training hard and was confident I would be able to make the trip easily. I had wind-surfed in bad weather, and even surfed during Hurricane Gilbert, so I was already out in really rough conditions and wasn’t worried about it.

“Right before I left, I was watching the wind patterns. A cold front had passed by and it was pretty strong, so I waited until it subsided a little. Usually after a cold front passes, the wind shifts to the east, and it’s just a straight reach to the U.S., so I waited for that. Then I told two of my friends, who said they would help me. I wasn’t hungry, but I ate a lot—three or four fried eggs, some rice and half a liter of milk—so I would be strong for the journey.” His friends also persuaded him to take along some water, a can of condensed milk and a knife.

At 7:00 on the evening of March 1, Lester, who had said nothing to his family, slipped out of his house and went down to the Varadero beach, where he worked at a windsurfing rental booth by day, while attending high school at night. Earlier that day, he had carefully rigged the best mast and strongest boom he could find with a big 5.0-square-meter sail. Then he had lashed the sail rig in the sand with the rental boards. Under cover of darkness, he unlocked the shed where the privately-owned boards were kept and removed his sleek and durable Alpha model. It had been a gift to him from a man who sympathized with his plight—a generous East German whom Lester called Rambo for the camouflage hat he always wore. Lester fastened the sail rig to the board and carried it to the water. He waded into the ocean until he was knee-deep, glanced over his shoulder to make sure he hadn’t been seen, and stepped onto the board. His ride on the wind to freedom had begun.

“I wasn’t nervous,” he says. “I had to be very clear-minded once I decided to go, otherwise they would catch me and I would be in a lot of trouble. It would have meant three or four years in prison if I had been caught. No lie about what I was doing was possible.”

About one and a half blocks away from the beach was a tower usually manned by guards with infrared binoculars. Lester, who was sailing without lights, also had to keep an eye out for freighters and pleasure boats that would be cruising in the busy Straits of Florida.

“At first I wasn’t able to get my feet in the footstraps,” he says, “because there wasn’t enough wind for my sail. But as I got farther out and was able to get fully powered up, I began feeling more confident. The swells were very steep, maybe four or five meters, and I was going so fast I had no choice but to jump them.”

As he recalls the moment, Lester rises from his chair, plants his bare feet on the tile floor and extends his thin arms, grasping an imaginary boom. He begins in English, “Wind coming, coming, coming…out, out, out…is very strong.” He’s hanging in his invisible harness now, arms stretched wide, eyes lit up, flying over the waves. “Whoosh!” he cries. “Is good!”

For 10 hours he rode the wind, never once fearing failure, or drowning. He thought of his family and how worried they would be when they discovered he was missing. But he wasn’t alone out there. “Ever since I left, I could see the sharks coming out and in, coming up on the board. I was hoping and thinking they were dolphins, but when the sun came up, I could see there was no way they were dolphins.”

Around daybreak, the aluminum boom broke, separating the connection to the mast like pieces of a wishbone. He tried fixing the boom with his knife but couldn’t, so he sailed on, clutching the pieces of the broken wishbone. This made control of the board extremely difficult, and he couldn’t rest in the harness he had rigged. “My arms and hands were getting really tired, but by then I could already see the big kites of the fishermen, so I wasn’t really worried. When I saw the freighter, I tried to point [into the wind] as much as I could and sail toward it.”

A similar crossing was made in January 1984, by Arnaud de Rosnay, a Frenchman who boardsailed from Key West to Cuba as a personal challenge and a publicity stunt. De Rosnay, one of the best board-sailors in the world, had sailed in daylight with a chase boat. His trip included two stops for repairs and two stops to rest, and he completed the crossing in about seven hours. (In November of the same year, de Rosnay vanished while trying to cross the Straits of Formosa.) But only a month before Lester’s odyssey, another young Cuban had perished attempting to reach the Keys in a raft.

