Wave Snobs be Damned - Embalse Puclaro
Go ahead. Crucify me for coming to Chile and sailing flat water. There have been some really nice days of wavesailing here on the coast of Chile. More than nice, incredible days. But there have also been waiting periods. In general there have been breaks of 4 or 5 days followed by 3 days of wind. This reminds me a bit of Santa Cruz in the spring, maybe someone can correct me on that? Either way the wind doesn't happen every day here on the coast, and I'm a guy with a craving for freestyle. When the forecast wasn't lining up for 5 days, I took a nice long, scenic trip up to the Valle de Elqui, where they grow the grapes for Pisco.
The looks I got the day I left Matanzas were classic. "You're driving all the way up there, away from wave sailing?" Embalse Puclaro is a long 10 hour drive from the popular wave sailing spots, way up in the warm north. It's a man-made reservoir, maybe 10 years old that is treated to 30 knot winds for hundreds of days every year. This time of year, you can plan on only using your smallest sail every day. For freestyle it can be downright incredible, the only problem being too much wind on many days.
Another important tip for this trip: if you're not going on the weekend go with a group. Puclaro is popular with weekenders from Santiago (a 6-7 hour drive) but during the week it's not very lively. I mean no one is there. So when a group of friends of friends invited me to join, I jumped at the opportunity. I was greeted immediately with a group of sympathetic-toward-gringo friends, warm weather and ideal 4.2 conditions for 6 hours a day.
Ack! A kiting picture on my blog! Who put that there?
Friends Carlos and Juan Carlos, not to be confused with one another.
Getting a picture of a friend jumping a kiteboard from a downward facing mast camera takes some coordination and timing. Yeah, I missed the jibe.
Marcela -- badass windsurfing chick...
So basically a friend of a friend told Claudia there was going to be some gringo windsurfer coming into town and she reached out to me on Facebook to let me know about this trip. She's another great sailor and yes, gentlemen, she's single and ready to mingle.
Gee, what do I want to eat after 4 hours of sailing in 30 knots? How about 10 lbs of meat? Chileans love their grilled meat, and I do too.