Sunday, December 3, 2017

The UK Blog Awards vote starts now!

The public vote for the UK Blog Awards opens today!

Please click on the link below to vote for Sandboarding Nation, it only takes a minute and I would really appreciate it if you voted! Thank you for your continued support.

https://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/ukba2018/entries/sandboarding-nation

Friday, December 1, 2017

Entering the UK Blog Awards 2018

This year I have entered Sandboarding Nation into the 2018 UK Blog Awards and this year more entries are in than ever before so there is some fierce competition out there!

On Monday 4th December, the public vote will be open so I highly encourage you to vote for this blog as it would mean a lot if I reached the finals! This is my first shot at the UKBA and I hope Sandboarding Nation makes a name for itself; I will publish links on social media pages and the blog on the day the vote opens so please, get voting and thank you all for your continued support!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Top 10 Sandboarding Countries of 2017

I have finally managed to publish this! If you read the blog from time to time you will know that I publish an annual list roundabout November/December listing (in my opinion) the best 10 countries to Sandboard in this year.

I will come clean and admit that the method of research has changed year by year and I should really list why the countries are in such positions, this years' list was determined by the cost of living, crime rate, Internet speed, visa requirements for American and British citizens, their position in the World Happiness Report, and if they are "Free" according to the website Freedom House, which according to my research all the countries on this list were ranked as 'Free'.*

So let's dive in!


#10 South Africa
(appearances: none, previously)

Title: Flag of South Africa. License: Public Domain
At this years' #10 on this list is South Africa! It's the first time that South Africa has appeared on this list and I'm happy it has, the country has seen a surge in tourism recently and the Sandboarding scene is growing at an alarming rate! You can find sand dunes in Mossel Bay, Atlantis, Aston Bay, and Jeffrey's Bay to name a few.

Courtesy of: Winfried Bruenken Title: Dunes, de Hoop Nature Reserve, Western Cape, Southafrica License: CC BY-SA 2.5
From 2000 to 2004, the South African Sandboarding league was established and competitions were held from 2001 until the sport died down in 2004, it was then revived in 2007 and tourism organisations have accepted Sandboarding as an extreme sport in the country. The South African economy has been emerging and because of this, it is one of the members of the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). In recent years and especially after the 2010 World Cup, the country has experienced high crime rates especially amongst rape, assault, and murder, however as the country still struggles with poverty, crime, and unemployment; it has a steadily declining crime rate, an improving life expectancy, and 23 years after the state induced Apartheid things are looking up.

Here's a video from Freewalker South Africa that promotes the scene down there! Be sure to like their Facebook Page too.



Crime Index: 75.72
Cost of Living Index: 43.12
Internet Speed: 4.1 Mbps
World Happiness Report position: 101st
Visa requirement for US citizens: No visa required
Visa requirement for UK citizens: No visa required
Official Languages: English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga and Venda
Currency: South African Rand

#9 Australia
(appearances: 2014, 2015 & 2016)
(last year: 2nd)
(highest place: 1st, 2014)

Title: Flag of Australia License: Public Domain
You're thinking why Australia isn't as high as it used to be... Well the honest answer is the sheer cost of living and strict rules about coming to Australia.

According to the Australian Government: "Arid and semi-arid desert lands make up 70 per cent of mainland Australia." - (Wells, Kathryn. The Australian desert. 2013.) So by this there is plenty of space to find a sand dune suited to your satisfaction; however, if going into the dry wilderness and potentially dying of dehydration; Stockton Beach in New South Wales, Lancelin in Western Australia & Little Sahara on Kangaroo Island, South Australia would be the best places; however as this country is big and the desert making over two thirds, there's no shortage of the dune for you.

Courtesy of: Phanly Title: BigRed.JPG License: CC BY 3.0

According to the International Monetary Fund at the time of writing, the Commonwealth of Australia is the world's 13th largest economy; Australia is known for its strict customs laws, strong accent, nice climate, and stunning beaches (There's actually a rivalry between Bondi Beach and Holywell Bay). Extreme sports are practised very often here so Sandboarding is no exception! Originally belonging to Great Britain (you can probably tell by the Union Jack in the flag and the fact Australians speak English), Australia is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and Australia still recognises Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state, a lot of British tourists would call this place their "home from home" however if it weren't for the expensive costs of living, and strict travel requirements for citizens of some nations then I feel it would have been higher on this list.