Not surprisingly, Hollywood has come knocking on Lester’s door. “The story is a natural,” says Paul Madden, the president of Madden Movies. “It’s Rocky and The Old Man and the Sea in one. If this picture is done right, by the end of it the audience will be standing up in he theater and cheering.” Madden might not be one of those doing the cheering; he was outbid for the rights to Lester’s story by Ron Howard’s Imagine Films.

Lester has handled the movie offers—assumed to have reached six figures—and the media blitz with uncommon courtesy and self-assurance. A new acquaintance has even invited him to spend the summer at Hood River, Ore., where he will be able to jump the formidable swells of the Columbia River. This sounds good to Lester. But right now, one of his teenage friends has invited him to go sailing off Miami Beach. That sounds like the most fun of all.

Cuban windsurfer rides fair breeze to freedom

February 11, 1994|By Susana Bellido | Susana Bellido,Knight-Ridder News Service
Article  from The Baltimore Sun

MARATHON, Fla. — A 21-year-old Cuban windsurfer who waded ashore on the Florida Keys on Tuesday night said he had gone for a spin around the Varadero beach resort nine hours earlier and headed north on a whim.

“I went surfing, to catch some air, to have fun,” Eugenio Maderal Roman said after the 110-mile crossing. “Look where I ended up.”

Mr. Maderal, who said he windsurfed daily in Cuba, said he has wanted to come to the United States for a long time. But he didn’t plan for it to happen this way.

He said he set out from his girlfriend’s house in Varadero about 1 p.m. Tuesday, heading for his aunt’s home a short distance to the east. With winds blowing from the northeast, he had two choices: tack back and forth furiously, or sail out into the Atlantic and turn around, letting the wind blow him straight to his destination.

He opted for the ocean, but he didn’t turn around.

“Something was calling me,” Mr. Maderal said. “When I saw water all around me, I just kept on going.”

A water bike and windsurfing instructor at the Club Tropical hotel, Mr. Maderal made a better living than most of his friends. But he was tired of Cuba’s hardships, he said.

Although the crossing was often frightening, it was easier and shorter than he had expected, Mr. Maderal said. He was encouraged because a friend of his had been able to pull a similar stunt in 1990.

Mr. Maderal said he oriented himself by the sun and, later, by the North Star.

When he saw lights glowing on the horizon, he thought at first that he was hallucinating. He rubbed his eyes, then headed for the Sombrero Reef lighthouse.

Mr. Maderal knew he’d made it when he got to a Marathon beach and saw an American flag on a light pole. He yelled for help.

Bettye Chaplin, a Marathon businesswoman who lives on the beach, heard his cries and went outside to investigate.

“I ran downstairs with a glass of water and said, ‘Where’s your boat?’ ” Ms. Chaplin said. “He pointed at this windsurfer, and I couldn’t believe it. He kept saying, ‘Si, si, si.’ ”

Mr. Maderal’s pained and cold look and his swollen hands and feet convinced her that he had crossed the water on a windsurfer, she said.

Mr. Maderal’s childhood friend, Lester Moreno Perez, windsurfed most of the way across the Florida Straits in 1990. A ship picked him up about 30 miles from Key West. For about a week after that, Mr. Maderal thought of following, he said, but he decided it would be crazy to attempt it and settled down. His plan was to leave by plane or sailboat one day.

“If I’d thought about it twice,” he said, “I wouldn’t have done it.”

3 Cubans Windsurf To Freedom

May 01, 1994|By Knight-Ridder/Chicago Tribune.

MIAMI — Three Cuban refugees who escaped the island on sailboards glided for 12 hours as sharks circled them-then, exhausted, they stretched out and took naps.

Three hours later, at 3 a.m. Wednesday, they heard the rumble of a boat and sent up a flare. It was a group of American fishermen on their way back from a tournament in Cozumel.

“I was thinking, `Please, let a boat come by and pick us up. Enough with the heroism,”‘ said Alexander Morales, 21, a professional windsurfer. “And the boat did come.”

Hitching a ride with the fishermen, Morales, Carlos Lopez Gonzalez, 26, and Roberto Gonzalez Ortiz, 22, arrived in Key West Wednesday morning.

