Saturday, July 07, 2018

Open Ocean

 I got the opportunity to head to the coast and I jumped on it.  The wind forecast was good, and my duties at home were wrapped up leaving me with a couple of days to roam.  I headed for the closest beach to maximize time on the water: Charleston. 

I sent a text to my friend David, a local to see what his plans were.  He told me to meet him at the southern tip of Folly Island.  The butterflies in my stomach started raging and did so the rest of the day.  I had some trouble eating and was worried about..... everything.   Open ocean, currents, what ifs etc.  Deep breath. 

I followed David's instructions to "drive off the tip of the island" and was greeted with friendly staff at the county park, complete with porta potty, shower and changing stalls,  that I never knew was there! 

We chatted for a minute and started rigging our gear.  David immediately began giving me rigging tips and showed me how to adjust my harness lines.  I've been struggling with this for a while and the change was amazing.  

I grabbed my equipment and followed David out onto the beach.  Dang, I was nervous.  He was going way out on the open ocean.  The swells were in the 3-5 foot range and the wind from the east meaning that we head pretty much straight out.  Nervous.  I beach started and headed out, shaking like a cold wet dog, breathing frantically,  I went out a 1/4 mile, turned still shaking, dropped the sale and struggled to restart.  Holy moly.  

I headed back in to the beach.  I felt like my skills were there but my confidence was not, at all.

We chatted a bit, and after getting some really good advice and encouragement,  I went back to the truck and swapped out my short board for my super stable long board.   Still shaking I headed back out again and BOOM, just like that I was sailing on the open ocean. 

It was pretty amazing being out there in the middle of nothing,  looking back and seeing people as tiny specks on the beach.  I have wanted to do this for a long time and I'm so thankful that God sent David into my path to help me reach this point.  We sailed for 1.5 hrs until David broke his foil.  It was good timing though because my mind was spent and I was hungry! 

We headed to the parking lot, packed up and parted ways.

 The next morning I was up early and since I didn't have anyone to meet up with, I headed to Station 28.5 on Sullivan's Island.  I had sailed here before and was becoming more familiar with the area.  The kiters had all warned me of the ripping currents during the ebb and flow of the tide so I was super cautious.  But today, after conquering fears yesterday, I was a little braver and sailed a little farther out into the channel where the current was supposed to either take me out to sea or take me into the inlet under the bridge. 

Nothing happened.  What, really?  It was fine.  I was powered up, had enough wind, it was fine.  Pretty soon I was ripping back and forth across the inlet.  Long reaches of smooth flat water that turned to small swells as I neared the outer edge where the water was washing over the sandbar at high tied.  This was it,  this is the spot that I have been hoping for for so long.  

The spot also offers the option to head out onto the open ocean.  I didn't go, because I was the only one around for a long time.  Lots of people on the beach but no one windsurfing or kiting.  The crowd did pick up later in the day, but by that time,I was worn slap out and packed up to head home. 
Wow, such an amazing couple of days.  So many questions answered.  So many opportunities opened up.  I cannot wait to get back down there and continue conquering my fears and working on my skills.  I'm  looking forward to the day that I can point past the breakers and enjoy the open ocean swells!  

Can't wait!