Here's a clip of some Sandboarding at Port Stephens in New South Wales from "Go With Me Absolute Toto":



Crime Index: 42.42
Cost of Living Index: 80.66
Internet Speed: 8.2 Mbps
World Happiness Report position: 9th
Visa requirement for US citizens: eVisa Required (Electronic Travel Authorisation)
Visa requirement for UK citizens: No visa required
Official Language: English
Currency: Australian Dollar

 #8 Namibia
(appearances: 2014, 2015 & 2016)
(last year: 3rd)
(highest place: 3rd, 2016)

Title: Flag of Namibia License: Public Domain
Namibia has made an appearance in every year so far, this year was no exception to the Southern African nation!

Personally this is one of my favourite countries and I really would like to visit this place one day; here you'll see the Kalahari desert and dunes in Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Sossusvlei, and the Skeleton Coast close to the Angolan border. There's lots of arid desert here so if you want a Sandboarding nation, this is definitely a good place to go!

Courtesy of: Pcb21 Title: Dune 7 in the Namib Desert License: CC BY-SA 3.0


Namibia was originally known as "South West Africa" when it was a German colony from 1884 and then invaded by the Allied forces in 1915 during the first world war, then after the war it became a mandate of the League of Nations until 1966 where it became a province of South Africa until Namibian independence on the 21st March 1990, ever since Namibia's independence, there's been a boom in the tourism sector and entrepreneurs have been harnessing the power of the dunes that are in the Kalahari & Namib deserts; as for Namibia's low cost of living, welcoming attitude to tourists, and ease of getting into the country; its drawbacks are its crime rate, slow speed of Internet, and there is a "sanitation crisis" according to the UN and this link by the UK government will give you some Sanitation issues which currently are present in Namibia.

Here's a video from Red Bull which shows some enthusiasts Kayaking sand dunes in Namibia, you read correctly: Kayaking.



Crime Index: 63.09
Cost of Living Index: 46.48
Internet Speed: 2 Mbps
World Happiness Report position: 111th
Visa requirement for US citizens: No visa required
Visa requirement for UK citizens: No visa required
Official Language: English
Currency: Namibian Dollar

 #7 Tunisia
(appearances: 2016)
(last year: 8th)
(highest place: 7th, 2017)

Title: Flag of Tunisia License: Public Domain
Tunisia came on this list for the first time last year and it has climbed up the list this year! For a very small country on the top of the African continent, a small portion of the Sahara desert lives here including the Grand Erg (the field of sand dunes), Dunes de Sable and Djerba Island where dunes are plenty; I'm not a fan of the Star Wars franchise, however Darth Vader's hometown is Mos Espa in the Tataouine Governate; in recent years, it has been under threat by sand dunes taking over the town and according to the UK newspaper The Telegraph, it is an ISIL hotspot.


Courtesy of: Jérôme Prax Title: Ksar Ghilane, Tunisia License: Public Domain

According to this article in the New York Times published in 2009, Tunisia is known for its "golden beaches, sunny weather, and affordable luxuries" and if you travel to Tunisia, you get a blend of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East in one location. From what I remember from school, I believe that The Tempest from William Shakespeare mentioned Tunis (the capital of Tunisia) in the work as well. You know what else is in Tunis? The ancient city of Carthage! Carthage is now a modern day suburb of Tunis city, but Carthage has been continuously inhabited since 814 BC when it was founded by the Phoenicians; so if you want Sandboarding, history, more history, and a desert; I'd say come to Tunisia.

Here's a video of a desert tour in Tunisia uploaded by Ben Ali Youssef.



Crime Index: 40.94
Cost of Living Index: 28.74
Internet Speed: 3.1 Mbps
World Happiness Report position: 102nd
Visa requirement for US citizens: No visa required
Visa requirement for UK citizens: No visa required
Official Language: Arabic
Currency: Tunisian Dinar

#6 Peru
(appearances: none, previously)

Title: Flag of Peru License: Public Domain
In all honesty, I feel bad that Peru has not been mentioned in a Top 10 list before but given that I made a report on some dunes in this fascinating country, this couldn't be missed.

