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Alacati, Aug 2002 - with Cribby & Shawna

The short version for those who don't want to read the details:

www.Alacati.com (Windsurfers Paradise)

ALACATI WINDS

Monday South swinging North 2 - 3
Tuesday South 2 - 3
Wednesday South 2 - 3
Thursday South 2 - gusting 4 later swinging West then North 2
Friday North 2 - 6 gradually building over the day
Saturday North 3 - 6
Sunday North 2 - 5 maybe NWish
Monday North 1 then South 1-2
Tuesday Helicoptering in the morning, Northerly pm max f3 occaisionaly gusting f4 after 4pm
Wednesday southerly strong in the morning f4, dipped over lunch then f5 later.
Thursday northerly 4 to 5, am, pm f2, then nw, w , n, 3 gusting 5 @ end of the day
Friday am 1 - 2, pm 3 - 4 n,nw
Saturday 0 (gnats fart) gusting zero Gerry got out & swam back.
Sunday 2 - 3 all day, hopeless.
Monday Very windy outside the plane.


long version:

It all started with a Chinese meal @ Gerry and Chris' in Portishead. Sun shining, car packed we 4 strolled up the M5 to Birmingham and the Regency Hotel where we were booked in for the night, and the car was booked in for a fortnight. As the sun fell we drank wine outside dreaming of hot winds and plenty of warm water. The rats running round the hotel grounds didn't put us off in the least.

MONDAY

The airport, next morning, provided all those holiday necessities, spare batteries for the camera, insect repellant, Gin & Tonic…. The plane ride and the drive from Ismir to Alacati were very easy and we were at the Suzer hotel a few hours later pleasantly tired. A quickMistral Centre walk to recce the place, we found the Mistral centre and did the intro with Emanuel & Nelle. Beers & back for tea, lots of various fish, salad and fresh fruit. The hotel bar has a large balcony with tables, which we used most nights. The sky is very clear and looking up we spotted the stars that make up the summer triangle and a satellite. All round very Suzer Hotelnice. There seem to be quite a few cats.

 

 

 

TUESDAY

No stomach problems overnight so a good breakfast was had at 8am (this is really 6am!). No wind at 0900. Even the wind turbines at the North end of the inlet have stopped. Light winds all day, the best was had by a huge starboard with an enormous sail, planing. We spent most of the afternoon on sunbeds, under a tree that we adopted for the fortnight, adapting to the climate, the beer helps! Teatime arrives. Lots of good food, then a trip up theAlp's Bar hill to Alp's bar called Scenic. The view from here is mainly all the lights around the wind surf centres & the hotel. The stars came out and were better now as we were further from the hotel lights. Alp spent some time at our table telling us that everything here is illegal!

WEDNESDAY (day 3)

There is some wind at breakfast (none yesterday) so we are hopeful. Tourists in CesmeLight winds again. There is a forecast put up in the centre saying getting better towards the end of the week (force 5). We had lunch in the local bar then put the kit back into store and back to the hotel to catch a Dolmas to Cesme (pronounced Chez me). This is a small minibus, about the size of a transit. Side sliding door, 13 seats in the back, 2 in the front next to the driver. They stop & pick up people anywhere (& drop them anywhere too!). Alacati is a 5 minute ride from the hotel. On the way is Tina's shack just by the raised section of the motorway. Tina runs a small windsurfing parts shop (& café) close to Alacati. Check out her website www.alacati.8k.com. Although we passed her shop several times we never actually managed to visit.

We reached Cesme and walked through the shops. Viv found a bum bag & a sarong, Gerry & Chris found a watch for a good friend. I managed to use a ''hole in the Wall" and withdraw 150,000,000 wondering how long this would last at 3.5 million a beer! It never ceases to amaze me that a piece of plastic can produce money so easily in far away places. The trip back by dolmas was easy & quick.

THURSDAY

Today there was wind. It came in the afternoon & was very welcome. The day started with a light Southerly. This is what we have had since Tuesday. Enough to sail but not to plane.
After lunch we had maybe 1/2 an hour of force 3 to 4. Then it died and swung round to the north. We were watching the windmills in the distance. They turned first and then our wind died and swung round.

ANTS. The soldier ants by our tree are as big as Swan Vesta matches. There are small holes in the ground at the base of the tree, several disappear into the roots. There must be a City down there. There are some other very small ants, so small you have to look hard to see, wandering around the bark. These must be workers (he has resorted to investigating ants - this should give a good indication of the level of wind - Viv).

The wind picked up a little just before we came off the water at 6pm (the centre shuts). Surf ParadiseBlowing from the north the water is a lot flatter. Gerry is using a Super vision 191 with 8.1m sail, me on a 131 emotion with the same 8.1m sail, Chris on a 125 radar with a 5.9m & Viv on a 140 radar with the same 5.9m. We all try different gear over the two weeks. Water, then beer at the centre finished the days sailing. Happy Hour was for two and a half hours every day except Thursday!

