Dave had found a new way to (a) spend money and (b) hurt himself. Kite Surfing. That is a slightly mean comment as I too may have a go in the future but I want to fully understand and see the number of face plants, drags and splats during a beginners session before committing. Financially and physically!
He’s been wanting to learn for a while. There 4 boats here on Amanu who are out everyday from the back of their boats once the wind is above about 12 knots. More importantly when you’re a complete beginner, there is a kite instructor. Adrian is french, thin and accomplished. He singlehandedly sailed his 28’ monohull from Marseille. Crossing both the Atlantic and the Pacific he left his boat to sail itself while he went kite surfing in the middle of the ocean. Confident that he could kite surf back to his boat and get back on.
His aspiration was to see another sail boat on the horizon, get his kit sorted, kite surf over, maybe jumping over their cockpit for a bit of fun and a full on shock factor. I have to say, if we’d seen a bloke kite surfing in the middle of the pacific, 1000 odd miles from land, I’d have been slightly aghast.
Adrian runs his kite school from his boat. He’s a cool dude, rips about on his foil board occasionally leaping 20 feet in the air then landing like a noisy feather. I’m expecting Dave to need a couple more lessons before he’s a member of the Kiting Red Arrows. Maybe three!?
We have met Henri from the island. His wife runs the school here. She has a sexy bobble hat. It might be 29 or 30C out there in the midday sun but a blue woolly with brown pom-pom works well for her. I had worked out the french in my head to ask about it but then thought again and it was best to say nothing. We also met the mayor who at 18 was the youngest mayor in the whole of France and its overseas territories. He’s now in his third term at the grand old age of 28. He’s a sweet guy, smiles lots and patiently tolerates my improving french.
The boat came in. The last time we bought freshies was before Christmas. The selection was not vast but we got potatoes, apples, oranges, aubergines and carrots. Plus eggs. The boat had no beer. Some ripples of disappointment from the captain!
This morning, we snorkelled the pass into the atoll. We were maybe 10 minutes too late as the tide had just started to come in. Still, we followed the edge of the reef into the body of the atoll and saw two lovely two spotted eagle rays and several chunky white tipped sharks plus loads of fishies. We’ve done a fair bit of snorkelling recently, at Horseshoe Reef where we are currently anchored and at Star Reef in the middle of the atoll.
We’ve heard Star Reef being described as the navel of the atoll. Each atoll has it own naval and holds special associations among the locals. There’s no land, just coral and on the south side an area just about big enough for two boats to anchor carefully in sand. You learn to carefully drop your anchor to avoid the ‘coral bommies’ and then float the chain with fenders to keep it off the coral. Stuff you don’t need to know in Hull.