The men first concocted their plan more than two months ago.

They rigged their sailboards for the trip across the Florida Straits with special seats, similar to swings, and sturdy sails. And they trained every day, at least four hours a day, often longer.

But they lost a powerful ally the moment they left the coast of Santa Fe, their hometown, at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. The wind died, leaving them idle and impatient for long stretches. The sharks edged in closer. At night, the predators never left them alone.

“It’s very risky, very tiring,” said Morales, who competed on Cuba’s windsurfing team. “You are nothing compared to the sea. So insignificant.”

Cuba’s border guards never suspected a thing. Windsurfers sail along the Santa Fe coast all the time.

“We had done this all our lives, so the border guards couldn’t say anything to us,” Morales said.

Just to be safe, he and the others hugged Cuba’s coastline as they sailed toward Mariel. They each carried a liter of water. Twenty miles offshore, they changed course and headed to Key West. They didn’t feel safe from Cuban authorities until nightfall.

Their conditioning served them well: During 12 hours of non-stop windsurfing, their feet and hands throbbed, but they didn’t think about the pain. Only at midnight, after they nearly collapsed from fatigue, did they let down the sails to rest.

“I had trained my whole life for this,” Morales said.

The men aren’t alone. Three other Cubans have windsurfed their way to South Florida this year, according to the Church World Service resettlement agency.

On Friday, Morales was reunited with his father, Alexander Morales. Father and son hadn’t seen each other since 1979. Morales’ mother and half his family are still in Cuba.

“That’s a small little board, 3 inches of width. You have nothing to protect yourself with,” Morales’ father said. “It’s unbelievable.”

The Full Story of Raydel Armas

Article from the Windsurfing Magazine

 kristin

2008-06-23

Here’s the full, unedited transcription from our interview with windsurfer Ray Armas about his many attempts at a journey from Cuba to the US. Ray would like to thank Big Winds for their generous help in getting him his brand new windsurfing gear.

First off, I am 27 – born in 1980.

My first contest with windsurfing was when I was ten years old . I grew up in Varadero, which is the main tourist town in Cuba – there are some really rich people there – 98 percent hotels, 2 percent people’s house . If you live there, you work with tourists. In Cuba, working with tourist is a huge issue – you go to a KGB-type process before you’re allowed to work with them.

And when I was ten years old we had a hifly longboard. In those days we didn’t have monofilm , jus Dacron sails – it wasn’t until 2000 that two friends of mine – the only way to get new gear is through friends who work in Varadero – but two my friends and I bought some gear – and we started with windsurfing – while one was sailing, the other two were waiting. It was a 1990 bic Veloce, and the sail was still Dacron with nylon in the middle – the booms really old and repaired.

It was in April in 2004 when I left Cuba.

Everything in Cuba was black market- I had a baking business – my situation with the government was getting very hard – I was a dissident, openly against the government, some people would say that was stupid. – but a lot of pressure – so I was considering any kind of escape. When I was escaping on the windsurfer, I had tried already six times to escape. After the windsurfing board I tried in a catamaran – the mast broke, I sank the mast and sail – spent 14 hours trying to reach the coast.

Eventually, I tried the windsurfers again. I asked a friend for help, but I didn’t tell him what for.

6 AM of april 22nd, 2004, I took all my gear, and we went to the this light house – Faro de Maya – everybody who lives in matanzas knows this unique lighthouse. We woke up at my house at 6 AM – at eight thirty at Fayo de maya – tried my gear – in matanzas the Cuban coast guard – you can’t cross past the harbor – only inside the harbor. If you go beyond the point, it’s illegal. Every single fisherman boat has to be upriver. It’s quite far away from the harbor. At eight thirty in the morning, there was no wind, nothing, but I go into the water because I knew the wind was going to take a while. When I assembled the gear was when I told my friend what I was thinking. His face was going through seasons – first smiling, then silence, then red, then worried. I told him to wait three days, and if you hear nothing, then whatever happened, not tell nobody. I told them my family I went camping with my gear. And I used him an excuse. But in this case I had him call my mom from different places. Una poquite mentira.

