Posts Tagged ‘Pacific Ocean’

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Go to Peru for your extreme vacation

February 11, 2009

Peru is gaining in popularity as the place to go for indulging in your chosen extreme sport. Whether it be paragliding, surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing or mountain climbing Peru offers some great venues in unrivalled settings and no doubt at a price more reasonable than bak home.

One of the most popular of these sports is paragliding. Peru’s beautiful mountainous terrain and vast unspoilt landscape provide scenic views that make it an unforgettable location for paragliding. What’s more, low-turbulence laminar winds make Peru an ideal location for practicing those difficult paragliding manoeuvres that most weather conditions would not permit.

The video below comes from leontienkragten and shows his paragliding holiday in Peru where all the best paragliding venues were visited – great action.

As well as continuing to grow in popularity as a paragliding location, Peru has also developed a reputation as a surfing destination, particularly amongst spring break students. Peru’s enviable position on the Pacific Ocean means Peru can offer surfers some of the longest waves that are to be found anywhere in the world. In fact, such waves – which often stretch for several kilometres – combined with its reliable weather and relatively unspoilt beaches make Peru an ideal location for a surfing holiday.

Probably the most famous of all Peru’s surfing locations is Chicama; with waves that can stretch more than 4kms, Chicama is the professional surfer’s dream come to true. In addition, 60km up the coast lies another of Peru’s most popular surfing destinations, Pacasmayo; whilst the waves don’t tend to be as long, they can still reach around 500 metres in length.

The video from altubo below is a great representation of the length of the waves to be found at Chicama.

Although popular with surfers, over the past few years the area has also begun to attract a large number of kite and wind surfers. With wind-speeds averaging around 14 knots, the area is perfect for such water spots, the Peruvian coast providing a beautiful backdrop for an unforgettable surfing holiday.  This video from kiteclub shows excellent kite surfing action and a brief glimpse of wind surfers in action.

While Peru’s warm seas and long waves have made it a haven for surfers, its rugged mountains and high peaks make it a mecca for mountain climbers. One of the most popular climbing spots is the Cordillera Blanca mountain area near Huaraz.

Although the mountainous region offers various peaks for climbers to enjoy, Huascaran – Peru’s highest peak – always proves to be the most popular. Sitting high above the Rio Santa valley, Huascaran offers unforgettable views of the Peruvian countryside and a challenging climb to mountaineers of all levels. The video from grillbiller shows a successful Danih expedition to summit Huascaran in 2008

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Vendee Globe leaders round Cape Horn and head for home

January 8, 2009

We have not reported on the Vendee Globe sine December 21st, a long time in the world of round the world ocean racing but now with little more than 6,000 miles to the winning tape the leaders can feel they are on the final leg.

Michel Desjoyeaux on board Foncia has slightly increased his lead over Roland Jourdain in Veolia Environment to approximately 100 miles and they have both now sailed into the Atlantic and are heading north east of Argentina before crossing the Atlantic from the Brazilian coast to the African coast, passing Cape Verde, the Canaries and finally north to France and the finishing line at Les Sables d’Olonne.

But behind them there has been drama – when we last reported Jean Le Cam in VM Materiaux was in third place but on Tuesday his boat capsized as he approached Cape Horn and Le Cam was stuck in the hull. Vincent Riou on board PRB turned to help and in a dramatic and daring rescue was able to throw a rope to Le Cam who on the fourth pass was able to grab hold.

The two skippers carried on round Cape Horn but in a cruel twist of fate PRB was dismasted having passed Cape Horn and is now under tow of a Chilean vessel on its way to port.

This has enabled Armel le Cleac’h in Brit Ait to take third position as he rounded Cape Horn quaffing champagne and he now lies approximately 750 miles behind the race leader.

In the video below from acvor you can watch some of the action from the 2006/07 Vendee Globe which has some frames from rounding Cape Horn – this has to be an extreme past time demanding extreme respect to those individuals who challenge themselves against such extreme elements.

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Full speed ahead for Cape Horn

December 21, 2008

The leading boats in the 2008 Vendee Globe are now passing to the south of New Zealand and heading out into the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

The next land to be seen will no doubt be the sothern tip of South America where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans meet at Cape Horn which has a fearsome reputation.

And there is still about 12,000 miles to race so there is plenty of time – another 30 to 40 days at sea – for events to unfold. Heading toward the New Zealand gate Michel Desjoyeaux in Foncia has a 60 mile lead over Roland Jourdain in Veolia Environment with Sebastian Josse – BT – a further 100 miles (approximately) behind Veolia Environment and Jean le Cam in VM Materiaux in fourth place.

Of the 30 boats that started the race 12 have now had to retire leaving only eighteen still in the race. For those that don’t know the Vendee Globe is a solo trans global race for open 60s – and what is an open 60? Read on:

Open 60s are one of the fastest boats in sailing — built in carbon fibre using the latest hi-tech structures, they are designed to be as light as possible (for speed) but strong enough to withstand the worst the seas can throw at them.

They are designed from the outset to be sailed by just one person. There are very few comforts aboard, and the skipper will spend most of the time in the ‘crash’ seats in a cuddy that separates the open cockpit and deck from the navigation work station. This is the nerve system, packed with electronics and computer equipment to help navigate, check performance, and communicate.

The boat has a number of different sails to suit various conditions — not as many sails as a boat designed to be sailed by a 12 strong crew, but enough to keep the solo skipper working hard all the time matching sailplan to wind and sea conditions. There are three types of sails — a mainsail, headsails on furlers (rolled up around the stays) and a spinnaker — although alone, the spinnaker is only used in very stable conditions (to be caught in a squall with this huge balloon of sail could mean disaster — end of race).

