Jan. 17, Day 6, All Pro Invitational, Panama
With 25 people on board an early start is pretty much a given. Erin had the camera out early videoing the people chaos- there were bodies strewn about the galley floor, across the main salon, under and on the cockpit table. We’d had some rain after anchoring, sending everyone off the decks for cover wherever it could be found.
But this morning the skies were filled with blue. And while sleep had been in short supply our crew remained as positive as ever. We pulled anchor and navigated further down into Laguna de Bluefield so those inclined could traverse back over to Cusapin for an early surf. After ferrying everyone to the dock I returned to Discovery to try to make her a little more organized and comfortable. Restock the coolers, hang up all the wet cloths, swab the decks, sweep the cockpit. I looked up at one point and saw Mauricio paddling back to Discovery with two little kids in their canoe. He’d broken his board on his second wave and needed another. Apparently the waves were really heavy, as not long after Wyman came back with another one snapped.
Nico’s been pulling 20 hour days. He gets up at 4 am each day to start baking bread, prepping lunch and dinner. We’re catching a ton of fish (mostly Spanish and King Mackerel) which he’s turning into ceviche, sashimi, indonesian peanut sauced kebabs…I’ve never seen hands move so fast, never thought it was possible to actually feed this many people out of our galley. This was never the plan, we were supposed to be back in port every night but as usual, he rolls with the punches. Everyone came back over per our set time limit at 10:30 am. The waves at Cusapin were killer for surf, but we’re running out of time to get kiting footage and we had to press on.
We headed northwest to CayoAguas where Scott thought we had a chance of a good right with more exposure, and the winds were slowly starting to build. On the way up the winds kept building and I found myself conservatively ecstatic. Would we finally get wind? Alas no. By the time we pulled in the winds had backed back off and there was little to admire but the stunning scenery. We anchored near shore, with 4 hysterical indians waving like crazy to get as close as we could. Morris went to see what the commotion was all about and it turns out they were just a group of dudes in the forest excited to see some company. And they wanted beer, which they correctly figured we had.
From Cayo Aguas we again went in search of wind, this time back up to the Zapatillos. And there, finally we got some. By the time we had most people on the beach it was blowing 15-18 kts, an enormous squall to windward that threatened to shut us down so everyone was moving in high gear.
For the next hour and a half the winds stayed consistent and true. Erik and Jody shot photos from the water, Moehau, Morris (Mauricio), Scott, Wyman, Mika, Raphael, and Joao all finally got some quality water time. But the true celebrity this time out was Rami. We hadn’t really had a chance to see him kite. Well and truly overpowered on his 15m Rami cranked around behind Discovery, throwing down big jumps and some impressive wipeouts with our gallery on board almost shrieking in encouragement. We were all nearly in tears with joy. I’ve seen some inspiring, monumental things on this trip but this moment was Rami’s and Rami’s alone. No leg, no arm, and his other arm severely injured and you would never know it. He handled his kite like a pro and wore a smile a mile wide for the rest of the evening. Unfortunately as the photographers were near the beach we don’t have any pics to document his riding but those in our heads, which I will never, ever forget.