|Sam is stranded on Monomoy Island with his kite. It's 1 1/2 hours before sunset and light snow is coming down. Air temp is about 30F. Water temp around 35.|
The police officer is very professional. He doesn't say what most people would say in this situation. You guys are stupid. I know he's thinking it. He's more restrained. He asks, "why do you think it's a good idea to go kitesurfing on a day like this?" He asks it three times, apparently not satisfied with our stupid answers.
We had started at First Encounter Beach. The wind died, then shifted. It was supposed to do that.
We drove to Hardings. The wind picked up nicely. It was supposed to do that too.
We kited out to the Monomoy flats. Wind died again. It wasn't supposed to do that. The tide is coming in fast. Oops.
I'm lucky. I have the biggest gear. I walk across the disappearing sand bars and kite back to the mainland. The other 3 guys don't have it so easy.
Frank- Walks across the sand bars, downwinds it to Stage Island, swims across the channel using his kite as a raft. I pull him in on the mainland side. He's tired but fine, worried about the other 2.
Andrey- Stays with Sam for a while but his hybrid drysuit isn't keeping his legs warm enough. He wraps his lines, rests on 1 wing of his kite and rides the current and wind to Stage island. Then the wind picks up enough for him to kite back. He's fine.
Sam- is a great kiter but he has the smallest gear. He starts crossing the sand bars with us but his kite goes in the water and the current slacks the lines. He swims to his kite. He doesn't realize that his foot has snagged some lines. His lines are a hopeless spaghetti mess. He's the furthest away from the mainland and decides that the safest thing to do is go to Monomoy and wait on land. He's plenty warm the whole time.
Frank and I, and the police officer, watch with binoculars from the Monomoy Refuge Station on Stage Island as the Harbor Master gets Sam. The officer is being nice as we thank him profusely. He says, "well, we help folks out around here all the time, just not always on such a cold day."
Afterwards, the four of us numbskulls talk about what worked, what didn't and what we can do better in future catastrophes. Some colorful words come up. There's no consensus but we mostly agree that we should fine tune our risk assessment of Winter conditions. We definitely agree that we don't need to stop Winter kiting altogether. That would be crazy!
Hardings, Kitesurfed, WSW, SW, 12-20, 2-6, 14M Rally/Flx 138, With Frank, Andrey, Sam.
Cape Cod Times Online Article
Click on the aerial photo to see it full size