Of course, as soon as I left, he opened his mouth. He didn’t believe me still.

The first moment I got the wind, three flying fish was with me the whole time, jumping in front of the board. I was concerned about it – what happened if one of the animals went in my sail. In the middle, the water turns very purple – it’s very deep – being in the water – I couldn’t see my feet. When the water was green again, I knew I was getting close. The wave was so huge – slow, huge, ocean waves. I had a backpack full of water, it made almost impossible to water start – once I was up out of the water – the back pack became much lighter.

My harness line were just a piece a rope , tied right to the boom with a hand knot – all the lines in Cuba are hand-made.

At this point sailing for a while, at 4, I realized the horizon was light, at first I thought it was a lighthouse, I realized it was an US coast guard boat. The whole ocean full of this – it was impossible to keep going – I windsurfing three miles out of the way – put my sail down, took all the sea out of the fin – at this point, I had just two fingers of fresh water in the bottle – the water just full of seaweed – some of the salt water just eats our face. One way or another salt water gets into you mouth, you get thirstier and thirstier. My brain was going crazy at that point – you have two personalities – the optimist and the pessimist. I decided to try to find the coast guard. They finally realized I was trying to ask for your help – and they told me in English – and I had to answer him in Spanish – a lot of my friend asked why I didn’t answer in English –

The US coast guard found me, they assumed I was a US citizen because at this point, I was quite close to the US – they knew I was just 20 miles or so from the Florida Keys.

When they realized I was Cuban they started shouting he’s Cuban he’s Cuban – but they grabbed my gear and when we got to Cuba the security was trying to blame me for a boat robbery.

The boat was the USS Confident or Confidence – I am trying to get in touch w/ somebody from them – I remember there was people taking video and pictures – of me and the gear.

I came back to the US Sept. 6 of 2007 – this time in an airplane – but as Cuban refugee. I lost my house, my clothes, everything – because I was coming to the US empire- so I was a traitor. And as a consequence, they took everything.

I used to do modeling in Cuba when I was very young, and I met a photographer who became a good friend – he is from Europe. I have been his roommate – here I am working as a housekeeper – and soon will start at barber school. My life has turned 180 degrees. The guys from Big Winds gave me a huge discount to be able to sail – the people on iWindsurf have really helped out – I just want to see my friends face when they see this.

I’ve only had the gear for a couple of weeks – to be able to and sail I need my girlfriends help – just because I can’t carry the stuff alone to the subway – girlfriends aren’t always able to help – so far just once – but soon more.

I met some other sailors too, in NYC, and I see a guy putting the gear on a car, so I went and talked to him.

80 percent of windsurfers in Varadero, they just do it too show off – it still is a strange sport. When it becomes more normal, they will do something else. But the passion people, they will really appreciate it. I’m breathing here in the US thanks to windsurfing. It’s the first time I’m using real harness lines! It’s very unusual in Cuba to find a boom that has foam – you have to take wrapping tape, then paint it with epoxy resin, then sand it down – it’s a really heavy boom but it works perfect.

I won’t tell you how many telephone booths we broke to get the acrylic used to make fins. We had to make everything, like the mast base pictured here. I don’t recommend it, it’s very dangerous!

Here is Rydel’s posting at the iWindsurging forum, where he also speaks about the old equipment he used:

Author   Message

armaswindsurfJoined: 25 Apr 2008

Location: Manhattan or Brooklyn,NCY     Posted: Mon May 05, 2008 1:41 am    Post subject: The RAY STORY ABOUT CROSSING THE 90MILLES OF OCEAN           

