They say for a sailor, wind is more valuable than money. If that’s true, we were filthy, stinking rich when we woke that morning. It was blowing 20-25 knots and gusting in the 30s! If we wanted kiting wind, we certainly got it. It was time, finally to bust out the kites! Phillip and I quickly donned our kiting gear and got out there!
First suit sighting of the trip! Finally!
And … then we cover her right back up! That water was still a little cold, though. There is one thing I do not like to be when I kite, and that is chilly!
Once we were geared up, we headed over to the cove we’d sighted the day before and pumped up!
Phillip took a spin first to see what the conditions were like. He is by far the expert and can usually give a pretty good assessment of whether the wind or conditions are too much for me.
Once we got the kite pumped up and launched, we had a few lookie-loos stop by to see what we were doing. I always get a kick out of what people think about kiting – some examples:
Onlooker says: “Man, I can’t believe you guys are doing that in this wind!”
We think: Well, you kind of NEED wind to kite. We wouldn’t be out here if it wasn’t.
Onlooker says: “I bet you have to be SO strong to not blow away!”
We think: Not really, any lightweight can learn to kite. It’s just about how you fly it.
But, I understand why they’re often so taken and intrigued by it. It is a pretty novel act to watch – powering yourself across the water with a kite. And, Phillip certainly makes it look easy.
Video HERE. (But he always does!) I was chomping at the bit to get out there, but I stood by on the shore, like a faithful kite groupie, snapping pics and footage and fielding questions from the peanut gallery. We had two guys keep coming out in shifts, one then the other, to check us out. Once I struck up a conversation with them, they told me they ran the local tavern there and were taking turns leaving the bar one-manned so the other could come out and watch Phillip kite. They were really captivated by it. We also had a gal from the Gulf County Visitor’s Center, which was right down the road, stop by to snap some pictures. Phillip seems to attract onlookers like the paparazzi. I sometimes feel like his big-shot manager on the shore – “No pictures, please!” But, the Gulf County gal, Kelli, got there just as Phillip was coming in to deliver the bad news. It was really picking up out there – blowing probably 28-30 knots – and Phillip said it was probably too much for me. He could barely hold down the 9 meter kite (our smallest). Unlike money, sometimes the wind is just too much. But, my time would come.
I told the gal from the Visitor’s Center that I had some footage and pictures I could send her as I helped Phillip pack up the gear. She was grateful and told us to stop on by the visitor’s center while we were there for some freebies and good info on the area. We’re always game for good local info and anything free. So, after we got all the kite gear cleaned up, we set out to find the visitor’s center. And, find it we did! They had a great facility there.
Our newest kite groupie – Kelli!
The gals there were really nice and invited us in for a tour of the facility. They told us about the annual scallop festival they host where they send several travel writers out for a day of scalloping in the St. Joseph Bay so they can do a write-up on the festival and the area. Guess who will be coming back in September! Sweet! They also gave us some free samples of Tupelo honey which is made right there in Gulf County. Sweet-ER!
In all, the gals there were very nice and gave us some good tips about motoring the ditch through Lake Wimico, some good anchorages near Carabelle and some lagoons to look out for.
We thanked them for the info, left the facility to stroll around town a bit and stumbled upon The Thirsty Goat. They had some awesome t-shirts there. Thirsty? Get your goat on at The Thirsty Goat. Ummm … yes, please! I snagged one and slipped it on. And, it was some kind of stroke of luck because I had it on when we made to the next stop on our impromptu pub crawl – The Haughty Heron.
I didn’t even think about the fact that I was wearing the competitor’s logo proudly as I strolled around the place, eyeing their t-shirts and almost wishing I’d saved my one “bar shirt buy” for this place!
Haughty or Naughty? “Naughty! And, do you have that in a small?”
But, the cool thing was when the guys came out from the back to help us out and offer a drink, they turned out to be the very same oglers from the kiting cove. THESE were the two blokes who were taking shifts at the tavern to come out and check us out! Recognizing us as the local kiters and spotting my Goat shirt, the owner, Blake, quickly said he wouldn’t stand for it. He hooked me up quick with a good ‘goat cover’ – one of his own Haughty Heron shirts – for free!
He also poured us two free glasses of Healdsburg Ranches merlot to try.
I’ve told you our position on freebies …
In all, it was a very “fruitful” venture. We didn’t even mind that it started dumping buckets as we were walking back to the boat and we got totally, completely head-to-toe soaked. (It certainly didn’t hurt that our ‘spirits’ were nice and high by then … we were literally singing in the rain!). We made a make-shift drying line in the cockpit to hang up our sopping threads and tucked in for the night.
And, friends, while the day was done, I had one more deed yet to do, and I feel I have to share it with you. It’s certainly is a significant milestone in my sailing career and easily a very blog-worthy event as I feel these guys have sort of developed into their own character on the blog over the course of this past year. You’ve seen them time and again, keeping me warm and dry and highly visible in fashionable raincoat yellow. Yes, that’s right, the Gorton’s Fisherman Pants.
The ones, actually, that came with the boat. Plaintiff’s Rest’s previous owner had left them for us, knowing, probably, what a true sailing asset they were.
It was time to say goodbye, though. They were huge and clunky and completely cumbersome to begin with, but I used them all the same because they served their purpose. But now, they had started to flake and crumble and leave little yellow flakes everywhere I went on the boat. We were also coming into summer and they were an extremely hot, constricting foul weather cover. We had picked up some new Frogg Toggs at Port St. Joe, and I had to retire the Gorton’s pants.
So, put on some nostalgic, sentimental song – I recommend Joe Crocker’s raspy theme song to the Wonder Years – With a Little Help From my Friends – as you scroll wistfully through these photos. They certainly were friends to me, and we hated to see them go.
We’ll miss you Gorton’s!