"Kite Surfing Bahamas Trip 2009: It Really Is Better In The Bahamas!"
It was 8:00 on a wednesday morning when my phone rang. Greg, an old friend of Judd's from Montreal, whom i had met during our trip to Hatteras last November, calls to ask what my plans are for the next few days. He and some other Canadian friends had just arrived in Florida and because of the expected forecast he tells me that the wind is supposed to blow in the Bahamas for the next several days.
He then tells me that because of the weather we only have a couple of hours to prepare and that we must leave ASAP! With some hesitation i ask how are we supposed to get there - he tells me on a yacht! then i ask where will we stay?? and he tells me on the yacht! then i ask when will we come back and he says likely on sunday by private jet! Hmmmm - private yacht to the bahamas where it is supposed to be windy then return on a private jet?? OK - sure!!!
Kite Surfing Bahamas Trip 2009: let's kite...
The captain wants us to be ready as soon as possible since the Gulf-stream is getting rougher and rougher making the crossing a little trickier. In a few short hours the boat is fully provisioned and loaded with about 20 kites and a bunch of boards!
The marina situated only five minutes from my house in Delray we leave the dock heading north up the intra-coastal to Palm Beach where we eventually turn east and head out to the open seas. Right away the wind builds as we head towards some big dark clouds! We joke about pumping the kites and crossing on our boards but the lightning soon puts an end to our shenanigans.
The crossing is only 48 nautical miles to "West End" which is the western tip of Grand Bahama Island (Freeport). We arrive in the dark but that is no challenge for the experienced crew of Xanadu!
We wake up thursday morning to a strong easterly wind. the beach is about 150 meters from the dock so after a hearty breakfast we sort through all the gear and head to the beach! On the east side of the marina we have miles upon square miles of shallow turquoise waters!! wrap around the seawall and suddenly we now have mirror like conditions! wow did we have fun carving some serious high speed turns! Most of us were using 7 or 8M kites!
What could be better than an entire day of kiting on warm turquoise waters, laughing it up with friends and then retiring to a nice little boat docked only metres away?? After a nice dinner on the aft deck a good sleep is inevitable!
Kite Surfing Bahamas Trip 2009: forecast so generous
The weather is less cooperative on Friday so some escape the rain by taking scuba diving lessons. Thankfully, the marina had a wifi connection so we were able to stay connected and work for a good part of the day. Late in the afternoon the skies cleared so we decided to go fishing.
Shawn quickly rigged the Intrepid and we headed out to the deep waters. No fish took the bait but mother nature took a serious turn and we had to make our way back to the marina in a 30-40 knot wind with heavy rain!
What a ride that was with huge swells! Not long after arriving back at the dock soaking wet, Bobby and Marc arrive after a short flight from Boca Raton's airport. Unfortunately they were not allowed to land on the airstrip right next to the marina so the cab ride from Freeport took 40 minutes!
A nice steak dinner with a glass of wine and it's off to bed. Hopefully the muscles have time to recover for tomorrow's forecasted 25+ knots!
Kite Surfing Bahamas Trip 2009: Windy and Sunny
Saturday morning is exactly as the captain had predicted. Windy, sunny and perfect for kiting! The wind now SW created a whole new playground for us with big swells breaking on the reef next to the seawall! Thanks to the crew for capturing much of this magnificent day on film!!
The day did have it's challenges, however, with Bobby rolling up his brand new kite in the rollers and a harness failure which saw a brand new SB4 fly away completely unattached:( Luckily it washed up gently on the beach a mile downwind completely unharmed but the sailor was a little worse for wear after having to swim ashore!
Kite Surfing Bahamas Trip 2009: come back by Private Jet
Sunday was another 7 & 8M day but we had to call it quits early enough to get to the airport by 2. The pilot is not just an airman but also a highly skilled underwater seaman that brought us fresh lobster for us to cook up for lunch then it was off to the airport. The luxury of private travel is incredible and something that anyone can instantly get used to! Arrive at the airport, drive up to the plane, load the luggage and go!
In our case we had to pass customs but the only people in the terminal were the agents waiting to send us off!! After comfortably sitting down the engines spool up and in minutes we're airborne. so nice to get a bird's eye view of the bahamian waters and only 25 minutes later we land in Palm Beach.
Kite Surfing Bahamas Trip 2009: conditions
Winter time in Nassau brings strong NNE winds ranging from 12-15 knots and increasing to 25-30 knots during cold fronts. In the summertime the winds shift to SSE with speeds dropping to about 10-12 knots but with a general increase in the afternoons to 15 kts. Besides great weather, The Bahamas is home to some of the most beautiful kite boarding spots in the world, from secluded crystal clear bays to long, wind whipped beaches perfect for down-winders.
With average temps of 70 degrees in winter and 82 in summer, and water temps reaching the low 80’s in the summer and 70’s in winter, The Bahamas is an ideal destination for year-round kite boarding.
Kite Surfing Bahamas Trip 2009: Spots
There are a number of different spots we kite at around the island so what ever the wind direction there is always a spot we can take you. It takes just 1 ½ hours to drive round the whole island so you are never too far from a new beach and it also means you never have to kite at the same spot twice.
All the beaches we kite at have shallow water and sandy bottoms. One particular beach stays shallow for 6 miles out. ( text from thekitehouse.com)
Kite Surfing Bahamas Trip 2009: Speical thanks to Bobby
4 days of kiting with Greg, Tanya, Jean-Francois, Marc et Bobby with generous wind. Saturday morning, we got some pretty waves, even I was kiting with my 07. The thing to bear in mind is that the Bahamas is made up of 600 islands.
At the moment the Bahamas is still waiting to be discovered, however there is so much of it that it will take a while for that to happen. We should be back with all the same crew to do a large downwind and these islands are perfect for that so we stay in touch
Thanks to everyone for a wonderful trip and many many thanks to Bobby for his generosity and warm hospitality!! and for this i'm most grateful for the new friendships
Kite Surfing Bahamas Trip 2009: life is good
Tell me, does life get any better than this?? When my phone rang early Wednesday morning i had no idea what was in store for me! I now understand the saying "it is better in the Bahamas!"