A Turkish dancing group accompanied tea at the hotel. They produced lots of noise, drums and shouting. 5 men & 5 women, (I'll never take the piss out off Morris dancers again!). Bed followed soon after. Woke up early and watched the dawn from our balcony, a pity it faces north west.


FRIDAY

Wind Northerly in the morning, building slowly. We didn't go out on the water till after lunch. Visited another bar at lunchtime, the food was ok but small beers here for the price of large beers at our usual venue. The afternoon was great, tons of wind. I crashed thigh to boomGreen & Blue which slowed me down a bit. Changed down from an optimistic 8.1 to 6.4m. This much wind is going to take some getting used to. The evening passes in a blur of tiredness after the afternoons exertions. Best day yet.

SATURDAY

Slept like the dead. Struggled to make it for breakfast @ 8 (limping). Beach towels collected, trek to the tree, say hello to ants, sort out kit, tried Mistral 125 radar all day - pretty good. 7.3 sail in the morning, 5.9 in the afternoon. The morning was full of holes with very little planing - this was frustrating as everyone else was! (planing that is). The afternoon was the opposite. The wind had picked up, I changed down to a 5.9m sail and blasted from 3:30 till almost 6. Great!

Shower AreaAt about 6:30 the "helpers" get to go out and have a play. The wind was gusting hard enough to pick up dust from around the car parks and produce smiles in anticipation. We have a well earned beer after clearing up all the kit. The centre has a wet area with fresh water showers so you can shower & rinse the wet suit while removing. Its usually nice and cold too, (did I mention the weather is very hot). For leaving the suit, harness, footwear etc...overnight, there is a room with hangers on a rail and box shelves. Very neat & tidy.

SUNDAY

Slow start, wind very light till 2pm then gradually picks up to about F4. Lots of planing and trying for gybes & not making them. Gerry pulls off 3!

Early off the water at 5 ish, kit away, beers & back to hotel. Checking on Mr Cribb @ the centre, Emmanuel says he has bookings for "English" on both Monday & Tuesday, so we don't know if we'll see anyone till end of tomorrow. Tea & bed for the girls. Gerry & me finish off a beer before turning in.

MONDAY - WEEK 2

Didn't sleep too well. Stomach ache, seems better after breakfast. We collectGuy Cribb & Shawna Cropas the Beach Towels. As the wind was doing nothing we made the decision to go back to Cesme, so caught the 11am dolmas and spent the day there. Back at the centre Guy Cribb turned up inthe afternoon. We got back and met him, Shawna and some of the others in the bar by the centre. Back to the hotel in time for a G & T before tea. Looks like there is a full program of things to do this week.

TUESDAY - WK2

Up early. No wind to start, then it was helicoptering back & forth, north, south. We all went out and wobbled with Cribby for a couple of hours till lunch. The wind was better in the afternoon & I managed to plane right at the end of the day.

WEDNESDAY

Lots of time on the water today. Early on as southerly picking up. Actually, we did Vivthe on land, foot movement, muscle memory bit first. Then went out and practiced. 2 groups, carvers and water starters. The Evening meal was out at the Windmill restaurant, very nice location, 15 mins from the Suzer in Alacati, great food, transport organized by Andy from the centre & he turned up later. Back very late in a dolmas. Andy is German and has an amazing pair of contact lenses that double as sunglasses. Not so much red-eye as black-eye.Menu

THURSDAY

Shawna went through the entrance to a carve gybe on land and then we all have a go. Later, onto the water, we can only play in the light wind. I changed board to the new Mistral Emotion 151 and Gerry now has my Mistral 131 Super Vision. We have concentrated on footwork since doing the muscle memory thing yesterday, lots to improve. Must remember to look where I'm going. Lunch at 1:30. Over lunch there was a shout from the centre staff and we had a twister come through. The car park dust was picked up making it stand out. Fortunately it did no damage but sun beds and windsurf rigs have been known to get picked up. The afternoon was getting ready for carving practice with Guy. Wind swirling stops that, so we try some light wind helitacks and sailing on Cafethe wrong side of the boom. The wind picked up later and we tried following Guy into a gybe to notice the fall off in power that happens on the run. Scary stuff. Planing & trying to carve till 17:45. Managed to survive a couple of gybes. The café and centre held a Pasta night that evening. Plenty of food, drink and socializing before turning in for the night.

 

FRIDAY

No wind at breakfast. Hotel board has names and leaving instructions for next Monday. Only three days left, must try to make the most of them. The mornings exertions included sail twirling, rig flipping, rig 360s followed by another small twister. Everyone is now very aware of the damage that a twister could do. Early lunch then an afternoon spent mainly on the water doing gybes & tacks in front of Guy's Video Camera. We watched the video after with Guy talking us through the problems. There is a rumour that the band "Faithless" will be playing at a club just down the road on Saturday night. We might try to do this if only to make our sons jealous.