Go to Peru and you don't just get Sandboarding, you also get the Norte Chico civilisation, Machu Picchu, Lima, and the Andes Mountains; you can probably tell there's a lot of stuff in Peru, but in terms of Sand dunes you of course have Huacachina, Nasca, Cerro Blanco, and the Sechura desert. There are sand dunes in odd spots across Peru, however most of the Sandboarding is present in Huacachina as it's the most well known, but the second highest sand dune in the world is at Cerro Blanco.

Courtesy of: Diego Delso Title: Dunas de Ica, Perú License: CC BY-SA 4.0
Spain invaded the Incan Empire in 1532, this event was very important in helping Spain colonising the Americas. Peru proclaimed independence in 1821, it was recognised in 1879 and not much has changed since then. You'll find that Peru has a coastal plain on the West side, Lowland jungles near the Amazon Basin in the east side, and separating the two are the rugged Andes mountains in the middle-western past of the nation. Lake Titicaca (the world's highest lake) is shared between Peru and Bolivia. If you want the ruins of an Incan civilisation, mountains, the jungle of the Amazon (also the source), and sandboarding mixed in with it; Peru is your place. Internet isn't too fast in Peru and to my surprise, the crime rate is high, however on this list it is the cheapest place to live.

The below video is a Sandboarding experience in Ica, from Viator.com

 

Crime Index: 63.28
Cost of Living Index: 39.47 (The cheapest on this list)
Internet Speed: 4.5 Mbps
World Happiness Report position: 63rd
Visa requirement for US citizens: No visa required
Visa requirement for UK citizens: No visa required
Official Language: Spanish
Currency: Peruvian Nuevo Sol

 #5 Chile
(appearances: 2014)
(last year: did not appear)
(highest place: 5th, 2017)

Title: Flag of Chile License: Public Domain
If you can remember far back to the 2014, you'll see it came 10th but I have felt that the country has rightfully earned its place in the Top 10 once again for 2017!

Chile is a very narrow country when you look at it on a map but if you go deeper in the map, you'll find the Atacama Desert (one of the driest deserts in the world) and you know what deserts usually mean... Sand! You can find towns and communes where there are sand dunes near it, including hot spots such as Iquique, San Pedro de Atacama, Copiapo, and Reñaca; these towns have dunes next to them or just outside of the towns boundary but still, if your country has a desert then you're gonna find sand dunes all over.

Courtesy of: ogwen Title: San Pedro De Atacama License: CC BY SA 3.0

According to Insightcrime.org, Chile reported the lowest homicide rate in Latin America***. When a lot of people think of Chile they think of Santiago, the fact that the country is on the Nazca and Antarctic tectonic plates so it gets a lot of earthquakes and volcanic activity, so much that in 1960, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded struck Chile, with Valdivia being the most heavily affected city, the earthquake had reached 9.4 to 9.6 on the Moment Magnitude Scale, a good attraction is also Easter Island which is a territory of Chile. Chile has a moderate crime rate, cost of living isn't too bad either so you'll find that your travel money gets you very far, the Internet speed is also the second fastest in South America, after Uruguay. To summarise, this country is progressive, historic, and contains the Atacama desert so this is a Sandboarders' hot spot if you want to see good culture and experience some wild dunes too!

Below is a video of a 2016 Iquique Sandboarding experience by Sandboarding Chile.



Crime Index: 47.50
Cost of Living Index: 50.09
Internet Speed: 6.1 Mbps
World Happiness Report position: 20th
Visa requirement for US citizens: No visa required
Visa requirement for UK citizens: No visa required
Official Language: Spanish
Currency: Chilean Peso

#4 Israel
(appearances: none, previously)

Title: Flag of Israel License: Public Domain
After I went to India with my friend this year, we decided on our next holiday and we both agreed on Israel!

