Friday 28 April 2017

Kite Boarding in the Marshalls

As you may have gathered if following the blog that we have been dabbling with kite boarding since buying gear in New Zealand last year.  The weather did not cooperate and then our instructor got broken in New Zealand so our three lessons were spread over two months.  In Fiji, we took out the kit a few times but not with any consistency.  Part of the rational for selecting Ailuk was it reputation with kiters.  Ailuk has multiple ideal kiting locations - good land/launch areas and kiting area - and the NE trade winds that blow reliably 15-20 kt almost every day.

Liz detailed our progress previously here and below are some photos culled from the hundreds we took.

Although we were the only boat around most of the time we were fortunate to have advice from a few kiters.   Our brief kite in Aur did not have ideal conditions - 20+ kts , current and multiple jellyfish stings - but it did feature some guidance from Matt on SV Cavalo.  Then after a week or so kiting in Ailuk, Bart from SY Tanquilo arrived.  Bart has done a bit of everything from spending months frozen into the ice to kiting and he was a great help.  Last but not least we had the luxury of on-line coaching from possibly the inspiration of our cruising/kiting : Livia and Carol (aka 'TiFou'  and a former squadron mate of mine in 443 (MH) Squadron) formerly from SV Estrellita and now land-locked in Moose Jaw.

Finally kiting !  Note the water depth - a few inches below the board.

Liz cruising along

and few crashes (okay, a lot of crashes).  Tranquilo in the background.

Trying to catch up to a sailing canoe before demonstrating the superman, over the front, wind yourself, crash technique.

Not always sunny.  Keeping a weather eye towards the squalls as it makes things a bit too exciting when the wind goes over 25 kts quickly.

But usually, it looked like this.

Busy day in Ailuk.  Two kiters !  Bart from Tranquilo showing me how it is done.

There is a lot to learn in kiting.  One skill we needed work on was photographing kiting ...

Oops, too close ...

Not a long commute back to Fluenta

Johnathan flying the 6m2 kite.  We later flew Johnathan as he discovered the "power zone".

Victoria flying the 6m2 kite - with me as ballast.
A satellite image of our main kiting location near Enejelar.  We also kiting half way up the atoll and to windward of  Ailuk village

Set up, coconut gathering/providing and cheerleading team ashore

Benjamin did not mind the beach time.  A fort Victoria made from the beach debris.  Note the hard hat even.

Kites also make great tents.

And finally, a chance to have some calm after the excitement of kiting.

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