A long-cherished wish of us was to learn kitesurfing in this sabbatical. Finally have more time to devote yourself fully to a sport and to learn it properly. The time had come. The next stop should be Tarifa. Mecca for kite and windsurfers from all over the world. A few Spaniards had recommended a nice place in Valdevaqueros and so we set off from the mountains towards the southernmost point of Europe. 3.5 hours drive to the place where the Atlantic and Mediterranean meet.
The “Dicke” again had to cope with some kilometers and altitude meters and also drew attention to itself shortly after the ride.
Again a flashing indicator in the cockpit. This time he wanted us to refill oil, so not so bad. Short stop at the gas station, again the fathers asked for advice and then refilled oil.
The tour could go on.
Just before you reach Tarifa via the national road, you can see the rock of Gibraltar. So much heard about it and then suddenly you’re there. At the southernmost part of Europe. Africa only good 14 km away by sea. Morocco on the horizon. We will not be further away from home in this road trip. An amazing moment. Once again around the corner, we already saw the city beach of Tarifa. The first advertising posters on the street make it clear where you are. One surfer brand after the next is touted here. Here” “almost” is all about surfing, whether windsurfing, kiting, surfing, SUP or whatever else there is in water sports.
We drove past the city towards the campsite, the sea always on the left. And then there is the picture that you have already seen in many reports. They appear in the sky, hundreds of kite umbrellas in the most colorful colors… a fascinating picture. Directly on the sea there are some campsites and many small bungalows and surf camps. We drove to our recommended place.
After we had visited the campsite, however, our gut feeling did not really want to settle here. We decided to look at two more places before we definitely stayed.
How much we can now rely on our gut feeling became clear only a short time later.
The second place was a dream, we had already decided. For safety, look at the third place again, but it was clear. We stay in Torre De la Peña!!
This was followed by the obligatory walk across the square to find a nice spot for the “thickness”. Here it seemed perfect to us: under trees, space for the hammock, sea view and Morocco. On the way, however, it quickly turned out, just driving on it is not. Somehow we had underestimated the length and height of the “Dicken. The road was suddenly too narrow and the trees were also slightly denser than it looked before. Ok, take a deep breath and let´s go. Three attempts later, the neighbor didn’t even look anymore, then the decision to drive once in the round and then steer straight over the opposite campground straight to our place. But even that wasn’t that easy. We could be heard shouting: Attention tree left, Yes that fits up, Get out now, Stop, Back again, Be careful before, Don’t quite strike, Yes so, But now, in it!
It was clear that often we will not park in and out here in the next two weeks.
We wanted to take so much time, because a kite course or more was on the agenda. But it was different, very different than we thought. As soon as we sat in front of the little chiringuito, which was right in our place, overlooking Morocco and Tinto de Verano in our hand, a windsurfing instructor came into the water with his students.
Hm?!, kids on the board, sail up and zag it went off, looked good and easy, even if it was windy and undulating, as always by the way with very few exceptions. Shouldn’t it be kitesurfing after all?
Just about everyone who came to this place unpacked boards and sails. And it looked more than supple when the neighbors whipped so much over the water. We spoke to the windsurfing instructor Stephane. He proposed to us tomorrow. Said, done, he came by, we learned about the equipment, got the equipment, practiced on land and then it was said, helmet on, safety vest around and down into the water and on the board. Unfortunately this campsite has no sandy beach (more) and so it went over stones and rocks a few meters to the side, at high tide into the water. Crazy, by the way, was not an expression of our feelings. But we wanted to know if that could be for us. So, go. It’s hard to believe, sails pulled up and set off. But then we should turn with the board and that led to some jumps into the water. One of us felt the pulling in the knee and the pain when we fell into the water. The other saw her waving on her board and it was clear that doesn’t look very good. So it was over for the time being. We climbed without a board over the stony rocks to the Chiringuito and the shock was written in our faces.
First of all,cool the knee. Some of the other windsurfers came with anxious enquiries and gave us encouraging advice. After we gave up the neoprene, helmet and life jacket, there was a break for the rest of the day.
Ok, a somewhat bumpy start to a new sport ;).
Luckily, running was still going well, though not well, which raised hopes of a ligament strain.
But the enthusiasm for windsurfing was aroused. What a great sport, we wanted more. One had a break and the other went back on the board. Again with Stephane but on another beach. Valdevaqueros, with 10000000000000000000000000kits, :), but with Caribbean conditions. Infinite sandy beach and crystal clear water. And here things were already going better. There wasn’t that much wind and the turnaround worked.