Israel has never appeared on a Top 10 list so far by the blog, so this post will be very different to say the least... the "Holy Land" or simply: Israel, is a very small country but it does have a surprising amount of Sandboarding to offer, in this country you can find Ori's Dunes near the city of Ashdod, and in the Negev desert close to the city of Beersheba; the Negev is a larger desert region so you'll find plenty there. Israel also has sand dunes in some of its beaches including those at Palmachim, Rishon Lezion, and Dor Caesaria. So, Israel doesn't have a lot of specific desert sand dunes and they're more on the beaches but there's more to see than just sand!

Courtesy of: Joseph Vida Title: sand dune, Nature and Colors License: Public Domain
There has been a main reason why Israel hasn't been included on this list in a while, and you can probably figure it out already. The ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine is a potential deterrent for people visiting the region, however Israel's tourism board are doing a fantastic job of promoting all the good bits of Israel including the Dead Sea, the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Dome of the Rock, Tel Aviv, and Masada. Despite many international developments and Israel now being really protective over its people, the country do a good job in keeping its citizens safe from danger. The country of Israel is the 11th happiest in the world and even to my surprise, it is the safest country on this list from crime. History and religion have been embedded in this region for centuries, however sand dunes slip in too.

Below is a video from a trip to Israel in Winter, along with Camels, Bedouins, Sandboarding, and Jerusalem; video from Сергей Нагорный - ПУТЕШЕСТВИЯ И ЖИЗНЬ



Crime Index: 29.01 (The safest on this List)
Cost of Living Index: 77.74
Internet Speed: 11.6 Mbps**
World Happiness Report position: 11th
Visa requirement for US citizens: No visa required
Visa requirement for UK citizens: No visa required
Official Languages: Hebrew & Arabic
Currency: Israeli New Shekel

#3 Spain
(appearances: 2014, 2015 & 2016)
(last year: 5th)
(highest place: 3rd, 2014, 2015 & 2017)

Title: Flag of Spain License: Public Domain
If you've been informed recently, you'll have heard about Catalonia's independence movement in the North East of Spain; however, politics aside this country has been at third place on this list for the third time!

Spain has appeared in every list so far, and it looks like the country won't go higher than third; Sand dunes can be found in Maspalomas, Duna de Bolonia, Sierra Nevada, and Doñana; with some more coastal locations to follow. Spain itself is a warm country with a Mediterranean coast, with a rich culture, fascinating language, and a history that makes many interested in visiting this country that once also had an Empire. Sandboarding in Spain isn't too well known however the sports' presence in the country has grown significantly due to the boom in tourism to the country, but work is still needed to be done.

Courtesy of: Marc Ryckaert Title: Maspalomas (Gran Canaria): the dunes License: CC BY 3.0
According to a report from travelersdigest.com published in 2014: Spain was ranked the 2nd most visited country in Europe, after France with 56,694,000 foreign visitors each year. Spain is a very popular destination because of its beaches, very friendly approach to the English language as many tourist areas will just speak English by default, Plaza de España, Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, and the cities in Spain have their own attractions but they're all equally as interesting in my opinion; as you have: Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Murcia, Granada, Bilbao, Santander, etc... A political side note: Spain is the only country on this list that's a member of the European Union, this means that EU nation members have a common passport (freedom of movement between European nations), a mostly common currency (used by many but not all European Union members) that can be used across borders, and very strict standards in health care, food, safety, residency, education, and other fields that benefit many European as well as Spanish citizens; if you want more information on the European Union, you should read the article I wrote in 2016 by clicking on the link.

Spain is currently let down by its recent political skirmish in Catalonia (a secessionist region), the recent recession that hardly hit Spain, and the fact that there isn't too much of a Sandboarding presence in the country (however, it is growing!); If you want a rich culture, rich history, and a comfortable place to go Sandboarding with some good food, Spain is your destination!

Below is a video of Sandboarding in Fuerteventura from Abel Rincon:




Crime Index: 31.28
Cost of Living Index: 54.98
Internet Speed: 12.1 Mbps
World Happiness Report position: 34th
Visa requirement for US citizens: No visa required
Visa requirement for UK citizens: No visa required (European Union)
Official Language: Spanish
Currency: Euro

#2 New Zealand
(appearances: 2015 & 2016)
(last year: 1st)
(highest place: 1st, 2015 & 2016)

Title: Flag of New Zealand License: Public Domain
After 2 years of New Zealand being the best country to Sandboard on this blog, this year it has been dethroned!