SATURDAY

Tickets for Faithless are all sold out at the bar on the beach. But we were told you can pay on the door. Morning starts off ok but slow. Very little wind. Guy does a talk & show on 3 versions of gybe, light wind, powered up carve gybe & overpowered carve gybe, showing where the transitions are.
No wind in the afternoon forces a shore training session on tuning. Sail, mast foot, harnesses, foot straps, fin, all aspects. A little later Viv & I went to Cesme to get cash out on Guy's hired scooter. A great trip. Back in time for shower, G&T then bus to dinner in Ilica restaurant where brain soup (yes this is as disgusting as it sounds!-Viv), beers, wine, pizza, different meat courses all came to the equivalent of £10 each. After this we caught the bus back to the Suzer & then on to beach club where Faithless were playing. It cost 20 million to get in on the door. We were all frisked (except Viv strangely). The venue was definitely Camel sponsored. It was extremely noisy but there were great lasers and we did recognize three of the songs, which was three more than Cribby and Shawna! Very little drink could be found but a Vodka red bull at 10 million and a sprite at 5 million were had eventually. Back to hotel at 3:30am. (Getting too old for this!).

SUNDAY

No wind at breakfast (notice a common theme here ?) Wrote up Tuning tips from Cribby. Guy spent 1/2 hour talking to us about our kit and what we should be aiming at. A lot about JP boards and Neil Pryde sails of course. Some of us have tried his kit and we are definitely impressed. Mucking about in the water, we accidentally stuck a fin into one of the large training boards while running from board to board. The centre absorbs this small mishap with a shrug. Later, rig recovery practice in the water. Then a quick sail across the bay and finish.

MONDAY

We had a well deserved lie in and a late breakfast. Packing kept us busy until we leftSatellite location at around 11:00. The transport back to the airport was a slow hotel bus but to its credit the ac worked so the trip was comfortable. Ah well, another one over!

VIV'S BIT

The overall impression of Alacati is that it is a good flat water venue, at least when the wind blows! Usually the winds there are stronger than we experienced. We were unfortunate enough to choose the two weeks when the rest of Europe, including Northern Turkey, were experiencing major storms; with some places badly flooded. We think that this also affected the thermals where we were - according to Cribby the following week they had planing wind every day - typical!

The sailing area is vast and split into a shallow water area next to the beach, which goes out for about 500m, and a deep water area, which goes virtually to the other side of the inlet, before shallows reappear; the two areas are very visible, the water appears green in the shallows and blue in the deeper area. The total distance being about 2km (we think), with the prevailing wind directions this is superb for blasting all the way to the other side and back. On light wind days the shallow area is heaving with windsurfers of all different standards, finding space to do anything can be difficult. On strong wind days the beginners vanish and more experienced sailors appear; everyone is much more spaced out, but the area is still very busy, especially coming in to the very small, Mistral Centre beach. There are 6 Centres hiring out kit, plus two storage areas for local clubs and a camping area, so you get the idea as to why!

Mistral Centre Sail StoreThe Mistral Centre had excellent kit, the complete range of Mistral boards and North Sails, all of which were very well maintained; also cool freshwater showers (bliss!), storage space for wetsuits etc, which was locked up overnight, and an extremely organized system for allocating kit, which involved boards, magnets and a sticker making machine - German, say no more! We didn't have any tuition at the centre as we were on Cribby's course on the second week, but the staff there were very helpful and did everything except carrying the kit down to the water. Most of the staff at the centre spoke pretty good English, which seemed to be used as a transition language for any guests that did not speak Turkish or German.

The Mistral Centre shared its site with a Fanatic Centre and a café/bar, the whole site was beautifully maintained by a full time gardener. He could be found trimming the grass with scissors daily!

The hotel is palatial compared with Moon Beach! (our only other foreign windsurfing experience) and the food good - the singer who accompanied virtually every evening meal however was beginning to grate by the second week! Even beach towels were supplied, which could be changed daily. Most of the residents were either Turkish or German - we did not hear or talk toHotel any other English people for the whole of the first week, not until everyone arrived for Cribby's course.

The course itself was excellent, both Guy and Shawna really know their stuff and put it across very well. They make sure that you don't just watch, but do all of the moves off and on the water - their muscle memory system really works; I just hope that my long term muscle memory is better than the usual version. The lack of wind was more than made up for by their tuition, my general sailing and light wind gybe improved no end, but I have to admit it was frustrating to do so little of the high wind version - I got to the "carving the board and falling in" stage, but no further. Guy did push the JP and Neil Pryde kit, which is no surprise; but he even let Chris and me try out his equipment, to prove a point. We both had a try of his 103 litre freeride, unfortunately in light winds only, but the board was surprisingly manageable even in light winds - especially for someone who usually uses a 144 litre board.

Finally a big thanks to the Mistral team.Mistral Team


Postcard

Steve and Viv Powell

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