Saturday, February 21, 2009

Living the dream again; brief scare

I tried to kiteboard yesterday for the first time since the injury, and
today I feel great! Yeah! Not only that, but I have pleasant company, my
wife will soon be here, and the wind is predicted to be 25 plus for just
under a week.

The boat is in a very quiet gunkhole, and I am a short dinghy ride from a
nice kiting spot. It is not perfect, because it can be a long way downwind
before you hit land, but it is good, bacause you cannot be blown out to sea.
I have my dinghy there, so I buddied up with another kiter; we each agreed
that if the other was in apparent trouble, we would go ashore, get the
dinghy and render assistance. It was not needed, but nice to have in your
back pocket.

The local kiting crew is very nice to me. They are a fun and outgoing group
of northern Italians who teach on a lake in italy during the summer, and
here in Antigua during the winter. The other kiters are generally crew from
visiting superyachts.

Yesterday, at the end of a long session, my buddy said that he would be
leaving soon, as he was with a group that was doing a downwinder. I asked
the Italian team if they had anyone to take my dinghy downwind, and they
did. I got to do my first downwinder, with a group of about 5 kiters and two
newbies with instructors. It was a lot of fun.

The only scarey moment came when the Italian girl that was to take my dinghy
down wind got confused about the way my outboard shifted gears. I was in the
water about 15 feet away. I had just started the dinghy for her while I was
flying my kite, and she had drifted that far. As I tried to describe how to
use the gear shift, I was siexed by the logical fear that she might just
chop me up with my own propellor if she suddenly backed up at me. I thought
"I am attached to this kite, how will I get away if she panics?". Then I
realized: "wait a minute, I am attached to this kite and it is blowing over
20; I am spder man! I can launch myself out of this whole area if I need
to...I may not land well, but better that then getting run over".

She kept her cool, and followed my directions to turn the motor off. There
was no problem, and no need for a spiderman escape.