As I get up in ankle deep water, I start to wonder if speed runs this far out, with no other windsurfer in sight, were such a smart idea. I am still a few hundred meters away from the reef, and had done a few runs a bit further upwind, always in deep enough water. Alas, the downwind run had brought me close to a little hut on stilts in the water, which I now assume marks a very shallow spot. Looking at my gear, I notice a long rip in the largest panel of my sail, but everything else looks fine. The sail can be repaired at home, no big deal. I walk out of the shallows and sail back to the shore, still nicely powered despite the rip in the sail. Only a day later will I discover that my boom has suffered, too - one arm is bent, and Naish Hawaii "generously" offers to send a replacement boom for $419 + shipping.
Not noticing the boom damage at first, I switch to a larger board (my Skate 110) and a smaller (5.7) sail, and have fun for another hour or so. However, I now stay near shore, where about 50-80 other windsurfers and the deeper water create lots of chop that's mostly to irregular for chop hops. But being a bit underpowered on a freestyle board has a nice feeling to it.
The next day was only the second day that we did not get any decent winds, so we packed up and left a day early. For me, this was the first time in more than 20 years that I had taken a 3-week vacation. At the end of our typical 7-10 day vacations, leaving usually hurts; but this time, I actually got bored cruising around on my big gear, and was ready to head back home. We had sailed 14 days in a row, with just one day being a light wind day. I had used sails from 4.0 to 8.5, but mostly 5.7-5.8s, and had sailed a total of more than 1000 km (630 miles). With mostly SW and N winds, we never got a day with lots of wind and really flat water for speed runs, or a chance to try the speed strip next to Gull Island. However, conditions for distance sailing were decent, and we set new personal bests for total distance, nautical mile, and 1 hour averages. Not bad, but not quite as much fun as learning new stuff during an ABK Camp. But we did get to meet lots of old friends, and make new friends, always a great thing.
Here are a few pictures from the trip:
A typical Hatteras sunset
View from the balcony
Light wind practice
Nice to see many windsurfers out
Our home for the last week
Lots of dolphins in the ocean
Nina trying to catch a wave
Dean showing how it's done
Sunset paddle with beer