The boats also have to prove their ability to turn themselves the right way up if they become knocked down or turn upside down. This is part of the latest IMOCA safety rules which require the boat to right without the assistance of waves by the skipper taking some action to turn the boat over.

The video below from yachtpals will give you an idea of what can be expected in the southern oceans – kind of tough.

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Anne Quéméré is off…

October 27, 2008

“My Everest is the Ocean and my dreams are focusing on the preparation of my crossing the Pacific Ocean”

On 22nd October I wrote about the epic journey French born Anne Quéméré  was about to make – a 7,000km kite crossing from San Francisco to the French Polynesian island of Tahiti. It would be the first kite crossing of the Pacific Ocean.

Much to her frustration she has been delayed by unseasonably good weather in San Francisco. It is very important that when she launches she has good wind to take her out of the fog filled bay area and through the shipping lanes as quickly as possible. What she does not want is to be becalmed in the trade routes helpless amongst those huge cargo ships, especially at night.

She did cast off eventually on Friday morning but after fighting to find enough wind to keep the kite afloat she decided to return to the Corinthian Yacht Club and wait for a better forecast – it looks like she will have to wait a few days…

AQ © Anne Quemere

However, her team were able to boost her morale by quoting Louis XIV – “The impatience to win, assures a loss.”

Her voyage in the 5.5m purpose-built Oceankite will take her from the northern hemisphere into the southern, through tricky weather regions including the dreaded Doldrums which are caused by the ITCZ. Her arrival in Tahiti will be dependent on wind speeds and ocean currents.

© Anne Quemere

Her reason for this latest challenge?

“During my voyage and through my involvement with the BLUE Climate and Oceans Project, I want to communicate my love for the ocean environment to as many people as possible, in a bid to try and encourage more to adopt simple changes to their lifestyle, that will help to make a difference to protect these environments for our younger generation to enjoy”.

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Extreme challenge

May 27, 2008

One individual, one boat, three oceans – this extreme challenge has never before been attempted.

I would like to introduce you to Ollie Hicks, a 26 year old Brit who is about to attempt one very extreme adventure and that is to circumnavigate the globe in a rowing boat! Crazy? Well probably but then people would have said that of anyone who tackled the ‘impossible’ – the list of names is too numerous but throughout our history there has always been a first – from the oceans, deserts, space, mountains and continents – and here we have another intrepid explorer ready to risk life and limb to achieve that accolade.

But this adventure is not just about being the first: Hicks is hoping to raise £1,000,000 for charity as well as collecting scientific and medical data and highlighting the effects of global warming on our planet as well as demonstrating what can be achieved by using renewable energy sources.

The Global Row will also be working to raise awareness of climate change and global warming and showing that it is possible to live off alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power.

It is particularly fitting that the Global Row should depart this year in the middle of International Polar Year which aims to focus attention on the Northern and Southern Polar regions.

The journey will encompass a region which has already been significantly affected by climate change.

  • The Southern Ocean has warmed up by 0.17C between 1950 and 1980
  • In 1995 the Larsen A ice shelf disintegrated from the Antarctic Peninsula.
  • In 2002 1,250 Sq. miles of the Larsen B ice shelf collapsed in 35 days.
  • Warming in Antarctica is 5 times the international average +2.5C
    since 1945.
  • The melt season has increased by 2-3 weeks in the last 20 years.
  • The Adelie penguin population has shrunk by 33% in 25 years due to decline in winter sea ice habitat.

The basis of the voyage is to utilise the favorable currents and winds in the Southern Ocean. The expedition will leave New Zealand later this year and head towards 50 – 55 degrees south latitude and into the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), this is also the midst of the Furious fifties where the prevailing westerly winds swirl around the planet. These winds and current will help maximize Hicks’ daily mileage and by staying above 60 degrees south the worst of the cold and ice will be avoided.

By following the 55 degrees south line across the Pacific Hicks will pass through the Drake passage and past Cape Horn aiming to make landfall on South Georgia for a resupply and to overwinter for 4 – 5 months. From South Georgia Hicks will continue eastward across the Atlantic ocean passing well to the south of the Cape of Good Hope and into the Indian Ocean before an intended return to New Zealand, some 18 to 24 months after departing.

The Southern Ocean has long been regarded by mariners as the wildest of the oceans and has been described to in much maritime literature and legend. Sea temperatures vary from about 10C to -2C. Cyclonic storms travel eastward around the continent and are frequently intense because of the temperature contrast between ice and open ocean. The ocean area from latitude 40 degrees south to to the Antarctic circle has the strongest average winds found anywhere on earth. In winter the ocean freezes outward to 65 degrees south in the Pacific sector and 55 degrees south in the in the Atlantic sector.

At these latitudes – the roaring 40s, furious 50s and screaming 60s will be prevalent and with no landmass to slow them down they always present an extreme challenge to any mariner. Huge icebergs miles in length and width, smaller bergs and sea ice are ever present. High winds, mountainous waves, powerful storms, fog and poor visibility will all have to be negotiated. Perhaps the greatest risk to Hicks’ boat is accumulation of ice on the deck and superstructure, in certain conditions this can form thick and fast compromising the stability of the boat. And what hope of a friendly helicopter appearing overhead in the event of a disaster……..well your guess is as good as mine when you are a thousand miles from the nearest base.

We at Xtremesort4u wish Ollie the best of luck and we will keep you, our readers, informed of this remarkable voyage as and when he sets out.

Hicks’ intended journey – starting from Wellington, New Zealand, November 2008, 15,000 miles, scheduled completion 18 to 24 months later, Wellington, New Zealand