New Zealand is a very peaceful nation, with tons of sheep, the All Blacks, Lord of the Rings, and scenes that will blow your mind in ways you couldn't possibly imagine. New Zealand also has a very popular Sandboarding scene, this is beneficial as New Zealand already is a hot spot for extreme sport enthusiasts including those who like bungee jumping, BASE jumping, surfing, and a lot more sports! You'll find Sandfly Bay in Dunedin, Smails Beach also in Dunedin, Tangimoana, and Mangawhai just to name a few.

Courtesy of: Oren Rozen Title: Sandboarding on the Te Paki Sand Dunes, 90-mile-beach, New Zealand License: CC BY-SA 3.0
New Zealand is known to be the last place to have been discovered, this YouTube video from RealLifeLore will explain. The country was once ruled by the British and it has been referred to as "Australia's Australia", I've done research into what makes New Zealand so popular with thrill seekers, and I believe it's down to the fact that the country hosts a lot of environments into one place (probably why you can find Snowboarding and Sandboarding in the same country) and in a previous article I wrote on the Non-Deadly Dangers of the Dune back in 2016, you'll see my talk about a lot of plants that have the ability to kill you, especially in New Zealand. To summarise: the plants that could blind you are a threat to people and the fact that it's very remote from a lot of countries, however it is offset by being a worldwide hub for thrill seekers and those who want adventure! Low crime, a decent cost of living, the happiest people on this list, and the fact it has an open visa policy for Brits and the Americans makes New Zealand a very worthy contender for the top Sandboarding Nation of 2017.

Below is a video of Extreme Sandboarding from a YouTube show called "Living a Kiwi Life" by Stoked for Saturday:



Crime Index: 38.78
Cost of Living Index: 80.77
Internet Speed: 9.3 Mbps
World Happiness Report position: 8th (The happiest on this list)
Visa requirement for US citizens: No visa required
Visa requirement for UK citizens: No visa required
Official Languages: English, New Zealand Sign Language & Maori
Currency: New Zealand Dollar

There is one country this year that in my opinion is more appealing for sandboarders this year...

 #1 United States
(appearances: 2015 & 2016)
(last year: 4th)
(highest place: 1st, 2017)

Title: Flag of the United States License: Public Domain
There is a common belief amongst Americans that their nation is number one; Well, this year it's also Sandboarding Nation's number one place to go Sandboarding!

Just like New Zealand, there are a lot of environments you can fit into these United States, the 50 states and the territories host a wide range of landscapes and some are even fit for Sandboarding as well! To name a few places with sand dunes, you have the prestigious Sand Master Park, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Reserve, Imperial Sand Dunes in California, Bruneau Sand Dunes State Park in Idaho (also containing the highest sand dune in North America), and I could list more and more as this country is full of Sandboarding recreation areas and they're not just all dotted upon the coastline, also being the 3rd/4th largest country in the world depending on who you ask it's not a shock when you consider the amount of potential spaces you could go for a session in!

Courtesy: U.S. National Park Service Title: Great Sand Dunes National Park and PreserveHikers are dwarfed by the dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park near Alamosa, Great Sand Dunes National Park. License: Public Domain

The U.S. is visited by many tourists from across the world each year, and originally many people wanted to emigrate to the United States so that they could become part of the "American Dream", "The American Dream is the idea that all people can have happy and successful lives if they work hard." - (http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-the-american-dream.htm 28th November 2017). For many years it has been the centre on the global stage for political issues, militaristic issues, economic peaks, economic falls; it seems that no matter where you can be in the world, you will always hear about something that's happening in the United States of America. Sandboarding has been very popular ever since the sport became widespread in the 1960s & 1970s, and I personally think that Lon Beale is one of the "founding fathers" of Sandboarding in America, as he paved the way for Dune Riders International and what I believe competitive sandboarding as we now know it.

