One of the great things about having an island full of sport toys for 10 different sports is no matter what the weather, there’s always something to do. However, if it’s very windy for a long time, the limited options CAN get a bit old. You know the drill, you are stuck on the best island in Belize and you can’t snorkel the 700 patch reefs. Whine.
This is what happened on a recent trip in February where it was windy for days. So, what do you do on a moderately windy norther day for the more adventurous folks who are tired of snorkeling “The Outside”? (In high winds we snorkel the leeward side of the island so that you are in a wind shadow.) Plus it was COLD! (Sixty-five is frigid in Belize.)
So over early coffee in the dining room, we discussed the dilemma. Guests are bored, guides are bored too. Too many boys, so many toys!
Then, it hit us, time to play with SUPsquatch, our Big SUP 18′ long board which is designed to paddle with 4 – 8 people! The original idea was to paddle it out SUP-style, then ride the small rollers back in. This soon morphed into getting towed out to the Horseshoe patchreef, and use one of our kayak parasail kites to bring us back in under wind power. The logistics were discussed, as well as safety and paddler training. The captain was elected – Kyle. The boat driver was suckered in – Charlie. The rope master and anchor master was conned into the play – Carlos. The participants dressed for heavy weather (62-degree wind chill!) It worked! We towed out to the second horseshoe at Angelfish where there is a large, shallow sandy spot to anchor and set up (see our snorkel map to get an idea of the lay of the “land” http://www.slickrock.com/belizesnorkeling.html). They blew back almost as fast as Charlie drove back! But that wasn’t good enough, the hardy group had another, better idea. So Laura, the kitesurf instructor, was coerced out of her woolly stocking hat into water clothes as the power unit for the second run, with a 4-meter trainer kitesurf kite. NOW they were riding the bat… SUP!
The drag out was fine, it took a while to do a kite launch from the water, and they were off with a good wake. Jerry Wylie and Charlie were in the motor boat, Jerry was the paparazzi photographer. He got a lot of good pictures. They made it home in good time, not quite to where they intended, it seems that both Laura and Kyle thought they were steering, but in reality they were fighting each other. So much for crew communication. So, yet another NEW Slickrock sport was born: kite-squatching, course.
[All photos by Jerry Wylie, click on each thumbnail to see the full image.]