Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Skunked! No flights to French Olympic Week

"I got skunked" is a typical way (at least in Maryland) to describe a session of windsurfing that didn't happen. Usually this is due to lack of wind, but sometimes you can be skunked for other reasons. In this case, I'm missing an entire regatta because last week, a giant cloud of volcanic ash descended on Europe.

Map of the spread of the ash cloud (New York Times)

Europe is a complete mess as people unable to get home are fleeing like rats to southern airports, which are the only ones currently still open. Currently, a few more airports are open, but people are making some epic journeys to get home again.

As for me, my flight wasn't cancelled until the morning of my departure date. I ended up going to the Miami airport twice to find another flight. MIA reminded me of the Moscow airport - long, slow lines to the ticketing area with sad-eyed Europeans crushed up against the counters, all waiting for a sign of hope that they would get back home. I waited for a few hours to find the next flight to France (with a variety of carriers) but nothing good was available. The best flight would get me to Hyeres the night before the racing begins. With a high chance of losing my equipment in the travel confusion and a too-short jet lag recovery time, it wasn't worth it for me to push on to the regatta. I revised my plan and will now compete in Medemblik, Netherlands, at the end of May instead of beginning the season with the French regatta.

Here are a few links to articles about the ash cloud:

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