________________________________________

May 4th 2008So my dudes!!!… I will try to do it good and short with my english: April 22th 2004,8:00am,… I was In Matanzas Cuba,and the day after I was sailing as usual with my friends… and the idea of escaping just came to my mind,when we finish windsurfing,I ask to one of my friends to sleep that night at my place cuz I will need his help for something (I didn’t tell him what fore) at 6:00am we toke all my gears and put it on the bike trailer that I use to have there (and I’m planing to rebuild here) and we went to “FARO DE MAYA” = “maya lighthouse” a very secluded area at the coast of Matanzas city, the wind start blowing a little bit at 8:30am and around 9 was kind of good enough,So.. then I told my friend what fore we where there (hahahahaa, you just miss his face!!!!, I bet you hem didn’t believe it till I just disappear in the horizon… hahhaaaa) So… from that point was all sailing and sailing till I reach the middle between Cuba and Florida THEEENNNN you just imagine the size of the waves (OCEAN WAVES DUDES… OCEAN ONES!!!!) Those don’t brake like use to happen close to the beach… this are like titanic elephants,slow but HHHHHHuuuuuuuggggeeeeeee… and because of that, I crash 1 of the 3 times that I crash, cuz i told myself “where and when the hell are you going to see waves like this” so… I ride couple of it… but cuz my gear wasn’t the right one (nothing new,back in Cuba we never had “the right things”) OK,MANY OF YOU MOS BE WANDERING WHAT KIND OF GEAR I WAS USING THAT DAY. Take a sit first..,this is going to be hard to believe it: (remember this was in 2004) I was in my 1990’s “BIC VELOCE” 3.10 cm (several repairs on it…of course) with just a 30cm fin (wrong one), the foot-straps where just old foot-straps skeletons tided with scotch-tape, the boom was full of epoxy and repairs, the harness line was just 2 pieces of rope covered with plastic host and tide to the boom with no more than hand knots (don’t make fun of me please… I told you guys,we do and repair and invent anything, just to keep sailing) the sail was a 6.5 bic freelite… no compass,no maps, just a bar of a kind of peanut butter and 1L of fresh water. (sailing and stopping 15min/h the all trip will be around 8 or 9h) but around 4pm and around 20 miles from one of the Florida keys (I guess Marathon key) US coast guard don’t give much info, the USS CONFIDENCE COAST GUARD catch me, and toke me back to Cuba (with all that means) but not without give me some documents that finally after 3 years of interviews, the us gov give me the VISA has a political refugee with permanent residence and all the benefits from the gov. And I become a FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE of communism and dictatorship !PERSON! … but this my friends is a veeeeeeeery reduce part of the story…. But, if tomorrow one of you want to know more, I finaly are going to be around Conney Island beach and Brighton beach SAILING, that… if I don’t get arrested first for carrying all my stuff on the subway… I will be there around 3pm,I don’t think it will be hard to find me, not many windsurfers are going to be sailing at the same time…hahahaha….

See you around guys!!!!!!!! good winds for all!!!!!….

PS: If there is any doubt about if all this is true, try to check with the US Coast guard, maybe some one know some one that knows how!!!.. what I remember when I get on board of the coast guard.., more than one of the crew was with video camera and photo camera… and believe me, I will love see some of it!!!!!!!!!!!!! or have some copy!!… who knows!!… maybe thanks to “iWindsurf” I finaly get it!!!!!!!!!!

