Finding Nemo

Monday, April 25, 2011

Gliding in Paradise

Far away from polluted cold Long Beach

I hovered above the crystal clear green water, my face only a few inches from the surface, fingers dragging happily on the smooth surface.  Below me corals and fish flew by, further out small wind waves crashed against the low-tide reef.  The water inside the reef was calm and I was kiting alone in a stunning bay, with limestone rocks jutting out from the seafloor, the white sand beach in the distance fringed with palms and the bungalows of the kiting schools.  The wind had blown all day, and the rest of the kiters were resting and waiting for their evening session when the wind would pick up even stronger.

strong wind, flat water
But I've found that sometimes light wind can be a pleasure, it doesn't cause excess chop and its generally much smoother than strong gusty winds.  With my foot and lingering knee problems, I was more than happy to just cruise around and take in the beautiful scenery.  But the water was too flat and glassy, and I noticed that the beach boys were watching to make sure I could back up my claims that I was a competent kiter.  I couldn't resist, and soon I was boosting airs, doing little kiteloop transitions, and then bigger backroll kiteloops, and finally I started unhooking and throwing Railey's and S-bends.  It was not the smartest move for a gimp, but I was having the best time I'd had on the entire trip.  The adrenalin was surging in my veins and that goofy happy smile that comes from kiting in a beautiful new place was slapped across my face.

The wind picked up and soon the other kiters roused from their afternoon slumber to join me on the water.  The tide dropped further and the water was only an inch or two deep in many places, glassy as melted butter on a hotplate.  I was overpowered and when I boosted I hung in the air for long seconds ...  In the air the view expanded to the palm tops and the little mountain that formed the north end of the bay.  Its a thing that perhaps only kiters and parasailors experience, but for some weird reason the higher you are the further down in the water you can see.  And on these big floaty boosts I could see the blue-green seafloor as clear as if I was diving on the bottom.

Bolabog Hop
The local shredders came next, it was finally good enough for them to justify the effort to get on the water.  They dropped their set of tricks near the shore for the girls who had come to watch, blocking it from out-of-towners like myself.  But I was a surfer, and was used to locals claiming their turf; it didn't bother me.  I cruised upwind, playing in the little waves and ollie-ing bits of dry reef that popped up unexpectedly in the wave troughs.  A large rock island, in the low-tide like a bulbous mushroom on a narrow stalk, formed a narrow passage that I thought I might be able to traverse if I kept my kite high.  I cruised through carefully and found myself in a whole new bay that was empty of kiters but just as pretty.

The sun began to set, the kiters began to come in.  Reluctantly, I joined them.  It had happened to me again, as it so often does when you travel.  It was another Perfect Day.

1 comment:

  1. sweet! but you know you shouldn't be doing any powered tricks man