In some ways we’re back where it all started. At least this is where it all started on trip number 1 back in February. I can’t believe 6 months have passed. 6 trips, 6 thousand miles (if you include the passage from Italy to Trinidad), 32 kite spots, 15 countries, plenty of memories and smiles. It hasn’t been without its disappointments and hardships of course, but that’s what an expedition is all about. We said goodbye today to Ethan, Rogier, Jason and Bruce and tomorrow we set sail right away again for Trinidad to pick up a couple sails, some frozen goods, then hightail it for Puerto La Cruz in Northern Venezuela to get a short break and get Discovery ready for the rest of the season.
We had the best winds we’ve had on this trip, a month which has typically terminally poor winds. Such is the weather on our planet these days, if anything completely unpredictable. We kited 12 out of 15 days, or at least Kiteboy, aka Rogier did. Some of us were too worn out to go every day, but we all made the best of it we could.
From Union we sailed a short distance south to Curacao to inspect a small island called “Sandy Island” (one of the dozens in the Caribbean) which we’d passed up on the first trip. I’m glad we didn’t this time around. Jody was the only one not to kite because one look was all that was needed to get her climbing harness on and her camera slung over her shoulder. You can probably tell why from the pictures.
It wasn’t all paradise at Sandy Island though. Jason had his first kitemare and got overly friendly with the reef and a few urchins. Luckily Bruce, our resident doc and pain relief provider (he an anaesthetist) took to making Jason squirm a bit, but also saved him from some hellish suffering. Needless to say, “Cankles” was done kiting for the trip! But as always, Nico also came to the rescue with yet another spectacular meal, how he does it, none of us know.
From Curacao we hopped around to Saline Island, a favorite on the first trip, but alas our winds were finally giving out and with the strong currents the kiting was marginal. It’s still a spectacular spot though and Jody and I were happy to get a chance to share it with the others. Bruce managed to pull some sweet waves on a nice left break, more incentive for us to get our surf board riding nailed in the months ahead.
The next day we awoke to some nasty weather, the first hard rain we’d had in months. Strong winds and almost zero visibility drove us from the anchorage and south to Grenada. Eventually we made it to the fishing village of Grenville where Jody arranged for us to witness the rare and endangered Leatherback turtles laying their eggs on Levera beach, one of the kiting beaches we discovered some months ago. Levera is one of only three beaches in the Caribbean that the monster Leatherbacks come to each year, and June is the perfect month to witness their nightly ritual. A local conservation group has been protecting and studying the turtles, (who get as large as volkswagons and can weigh two tons) for the past 5 years. Incredibly they have seen a steady increase in their numbers and learned some amazing facts. For one, they travel as far as Nova Scotia and South Africa between mating seasons, and can dive to 3900 feet! We all really enjoyed the evening and were happy to contribute a small amount to help the prehistoric animals hopefully survive it’s greatest threat, which is of course us.
We had a lazy final day motoring around to Hog Island, at the south end of Grenada, where I had my first tropical Caribbean swim back in February. As always, all good things must end. Bruce has been with us for over two months and will be sorely missed until he rejoins in August, the others we will see next year. For Jody, Nico and I we’ve got a mad dash and a ton of work on the horizon. No rest for the weary.