This is our last day, the whirlwind is coming to an end. Last night we had our final dinner with everyone present and in my final parting speech I said something that was absolutely true and yet I still find incredible. I said that usually at the end of one of our trips we (meaning the crew) cannot wait for it to be over so we can take a break. Those trips are usually 6 guests at most. For this one, we’ve had in the neighborhood of 20+ every day. The workload has been trebled or more. Quite a few people are sick (me included), and everyone is exhausted. But I almost collapsed into tears last night at the thought of this one ending. This trip has been amazing on so many levels. Each person has contributed to its success, and the success has had nothing to do with what we set out to do, which was kite waves. Sure, we’re hopeful today we’ll get more time on the water, and yes, we’ve had some kiting and some great waves, but what stands out is the adventure and the people who’ve shared in making it.
We’ve all made new wonderful friends, and we’ve all shared in amazing moments. Rami left us this morning and he was still wearing a perma grin that never left after his amazing kite session several days ago. He inspired every one of us. The boat, now missing Scott Balogh and Rami feels almost vacant, and its not because of the physical space gained, but because of what they contribute to our collective mental health.
We got a late start today, but our swell forecast is the biggest its been, so we know we’re going to find waves. Knowing the classic breaks would be packed with surfers we headed around past Silverbacks (grumbling but still not yet working) to Playa Larga. All the guys willing to take a beating headed for the surf while the rest of us settled in for another amazing dining experience at chez Nico. We arranged for a watertaxi launch to come out to get Raphael and Mika, who were also leaving a bit early on the afternoon flight. I know for a fact that every person on this trip was positively influenced by Raphael. I never even saw him grimace, let alone pout. He’s been at kiting as long as anyone here and yet he’s still like a little kid. He was our introduction to professional kiteboarding back in 2004 on our previous boat in Fiji (some of the footage from this trip is in our promo video), and it was so fantastic to see and work with him again. And to see Mika kite is seeing perfection. At 110 pounds, he’s like watching an acrobat with springs for arms and legs. I can’t say for the others, but for me having them leave was very emotional.
After lunch we headed back around to the Dumps. Our day was looking windlass, our hopes for a final session and some quality footage looking desperate. This was our last shot. On arrival there were maybe 4-5 surfers in the water and a large dark cloud to windward. And the wind, the graceless bitch that it has been, finally begrudgingly arrived. At first no one cared to ackknowledge it. It’s tricked us like this before. But finally Moises and Mauricio and Joao all launched off the boat and we saw our first true wave riding of the trip.
Everyone was psyched and the boys had smiles a mile wide in celebration of getting some of what we came here to find. Mauricio was pulling turns like I’d only seen in videos or read about in magazines, and I was watching it all from the deck of Discovery not a hundred feet away. Ok, so maybe too little, too late, but it was a fine way to bring it home.
To each of you who joined us on this journey, thank you. This week was one of the finest of my life and it will be something I will hold dear forever.