It has always been part of the fun of kiteboarding to ride with wildlife. I have many times had quite close views of gannets, shearwaters, petrels and other seabirds soaring the waves.
Now that I am foiling I am finding the silence of the foil allows me to get within a few metres of birds on the surface, and the upwind performance means I can keep up with the birds in flight.
Over the last couple of days I have done long runs within 5-10 metres of flying gannets and was able to cruise along close behind a fast flying duck. A couple of times birds have crashed into my lines. One gannet took off at the last minute and flew under my bent legs with a squawk.
It's reaching a point where I feel that I should be avoiding the birds so I don't cause stress to them.
Is anyone else having similar experiences with seabirds or other wildlife?
BTW Through surfing (a little), kitesurfing (a lot) and paragliding, I have surfed and swum with whales, seals and dolphins, and flown with vultures and eagles and flocks of other birds. A lot of this has been at local beaches near a major city. The outdoor ocean lifestyle brings rewards that the general public cannot imagine.
Nothing like that feeling when that fin breaks water just beside you.
It's that first second of thinking Shark or Dolphin.
Or those nosey 1500mm wide Stingrays in 300mm of water crossing under your TT.
And with foiling that extra height shows a hellava lot more rays where you used to think were none.
In Mexico during foiling leassons, I had a larger sea bird apparently wind surfing my kite, just over and in front of the LE.
I also sliced and diced a fish I think, I fell after hitting something soft. and had large 50-60 cm long pike sort of fish jump out of water a few meter in front of me.
Yeah it's pretty cool looking around at all the sea life a meter off the water. Haven't seen to many seabirds other than pelicans but have seen plenty of dolphin, rays, sharks, turtles , and fish. Now if I could only mount my GoPro in the right location to catch a lot of it.
I've hit things under the water, but just the other day had my first near miss with a bird. An osprey was flying straight into the wind carrying a very large fish, so I guess he was restricted in his ability to maneuver.
We came into a crossing situation. I was on starboard, but he didn't seem to care. He was completely unphased by me being there. I ducked below him.