Courtesy of: Ljmajer Title: Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, near Reedsport, Oregon, USA License: Public Domain


"In '95 I founded Dune Riders International realizing the necessity for a governing body for this rapidly growing new sport. After much effort the ground work was laid for what would become the world sanctioning body for sandboarding." - (http://www.sandboard.com/pilot/LonBeale/ 28th November 2017)

Outside of Sandboarding and whether you support and resent the current president, you won't find a shortage of Sandboarding or dunes here; and to complement your sport experience, you'll find fast Internet, a cost of living that's not bad at all, a moderate rate of crime but not too alarming, happy citizens, and a worldwide trusted currency this is a good place not just for Sandboarding, but for an overall holiday to remember!

Below I have a YouTube video from Joey Coleman who was trying a never-before experience: Sandboarding!



Crime Index: 48.76
Cost of Living Index: 75.42
Internet Speed: 14.2 Mbps (The fastest on this list)
World Happiness Report position: 14th
Visa requirement for US citizens: None, because you're American.
Visa requirement for UK citizens: No visa required
Official Langauge: None at a federal level but predominantly English
Currency: United States Dollar


2014: Australia
2015: New Zealand
2016: New Zealand
2017: United States

That was the 2017 list of the Top 10 Sandboarding Countries! Be sure to find out what next years' list has in store and thanks to everyone who reads the blog, the followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram who all made this possible; if you haven't follow those accounts already, please do!
 
*Crime Index and Costs of Living are sourced from numbeo.com, Internet Speeds are from fastmetrics.com, Freedom House statistics are from the website freedomhouse.org; all information from these sites was sourced on the 10th November 2017.

**Data checked for Israel Internet Speed on the 13th November 2017 as original figure was incorrect.

***(InSight Crime’s 2015 Latin America Homicide Round-up 24th November 2017)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Back from India + Future Posts

For 2 weeks, I've been away to Goa in India for a short holiday; if you follow the Instagram account for this blog you will have seen me in front of a rickshaw!

Follow me on Instagram: sandboardingnation


Ever since I have came home I have been given a shed load of news and information which I believe is important and crucial in not just Sandboarding but also in general; for example, the sand dunes in Iquique, Chilé are under threat by mining, I discovered (but did not see) sand dunes in the North of India, and I still need to prepare for this years' Top 10 locations list.

One of India's many temples. Instagram: jackletecela


I have also obtained expert blogging advice from newspaper editor José Lourenço whilst I was in India so he could shape my blog, I've read a few of his blogs and it's a good read, I've learnt more about Goa even when I was already back home; I do suggest you have a look at his blogs, he writes on a lot of matters including: Goan Architecture, Short Stories, Photos of Goa, Book Reviews by Children, Skyshots of Goa, and many more as well! if you're an Indophile, like the arts & literature, or just interested in other blogs then José Lourenço is a writer you should keep your eye on.

Some traffic. Instagram: jackletecela
Good news is that me and my friend are planning our next trip already to hopefully go to Israel; this is not confirmed as of yet however who knows I may even do some Sandboarding for a change. Before I conclude this post, if anyone is planning on going to India anytime soon may I suggest going with an empty suitcase as you can buy ALL of your essentials, clothes, gifts, etc... in India as this is cheap as chips and also it assists the local economy, I would definitely come here again however if you need Indian currency, you're better off exchanging at your local market and/or store once at your final arrival destination as local traders will give you a much better rate than at the airport. There's a lot I would fit in this post, none of which is Sandboarding related but I will make a post soon about it.

I saw a coconut fall here, the signs do not lie. Instagram: jackletecela

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Discontinuing Patreon

I'm very pleased of the fact that I had allowed readers to contribute to me via Patreon, however due to the large amount of posting I have to already make to Facebook, Twitter & Instagram accounts, I feel as if Patreon has lost its luster and is less of a social network as of now and more of a social marketing platform; this is also probably because the last time I made a post on Patreon was on New Years' Eve 2016.

Therefore; as of the 31st August 2017, I will no longer be supporting a Patreon page for Sandboarding Nation and all rewards & pages will be deleted.

In the meantime, all rewards have been deleted and for $1 only, you will have a blog post especially for you and you will be mentioned on the Facebook & Twitter pages!

