Belize Kite Squatching

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.]

Meg Griffiths was out on the island our first week of the season teaching wind-sports. She sent us a report via Belize City!

Waves, windy days, calm days and glorious sunshine; we couldn’t have asked for a better first week on the island, and the Thanksgiving celebrations were pretty fun too…

Surf kayaking in Belize

Everyone got involved in the surf kayaking as the waves built over the first half of the week. 6ft faces on the inside for the guides to show off their awesome paddleboard skills and little waves on the outside for the beginner surf kayakers. The water is super warm, not a wetsuit in sight, boardies all round.

The wind gave us a three perfect kiting days. Our trainer kite sessions with our 2m kite were great fun, everyone got involved. Two of the guys loved it so much they went straight on to a ‘big’ kite lesson; this is the first stage of learning to kiteboard. We head out on our teaching raft to the pristine and incredibly perfect ‘sand flats’ and the students learn to fly a full size kitesurf kite, they get pulled around, learn to get lift and of course how to stop! Davis Farrar of Carbondale, CO said: “It was exhilarating to get the kite in the air and feel the power of the wind as I learned to use the kite to pull me through the water, it was great fun; I highly recommend it.”

Kitesurfing Belize

The windsurfers also got out for some ‘ripping’ sessions on 5 and 6m sails. We have a wide variety of equipment from beginner to expert. Our calm lagoon provides a perfect haven for the newbies while the regular windsurfers were out in deeper water screaming along reaches well over a mile long. I got a couple of great sessions in the strong winds then when the wind dropped to 9m kite weather I hopped on my kite board and demo-ed a few aerial tricks, landed some on my feet others ended in a big splash…so much fun.

Just when we were thinking a nice easy snorkel over the wall would be popular the wind cooperated completely and gave us a completely calm windless day and perfect visibility to check out the ‘wall’ 30ft below, grouper, lobster, lion fish, small sharks and even a turtle.
Turkey and the works was served up for Thanksgiving dinner after cocktails on the surf dock.
Long Caye life…its so great.

(All photos by Bryony Swan.)