Monday, January 25, 2010

Have Board, Will Travel (but next time, take them all)

On a family trip to FL...doing the Disney thing. Did some exploring on the way down...checked out some Georgia beaches that I had never been to. I'll get to that in a moment. Lets start with the on-the-water time...

Luckily, I got in some windsurfing on Sunday...started out in Cocoa Beach in front of our beach rental home for light wind wavesailing on my SOS 10'10" SUP board (with mast insert) and 5.4. Wind was side-on 15-20mph with waves that were head high (some bigger). I immediately caught a nice outer bar head high wave for a long back side ride and connected the ride into an inner bar chest high wave all the way in to shore. Went back out for more and got denied on the way out in some big breaking whitewater on the outer bar. The whitewater carried my gear and I all the way into the inner bar....I thought it would never stop. I got seperated from my gear and went for a swim. I found out how I'm not in good ocean swimming shape. Made it to shore...luckily nothing damaged, but was worn out already and the pride was a little hurt. I don't think I could have taken another pounding and long swim.

So I packed it up and headed for Kelly Park/Merritt Island for some intracoastal/sound side windsurfing. Got there and it was blowing 25mph+! I had only packed 2 boards for the SUP board and my 135lt HiFly Madd because all the earlier forecasts said 15mph or so (DOH!). I was wishing for my smaller board. Tinho (Calema Windsurfing - the local shop on the water at Kelly Park) was all out of smaller rental boards. So I rigged my 5.4 again (didn't bring the 4.6 either) and stuck it on my 135lt board (oh my) and pretended I was training for slalom or formula or something. Anyway, overpowered but still very grateful.

My 5.4 handled the overpowered gusts like a champ ('09 Ezzy Wave Panther...loving this sail). The intracoastal water was very warm. I was in a short sleeve 3/2 but could have been in boardshorts. The ocean was colder but I was fine in the 3/2 there. High air temp was almost 80 on Sunday (has been everything from mid 60s to mid 70s rest of the time here). There were a bunch of other windsurfers at Kelly Park (as opposed to a bunch of kiters out in the ocean). Sorry, no pics of the action. I guess it wouldn't have killed me to bring one more board...but I was trying to travel light and nothing indicated stronger winds in the 25mph range. Guess I need to start treating winter in FL like we treat the Outer Banks...bring everything!

Took the family to Disney on Saturday and Universal Studios today (Monday) and was herded like cattle. Actually, it wasn't crowded at all today at Universal...jumped right onto every ride without any waiting. Kids were smiling and having a great time so that was cool. Tons of Brazilians here...I think there was 1 American for every 3 Brazilians at Disney on Saturday and a bunch of them were at Universal today too. Must be their summer vacation.

Anyway, tomorrow maybe SUP surfing before heading home...looks like light offshore wind and thigh to waist high waves.

Now for Georgia. No one in my family, including myself, had ever set foot on any Georgia beaches before, so we decided to check some of them out on the drive down. We stayed in Tybee Island overnight and checked that place out. Then we hit St Simons Island and Jekyll Island before heading on down to FL. All three beaches were very nice with each having its own distinct personality. None had any waves that I saw...but I think it was a flat swell hopefully they see some decent waves now and then because I'd like to spend some more time there.

Tybee Island - felt like what a beach town must have been like in the 50s. Very old school. is winter and was pretty much a ghost town, so I wonder how crowded it gets in the summer. The beach itself was maybe only a mile long. The waistress at the restaurant we ate at, Fannies, told us the town's citizens are all "characters"...sounded like my kind of beach town. This attraction has also brought a bunch of Hollywood folks there...several such as Sandra Bullock, John Travolta, Tom Hanks, and more have houses there. Lots of history there with forts and a lighthouse...Civil War battles over the route to Savannah...interesting stuff.

The kiddos on the Tybee Island pier

Tybee Island lighthouse

St. Simons Island - a bit more upscale and surrounded by golf courses. Nothing against golf, I used to hack the little white ball around myself...still do on occasion...but you get the picture with all the hoity toity crowd there. Still, a very nice village, with a very nice park on the water facing the inlet between St Simons Island and Jekyll Island. It was probably the nicest waterfront park (with kids playground) I've ever seen. The beach was as small as Tybee Island. We happened upon the First St beach area where the "St Simons Surf Sailors" are based. I had heard about this windsurfing club and their private storage area...but didn't know where it was and just happened to drive right up to it by coincidence. I may have to return one day to sail there when the conditions warrant.

WooHoo!! (St Simons Island beach)

St Simons Island Lighthouse

Jekyll Island - Costs you $5 just to drive onto the island. Very quiet and remote. This is probably because of the $5 fee. This apparently used to be the place for millionaires to play back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The old Jekyll Island Beach Club still stands and is some place...and must have really been the place back in the day. Saw the "JP Morgan Indoor Tennis Facility" that was built back in closed and in much need of repair. Not a lot of development and a lot of open beach. If you want a quiet beach...this looks like the place.

Georgia has tons of other beaches and islands but most of them are not developed and only reachable by water, which makes it more interesting and attractive...some potential places to explore in the future perhaps?

Good trip so is having fun enjoying the parks and the beaches, we're having an adventure exploring new places, and daddy is getting some water time too.

Backyard of our beach front rental home for our entire FL stay - not too shabby


Walk from the kitchen into this

Surfs Up Dude!


NC Paddle Surfer said...

Nice. I wish I was there too. Maybe in March well visit the area.

mark said...

Looks like a great road trip! Who had to ride on the roof- the kids or the boards?