22.2.2014

3 Cuban windsurfers made the crossing to USA

Cuban windsurfer rescued after four days at sea by U.S. Coast Guard

Article from Chicago Tribune

United States Coast Guard officers arrive at their base with a Cuban man they rescued in Key WestUnited States Coast Guard officers arrive at their base with a Cuban man they rescued in Key West(HANDOUT, REUTERS / February 22, 2014)
David AdamsReuters10:23 a.m. CST, February 22, 2014
MIAMI (Reuters) – A Cuban man who attempted to windsurf across the Florida Straits to the United States was rescued on Friday after four days at sea, the U.S. Coast Guard said.The man was one of three who left the communist-ruled Caribbean island on Tuesday, only one of whom reached Florida unassisted.Under the “wet foot/dry foot” policy of the Cuban Adjustment Act, Cuban migrants who make it onto United States soil are allowed to remain while those intercepted at sea are returned to their home or a third country.On Friday afternoon, the man was spotted by a boater on the Marquesas Keys, an outcrop of small, uninhabited islands about 20 miles west of Key West, according to U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Peter Bermont.”He was unable to move himself and the officers had to use his surfboard to carry him,” Bermont said.Many Cubans have died trying to cross the Florida Straits separating the southeast coast of Florida from Cuba and known for its sharks, difficult currents and sudden squalls.The windsurfer who completed the crossing, identified as Henry Vergara Negrin, 24, said he left Jibacoa, Cuba, near Havana at 9 a.m. Tuesday with two companions on separate boards, according to a report by the Key West, Florida, police.Negrin is the first reported Cuban windsurfer to make the treacherous crossing in two decades. Half a dozen windsurfer attempts were documented during the 1990s, including Lester Moreno Perez who in March 1990 attempted the crossing aged only 17, and was rescued by a freighter 30 miles from Key West.Negrin took 9-1/2 hours to make it ashore at Key West’s luxury Reach Resort. A hotel spokeswoman said guests and a bartender helped him.Negrin told police his companions’ sails went down and he lost sight of them four hours into the journey. He said he knew his companions only as Armando, 28, and Duarte, 23. Duarte was found disoriented and drifting Thursday morning about seven miles south of the Florida Keys, the Coast Guard said.(Editing by Grant McCool)

Copyright © 2014, Reuters

Here is one more article with video footage.  by  Diana Montano in ateve

The crossing for Jorge Armando Martinez, the second friend who managed to land in Florida, was even more difficult, as it took him 4 days!

Here is an article & video on BBC News  by Lorena Arroyo – BBC World

Cuban windsurfers Vergara - Martinez & unconfirmedDuarte - by ateve

But Cuba is always marvelous and inviting, so I look forward to the next visit, with my own FULL equipment…

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I don’t enjoy running and running in general does not suit to my blog, but having posted about Dean Karnazes and coming across Farmer’s achievement, I feel nobody can overlook such a run.


•    From: AFP
•    January 19, 2012 3:00PM

AUSTRALIAN ultra-marathon man Pat Farmer has completed his epic run from the North Pole to the South Pole in a feat of endurance he said would take its toll on his body for as long as he lived.
The 48-year-old former politician set off from the North Pole on April 2 last year with the emotional Farmer finally planting a Red Cross flag 21,000km later at the world’s most southerly point.
His run was dedicated to highlighting and raising money for Red Cross water and sanitation projects and he said the thought of people worse off than himself kept him going through periods of extreme hardship.
“I’ve endured a lot on this run, but the people of Africa and East Timor and South America who have no clean water or have been victims of flood, earthquake, fire and famine do it very tough too,” he said from Antarctica.
The run from the world’s most northerly tip to its southernmost took in 14 countries and conditions from freezing ice wastes to mountains and sweltering tropics.

He said he endured snow blizzards, became lost in the blazing deserts of Peru, dodged polar bears, snakes, crocodiles, armed bandits and rogue militias, and narrowly avoided being wiped out by an out-of-control truck.

Running an incredible average of 80km every day, with no days off, he suffered dehydration, stress injuries and pushed through what he said was unimaginable pain to raise about $100,000.
“This run will take a toll on my body for as long as I live,” said the father-of-two.
“But every step, every frustration, and every moment when I’ve considered, but rejected the thought of lying down and not running another kilometre, has been worth it.
“Running long distances is my gift, my way of making a difference.”
Farmer has put himself through the pain barrier many times before, holding seven world records, including the fastest run around Australia – 15,000km in 191 days.
The ultra-marathon athlete has twice crossed Australia’s desert centre on foot and also raced across the US, finishing fourth despite 50 days of running with a fractured leg.
“Pat Farmer is an inspiration to all humanity,” Australian Red Cross chief executive Robert Tickner said, praising his “amazing feat of physical courage and endurance”.

FROM: http://www.theaustralian.com.au
http://poletopolerun.com/

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