Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Tale from a Kitesurfer (by Rodric)

Here is my written assignment for the Snow Bum Contest. I just sent it in. The topic is my most memorable travel experience, between 400-500 words.



A Tale from a Novice Kite Surfer

My most memorable travel experience happened while I was visiting Powell River BC in 2002. I had just finished my contract on a cruise-ship and having read about Powell River with its world class diving I decided to go explore.

Before heading to Canada I had spent a week sailing with my parents through the Danish Fjords and that’s where I first noticed some kite-surfers. Having been a water-sport fanatic all my life, I desperately wanted to try it out. I ran out and bought my first kite. With no knowledge of how to operate a kite but a strong desire to figure it out, I went to Canada with bruises and scrapes and made my way to Powell River.

While exploring the beaches I met a windsurfer named Mark who had lived in the area all his life and knew the conditions well… Perfect! He showed me a place where we could launch.

Mark launched my kite and I took off down the Georgia Straight. Good winds and sun prevailed as I was heading towards Texada Island for the first time, actually holding on and riding successfully. Mark jumped onto his windsurfer and followed me.

Nearing Texada Island I realized I needed to turn around. At that same moment I noticed a large black cone-shaped object about one hundred feet ahead of me appear from nowhere out of the water. My first thought was that it was a submarine telescope due its massive size and shape. Much to my shock, it turned out to be a large killer whale which was now fully out of the water! I stopped the kite from moving forward. This is when knew I was in trouble.

The whole time I was out kiting I had not looked behind myself or downwind. I suddenly realized that I was in the middle of a huge pod of killer whales. By then they were all around me and within touching distance. I decided to drop my kite.

The kite came crashing down, dragging me with it, and landed right in between the whales. I looked at the one hundred feet of line separating me from my kite and began imagining the next thing… being dragged by these whales down the Georgia Straight. (I was not going to let go of my new prized possession!)

After most of the whales had passed, Mark came up and screamed, “Did you see that?!!!!” He then took a good look at the colour of my skin which was slightly paler than usual. (Later on, CBC News confirmed that it was the largest pod sighted in a decade with over 110 killer whales).

Shortly afterwards, a Coast Guard vessel came over and asked if we needed help. Apparently someone had called in about a parachutist who had landed in the Georgia Straight and was surrounded by killer whales. We gladly accepted their assistance.

That night by a campfire on the beach we re-lived the experience many times over.

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