Thursday, 21 March 2019

My Trip to Merthyr Mawr

This isn't going to be a particularly large post but on Monday, I took a drive to the nearest sand dune so I could practise some sandboarding; basically, I didn't do any sandboarding as I couldn't have chose a worse day to sandboard here; over the last 2 weeks I had my eyes glued to the weather forecast but still as soon as I arrived over the Welsh border, rain had struck and there were torrential downpours on the way home.

You have to pay for parking here; 1 hour will cost you £1, 2 hours will be £2 and there was also an option to park all-day (over 2 hours) and that would cost you £3.

There are lots of sign posts and I genuinely thought it would be one big dune and just lots of grassland, however there's the "Big Dipper" which is the largest in size by far however if you look in the distance, you'll find beaches with small dune complexes on them as well, this buckets of sand you can see on this site makes Holywell Bay look like a grain in comparison.

The sand was too wet to do proper sandboarding and my best run was only about 2 metres on my new, proper sandboard which I had imported from a seller on eBay; I did however manage to try some jumps and tricks on the high rising dunes on the edges, I've also attached some creative commons images below so you can judge for yourself.

"Big Dipper at Merthyr Mawr" by Jack Soley is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

"Sandboard at Merthyr Mawr" by Jack Soley is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Oh, and unlike Holywell you don't get out of breath so easily as the dune is less steep but the descent is longer; Merthyr Mawr is long and tall where as Holywell is shorter but taller. I'll do a follow up of this original post when I go there on a good day... Preferably in the summer.

Oh and yesterday it was my birthday, but I guess that's not too important here.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Sandboarding Bites #7

Position is key; bend too little, you fall back and be less aerodynamic when going down a dune & bend too much you'll fall in the sand and roll on your face.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Sandboarding Bites #6

Always clean your board regularly, a small piece of grit can cost you time and money if you don't take care of your board.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Sandboarding Bites #5

If you're going down a dune at high speed, always slow down before a bend rather than during.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Chilean Visa Policy & Reciprocity Fee

Since I've published the Iquique article, I've had something that's been on my mind for a while...

That's the fact that I've had conflicting information regarding the payable "Reciprocity Fee" if you wish to enter Chile; if you look on the Iquique article, I'll tell you that only Australians need to pay, but if you look at the Top 10 Sandboarding Countries of 2018, I'll tell you that Australians, Albanians, and Canadians need to pay as well.

As I was sick and tired of receiving conflicting information, the same night I published the article on Iquique, I typed a letter to the Chilean Embassy in London regarding information about visa entry requirements and the applicable reciprocity fee, because if anyone would know with certainty, it would be a government official of Chile (for example, an ambassador).

Yesterday afternoon, I received a letter from the Chilean Embassy in London and this was the response I received:

The link on the document is attached here, and I don't speak the best Spanish but I can verify that it does specifically mention that only Australian nationals have to pay the reciprocity fee at Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (Santiago International Airport) but this also states whether or not you would require a visa or not to visit Chile and what the appropriate cost is for obtaining a visa.

Just want to thank the Chilean Ambassador for making this information clear once and for all, this may change over time but this information is as of 2nd March 2019.