After two hours in the water we had a coffee with Stephane and met another student of him. As chance would have it, a physiotherapist/osteopatine who showed up at the campsite with her treatment table the following day. You couldn’t imagine it before. And then the hammer, ligament tear and the meniscus is not happy either. Oh no, how long this can take, about four weeks and longer. The dream of windsurfing again in Tarifa seemed to disintegrate. Well, a week ago the fall was already, but another three weeks? We decided to take a rental car, because even cycling was no longer allowed. So we explored the area, drove off fantastic beaches and looked at the surrounding towns, such as Conil de la Frontera.
The bikini was always there, because with the rental car it is fantastic to simply park close to the beach and before or after visiting a city, just jump into the water. What a luxury to always have the sea in sight. Long lying on the beach is often not possible due to the strong wind down here, so it was very often said: bathe, dry briefly and then off for coffee in the chiringuito.
Or off to the boat and with a foundation called firmm to the sea to look out for whales and dolphins and then actually see a sperm whale.
This foundation was founded by a Swiss woman in the 70s and aims to protect the animals in the Strait of Gibraltar.
We left with about 30 other people in the afternoon. Before that there is a small lecture about the region and the whales and then it is for 3 hours to the sea.
First we saw a few sea turtles, which blinked curiously out of the water and were marveled at. We drove on and then it was time. Directly on our boat side starboard a huge sperm whale appeared to disappear quite quickly with the huge whale fin back into the sea. Pure goosebumps. Very close to our boat.
Unfortunately, the Swiss woman had a somewhat sad story about this. This sperm whale turns up here at the boats to ask for help. He was wrapped on his tail fin by a very large fishing net. Unfortunately, no divers could come to him that day, because the wind conditions did not allow it. We continue to hope that he has received help to this day, perhaps even from other dolphins.
On this day we also saw pilot whales and in the evening we returned very happily to our campsite.
A follow-up appointment with Ruth, the physiotherapist was already fixed and we wanted to wait and see what the stand was to decide, joint or separate further windsurfing. BÄM! The exercises, the cooling, the rest periods had done well, the progress was much greater than expected. Maybe not waiting four weeks? The physiotherapist gave hope, a few more days, a check-up and maybe it could start after all. Oh oh, we decided to stay, because by now we had found another surf school where we can even make a basic license, which is also valid in Germany. And so it came, the release came and we could book the course, five days, ten hours in the water and at the end a license! Yippieh!!!!
Well prepared, with meanwhile own wetsuits and surf shoes we arrived at school. It should start at 11 o’clock, so off to the neos, drop things off and go. Mario was our surf instructor and with our already existing knowledge it didn’t quite start from scratch. How nice these short attempts brought us straight away. This surf school is also on the beach of Valdevaqueros and since we still had Levante (east wind), we had to carry our sails first a bit so as not to drift directly towards the dune. Honestly, after that you can take a shower at these summer temperatures, or go to the sea. We did second, after the already known exercises on land. Pick up sails, take up the surf position, hands to the fork tree, wind in the sail. Oha, that whistled quite well. And we were already on our way to the water. Not many surf and kite schools as well as kiters were in the water. Before we got to know each other we surfed the first meters already. Wow, what a feeling and in fact also necks and turns worked. From the beach went well, back, well, we also swam one or the other round with our complete equipment. But at the end of the session, two happy Ankes and an avid surf instructor. He wouldn’t have students doing so well. Proud and k.o. our first basic ticket course day came to an end. 5 days were scheduled and after 6 days was actually exam day. After day 3 we had a break. We needed them. Because on day 2 and 3, we started too well and wanted to do more than was really good for us, besides luck there was frustration, exhaustion, a bit of anger and overwork on our side. Which then unfortunately also, besides a well-demanded and not yet quite fit knee at one, brought with it a damaged shoulder in the other. The break did knee and shoulder well, so that we put days 4 and 5 behind us again with enthusiasm. Even if the knees, shoulders and other bodies already expressed anticipation for the end of the course, we surfed again on the last day, especially on the last day. The surf instructor was so lovely and took photos and videos of us so we could take a great memory with us. We passed the exam with 2 small mistakes and are now proud owners of the VDWS basic certificate Level 2.
And with that ended our extended time in Tarifa. This will remain very much in our hearts, because the small town has enchanted us, the pilot whales and also the sperm whale will be something we will never forget and then this great campsite with such sympathetic people, oh Tarifa, we will come back.