Thankfully the winds have returned to The Best Odyssey and we’ve taken advantage of every whiff of them on trip #6. From St Maarten we shot across to the south side of Anguilla for a day on her perfect beaches, then spent a night back at Orient bay on St Maarten before sailing down to St Barths to pick up Ian Huschle, the CEO of Best and the person most responsible for our Best sponsorship. Ian has been sailing his whole life and we looked forward to getting to know him outside our business relationship.
Our guests this trip are Bruce Marks, Steve Rosonke, Brad McDonough, and Cory Wadsworth (who was on trip #2) who would return for just the last few days, after Ian’s departure. With a light SE forecast I decided that rather than spend a full night on St Barths we would sail for Barbuda to take advantage of a better forecast. As Barbuda lied directly SE of St Barths most of the 70 mile trip was a sloshing motor against waves and breeze. But an hour out of Barbuda the winds piped up out of the south and Ian and I raised the sails and cranked at full speed all the way to the anchorage.
Over the next 8 days we would get in 7 days of kiting. Barbuda is nearly vacant this time of year and we had the island practically to ourselves. Steve found the offshore conditions and reef difficult for learning as he was just at the body dragging stage, but we had him up and riding in no time while the rest of us rode as much as we could. I pulled my first series of successful forward rolls and I saw Ian boost some serious airs, while Bruce impressed everyone with his fluid and solid style. Jody and I tried to master gybing a directional surfboard but were only marginally successful.
Nico, our chef is quickly becoming famous amongst our guests. While we understand very little of what he says, his food speaks much louder than words. He didn’t re provision once on this trip and we had a daily orgy of the finest food I’ve ever eaten. When each meal hits the table I am dumbfounded. Tuna sashimi, mahi-mahi steaks in a white wine reduction, Algerian cous cous, duck breast with roasted veggies and magical polenta, filet mignon in a wild mushroom sauce…and of course the cheese plates (Nico is French)! Let’s just say I’m not letting this guy off the boat. I knew we’d get some killer kiting on this expedition. I never dreamed we’d be eating so well, and I’m a bit of a food snob.
I think we’ll be seeing Ian again shortly. It was wonderful for everyone aboard to meet and get to know the man behind the machine that is Best, and also see such a professional businessman relax and enjoy our surroundings so fully. He happily and skillfully handled a barrage of questions and ribs over the days regarding the various facts, rumors, lies and truths that revolve around Best Kiteboarding and all I can say is that I feel we are very lucky to have Best as our sponsor. And I love that their CEO likes to go big!
Ian was replaced on Thursday with Cory, our last day in Barbuda. Cory arrived on the best wind day of the trip and after he’d seen the footage from the Best trip back in March was very keen to give it a go. We finished off the day with a long downwinder, then set sail for Antigua, just 20 miles south.
There’s something about kiting Green Island that is wonderfully satisfying. We felt it here before with Shannon and Clinton and I noticed it again this time. The water color is so inviting and in such contrast to the green hills that surround you it’s hard to be anywhere but playing in the ocean. Luckily the winds kept blowing harder than our forecast and each of us rode for so long on Saturday that we could barely muster an attempt on Sunday, our final day. I for one could barely move. The sun and wind had once again conspired to sap every once of energy we had and a return to port and a bit of rest was welcomed by all.
So we’re back in Antigua again. All the superyachts have left for the Med and this time around English Harbour is a quiet affair. We have 12 days until our next trip, which starts in St Lucia. My sister and her boyfriend will join the crew for our trip south through Guadeloupe, Dominica, and Martinique. Discovery seems a huge ship when there’s so few aboard. But it’s nice to have the space.