Thank you for your interest and co-operation.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Huacachina, Peru

I woke up this morning and I watched a video on Instagram about the Sandboarding World Cup from desert.expeditions, below the caption read: "Shredding in the Mecca of Sand Sports in Peru" and I thought that I should question that claim; and as I've done a few location based posts before, this shall be another!

When a lot of people think about Peru, they would think of Machu Picchu, Lima, Lake Titicaca, the source of the River Amazon or Paddington Bear; but also there's another sight that's worth going to see not just in Peru but I think in the whole of South America, this place is that notable it's even on Peru's 50 Nuevo Sol banknote; this is the village of Huacachina not too far from the city of Ica in Peru.

Courtesy of: Unukorno Title: Peru, Oasis de Huacachina License: CC BY 3.0
If you look at this village from a map, you'll find that there's only one road to the small village making it appear as if it's a dead end, but just looking at pictures of this place, it looks like something out of a video game; I've never seen a settlement surrounded by sand dunes before and just by seeing pictures and how lively this place looks on videos, I personally would like to go there!

Imagery ©2017 DigitalGlobe, Map data
©2017 Google

The settlement itself is built around a small natural lake in the middle of the desert and the permanent population is roughly only a hundred people and according to Bert Luxing of Survivetravel.com the only things in Huacachina were "a basketball court, residential houses, and a kiosk."*

Bert Luxing in the same article also claimed that "For around 50USD you got to hire snowboards for the day (the type that strap to boots, as opposed to ones where you just slip your feet in) and also a four hour guided dune buggy/sand-boarding tour. You could opt to do either one or the other, and there are many companies in the town offering similar services, but I highly recommend doing both."** If I'm honest, he's sold me the experience! I'd recommend you read the whole article, it's worth the read.

Courtesy of: Ingo Mehling Title: Huacachina and surrounding dunes License: CC BY-SA 3.0
It's not only Huacachina that's interested me whilst I've researched this, If you take a drive about 2 and a half hours south east, you'll end up in Cerro Blanco which is second highest sand dune in the world (after Duna Frederico Kirbus in Argentina); the Huacachina Lagoon is the 9th most popular thing to do in Ica state according to Tripadvisor† and multiple sightseeing tours which include 4x4, quad bike, and sandboarding tours are the 6th most popular attraction in Ica state.


Before you go packing your bags for the next flight to Peru, here are some bits of information which may be handy to visitors:

  • As of the 21st July 2017 $1 USD will get you approximately 3.24 Peruvian Nuevos Soles
  • Citizens of the United States of America and the United Kingdom are allowed into Peru without the need for a visa if they are visiting exclusively for tourism purposes.
  • Feel free to try some coca leaves and/or coca tea in Peru but just don't bring any on the flight home, as Cocaine is present in these leaves and Cocaine is a class A drug in the UK and possession can carry up to a 7 year prison sentence, an unlimited fine, or both.
  • Voltage for electrical appliances in Peru is 220 volts, using plug sockets A and C‡

So desert.expeditions; I've come to the decision that yes, Huacachina is the Mecca of Sand Sports in Peru and you could argue this could also be a worthy contender for the best Sandboarding location in the whole of South America!

*[https://www.survivetravel.com/sandboarding-huacachina-peru/ 21st July 2017]
**[https://www.survivetravel.com/sandboarding-huacachina-peru/ 21st July 2017]
†[https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attractions-g2656690-Activities-Ica_Region.html 21st July 2017]
‡[http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plug-voltage-by-country/ 21st July 2017]

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Contribute to the 2017 Top 10 Countries List!

Every year at around November/December, I make a Top 10 list for the best countries to go Sandboarding in for the year; this year I decided to be democratic about it and thought that I should let you decide on what countries will receive a position on the 2017 list.

I have decided on the statistics by crime rate, costs of living, happiness, etc... In a nutshell, based on figures; but if you believe your country should be on the list then send an e-mail to jack@sandboarding-nation.com, comment on Facebook, send me a message on Instagram, or tweet the account.

Instagram: sandboardingnation
Twitter: sandboardblog
Facebook: Sandboarding Nation

Just let me know which country should be on the list and why you think it should be on it. I'll even thank you personally in the post itself!

