Thursday, August 8, 2013

Punta Cana Club Med Day #1

Things have definitely changed here.

The two flights weren't bad as I had aisle seats for both :D.  We arrived at Punta Cana around 12pm EST and had lunch.  Food seems to be the same as I remember 4 years ago; buffet with some extra fancy dishes.   Not bad at all!  But could definitely add some pounds to myself if I'm not careful.  Now to the sailing itself, was definitely hyped up for sailing after lunch but that excitement was short lived.  I got to the sailing center around 1:30pm and was shocked to see the condition of all their gear.

*Rant Start* All the fins were completely cut up and boards were pretty scratched up and dented.  The sails themselves seem to be pre 2000 era sails and a majority if not all the sails were rigged incorrect.  Too much outhaul and too little downhaul.  Strike 1.   The workers even got mad at me for trying to rerig the sail properly.  Strike 2.  When I tried to rent a rig the largest sail they had was a 6.2 AeroTech. I knew I'd need at least a 7.4 to get going so 6.2 was going to be a challenge.  The board they lent me was a 160L JP beginners board.  Was a bit unhappy with that as they wouldn't let me get a smaller board.  I guess trust is an issue here with the guest.  Strike 3.

The wind itself was pretty darn gusty with lulls larger than ever.  I never knew I'd find a place that was worse than Cabrillo when it came to gusts haha!  I managed to get the board going a few times but I felt that the fin was holding me back.  Way too small for the size width of the board but they workers didn't let me change it...  All in all it was pretty tough to sail with an incorrectly rigged sail/ wrong fin size + board combo.  Did a few tacks and returned the gear.  The worker even told me that I needed to refine my tack.  He basically tried to show me how to rope tack...  His advice would absolutely not work on a slalom board as the volume distribution is completely different...I won't diverge into that.  The final straw for me was when the guy tried to tell me that MY harness belonged to Club Med.  That didn't go well...

GPS Data for my session...not good at all


All in all I would say that you could only really have fun with the gear here if you are 1) New to the sport and 2) Under 120 pounds as they don't have any sails that would suite otherwise heavier sailors.

Regarding the other aspects of the resort, I wasn't too pleased either.  When I go on vacation I try to escape from the "normal" world to place that's exotic.  The original landscape/architecture of Punta Cana was definitely one of it's fine points but now that has changed too.  The main bar which used to have a "tropical" look to it now looks like a bar straight from Vegas.  Now I don't usually go to bars but the old bar had more of a cafe feel too it and was a great place to relax at in the evening.   Another annoyance I had with the "New" Club Med was the snack bar at the beach or should I saw Restaurant #3.  On my previous trips here, the best part was being able to order what Robyn calls a "Bucket of Fries" and enjoy them at our beach spot.  Now take out is prohibited and sit downs are only allowed.  Huh?  To end my complaint, the resort also seems to lack friendly GO's now.  Originally the GO's would always be welcoming and eating lunch/dinner with you but it seems like the policy has changed and management has encouraged them to be less friendly and given different lunch/dinner hours.

I feel like Club Med is either under new management or they are trying to hard to become more of the typical resort.  Either way they are definitely having an identity crisis

 This place used to be a lot better but like I said at the start, things have changed.  *End Rant*

Oh well at least I was able to have fun swimming around in the really clean water unlike Cabrillo!

Clear Carribean Water!

Till Next Time
-Kevin

PS: On a site note, you any of you are interested in the GPS Team Challenge than please try to get an approved GPS unit asap as we will start the competition when I get back!

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