Anson and Devon had one grand kiteboarding adventure on the first day we arrived on Raroia atoll. The weather predictions showed decreasing winds over the following three days, so we put our exhaustion from the passage aside, rounded up the kiteboarding gear, and set out in the dinghy for the nearest beach. The wind was strong enough to get up on the water, but just barely. This meant they couldn’t edge the board to kitesurf on a beam reach to parallel the shore. So off Anson went downwind, looking glorious with the sail dancing through the sky to power him forward. Occasionally he’d sink down in the water then get back up again. Mark helped Devon to launch, buoyed by Anson’s success, and he too managed to get the kite flying and stand up for a few seconds at a time. Then before we knew it, both boys were down and not getting back up. Diego (from Meccetroy, a boat we are sailing with) and I set out in his dinghy for Devon, while Mark journeyed far from land to reach Anson. Devon’s kite had inverted due to the lighter than needed wind, so he bundled everything up as much as possible and worked hard to quell his fear of sharks, while waiting for rescue. Anson had inadvertently entered the buoy field of a pearl farm right as the wind died. He bundled his lines and managed his kite to prevent a macrame nightmare with oyster lines; he too fought the fear of sharks so far from land and all alone in the lagoon, with rescue far, far away. Adrenaline still coursed through his veins from an unintentional surf over a massive coral head. At that point the wind was so light that it took all his kite skills to harness enough power to skim the surface of the water over the flat top of sharp coral only inches below his board’s fins. He worked and prayed and fought to stay upright, and fortunately pulled it off.
Back on land we untangled the lines, dried the kites, and returned to Anthea to crash – no coral cuts, no shark nibbles, and hopes of another day of kiteboarding upon waking. On our second day at Rarioa, with the wind even lighter, Anson had only a short run and Devon even shorter. The ratio of gear management to kiteboarding fun was poor, and we all learned to wait for the wind before attempting more runs. With uncharacteristically light wind thus far, the gear has remained stowed, and Anson and Devon are managing their disappointment (devouring books downloaded on ipads) and diverting their attention to snorkeling, photography, and land exploration in these paradisical atolls where the sun shines and the water sparkles.
(anchored off the village at Makemo atoll)