Also, the book is going well there are 39 pages of it so far and hopefully at this rate it should be published around March or April 2018, this blog page will be the first port of call for the book's release.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Official Break from Blogging!

This might seem a little pointless because I haven't posted in a long time anyway, but the primary aim of this post is to highlight that I'll be taking a short break from Blogging as I've had to lay a main focus on education, If I'm not in college I'll be working, and if I'm not working I'll be driving, and if I'm not driving I'll be asleep.

Finding another job and doing college on the side has took a huge chunk of my time of which I dedicate to blogging; the website will still be live and I'll be more active on my Facebook and Twitter pages (Facebook mainly). I'll let you know at least a month in advance before this blog will be more active again, in the meantime you all should take a break in reading and think of this as a writers' holiday. Feel free to send me stuff on Facebook, Twitter, Patreon, and on here to let me know of any Sandboarding you've done recently! The best stories and photos will be shared on here!

Thank you for your co-operation and I'll be back here before you know it.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Read This Before Buying a TK102B Tracker

I've been working 48 hours this week and I understand this is "Sandboarding Nation" not "Consumer Advice Nation" but I had to post this as I couldn't have just left a review on a shopping website.

If you own a vehicle, or some expensive equipment, or whatever; you may have used a tracking device to help recover your good(s). A well-known market product of GPS trackers is the "TK102B" tracker which will allow you to place a mobile SIM card inside so whenever you call the tracker, it'll text you back its immediate GPS (or GPRS) location.

I purchased this for about £7 ($8.69 USD as of 19th February 2017) and it arrived about 5 days later in the post; at first, I was happy with this as I had seen this YouTube video before I purchased the tracker and it was very promising! It had texted back the location, it was fast, it had multiple modes, and it was frighteningly accurate! *although this post is nothing to do with the video, just the product.
I purchased a SIM card and put some money on it (the tracker has to send SMS messages and it can't do it for free!) so I could get my location when it was switched on.

Luckily, being the sensible person that I aspire to be; I tested it at home first, I saw that the network the SIM card was registered too had very good signal indoors as well as outdoors, so I called the tracker to see how accurate it was. I didn't get any response after 2 minutes, so I thought I would try again. I finally managed to get a response after the 2nd attempt; bare in mind at this point, I had followed the instructions and initialised the device correctly as I read the instructions and checked them about 4 times over.

TK102B Tracking Device. Courtesy of: Ganymede81 License: CC BY-SA 4.0

When I got a location send to me as co-ordinates, it didn't return my accurate location, nor did it return a vague location. The location I received was Latitude zero, and longitude zero (that point off Africa where the Prime Meridian and the Equator meet). I thought this must have been a fault so I called again, but there wasn't any response from the tracker.

You can text the tracker to check the status of the device and it returns those texts to me just fine and in about 30 seconds, it said the GPS was working, GPRS wasn't but GSM was, and it had a 50% battery life. It took me another 7 or 8 SMS messages for the tracker to give me its location (again).

I turn the tracker off immediately after playing with it, and I thought I'd try again the next day; after 3 text messages, it gave me the same location (latitude zero & longitude zero). I was not happy. I accidentally dropped it after trying to change SIM cards and I couldn't even switch the tracker on because the battery fitting had become loose, so now whenever the tracker moved, the battery would become loose and turn itself off!

TK102 Tracking Device Inside Hardware. Courtesy of: Ganymede81 License: CC BY-SA 4.0


I had one last try at this and so I put some card to help support the battery, it worked fine after some movement and I thought I would check the state of the tracker again. It replied "GPS not working, GPRS not working, GSM working and the battery had fell to 39%" only after texting it 15-20 times in the course of 15 minutes.

I had became very cross and this product didn't work as promised, it was cheaply and poorly made (probably not surprising as it was made in China). I would never buy this product again, I just feel for people who have this product as this may break during an event of emergency. I wouldn't care if I got this product for free as I still would not use it. So as I write this blog post, if you're thinking of using this tracker for your vehicle, sandboarding equipment, camera equipment, or anything that you might find a use for this; I would definitely recommend you not buy this product.