The weather today turns gray again, and while the mood on board seems forever positive, we’re all feeling the end. Quite a few have succumbed to the long days and short nights to head colds, myself included. Scott thought we might have some luck up near Boca Del Drago as it’s exposed totally to the north and our winds, when they come, usually manifest from this direction.
We motored past the famous breaks at Ponch and the Dumps, which were big and carried on out to the north end of Colon island. We found a small gap in the reef, just wide enough to get the dinghy in through a cauldron of nasty rocks and breaking waves, which made for an interesting ride. I managed to run the gauntlet with the video crew, who set up on a shoreline that was very intimidating. Sharp volcanic rock went from the reef to the trees, no soft sand here. They all stepped gingerly out of the dinghy and hoped the winds would stay up long enough for us to get some riders off the boat.
Back on Discovery Wyman would be our wind dummy. Even though we’ve got the boat launch down to a science, these guys all prefer launching off the beach so it wasn’t without some difficulty that we were able to get Wyman (with crossed lines), Amit, Scott, Raphael, Maurico and Will James off riding. This was Will’s first kite session, and it would last about 40 meters, when the wind died. I’m afraid Blade Kites is not going to get a lot of kiting promotion from this trip…but he’s a hell of a fisherman!
Wyman, if anything had less success, though he did get to ride. Twice he had a go with the reef, and both times you can guess who won. The first time skinned his arms and torso, the second time he went right over the reef on shore but somehow managed to keep from getting hurt, lying on his board for protection in less than 2 inches of water. Thankfully we got his kite, board and broken ego back in the dinghy; and none of them too scathed.
Smartly, Raphael, Amit, Scott and Mauricio headed off downwind towards Bluff Beach, where the break was massive and we all hoped they would be able to get in without getting pounded. It took some time to get the video crew off the rocks and by the time we got underway with Discovery again there were no kites flying.
30 minutes later we arrived Bluff beach and each of the riders had their gear stowed and had been picked up by Scott Balogh with his Panga and Gary Saavedra with the Red Bull Ski. We shuttled everyone aboard and headed around the corner to the Dumps so the boys could get some waves. The Dumps is a well suited name. One of the best breaks in Bocas is also home to the town dump, which is alight 24 hours a day. Interesting smells waft down over an otherwise unblighted landscape of tall jungle and shoreline boulders. Chris, having an off day jumped on a wave and was immediately accosted by a local Rasta who threw water and obscenities at our whole crew for the next hour. Raphael made a funny comment just before we realized the conversation was anything but friendly. “Look at Chris, talking to the locals, it is very nice.” Then we saw the local slapping water in a very un-nice way and we all cracked up.
This show of surfing antics got us all in a conversation about the difference between the attitude of surfing and kitesurfing. I think Michael Behar wrapped it up succinctly when he said “man, surfing sounds gay.” Moehau, who’s no slouch when it comes to catching waves surprised me by agreeing. Luckily there isn’t any ownership of kite spots and so far the people who participate in kiting remain as friendly as this guy was not.
Tomorrow is our last day. It will be our biggest day of swell on the trip, and clearly a lot hinges on getting some wind. Incredibly though I find myself content and relaxed. This has been one of the most amazing weeks of my life. And judging by the smiles and rapport of everyone around me, I think I’m not the only one. We’re all surrounded by greatness, and once again I am reminded that life is so much more than wind and waves. It is about those you surround yourself with, those you share your time with and choose to have in your space. My world, for the next five years is 57 feet long and 30 feet wide and will be shared by a large compliment of people from around the globe. You would think sharing that space with 20+ people for a week would create a hostile atmosphere at best. But the reality is our atmosphere is one of the most positive I’ve ever lived in. I think we’ll all be sad to see it end.