I just experienced one of those rare windsurfing opportunities that don’t come up very often on Grand Cayman — wave-sailing on Seven Mile Beach in a Nor’wester (as they call it here).
It happens about as often as the mythical “green flash” at sunset, but when it does, you need to be on the ball to make the most of the conditions.
Typical preparation for this – when you have to go to work for the day – is as follows: load the car the night before with all the necessary kit, get all clothes ready for work, and then hopefully get an early night.
The alarm goes off at 5am, at which point you wonder if it was a good idea to begin with. Drag yourself out of bed, get changed, grab your bags and head out the door.
Once at the beach, it’s still dark, so you try and gauge the wind speed and conditions without being able to see properly.
Rig the kit, and then wait for it to get light and hope your guess was right. If all goes to plan, it all becomes so worth it — when you are out playing in the wind and waves, looking back at the hotels along Seven Mile Beach, grinning like crazy, with the knowledge that you are making use of a rare opportunity.
The windy season in Cayman runs from November through April, and the wind predominantly comes from the north- east at this time of year.
When the United States is getting storms and snow, this is a good thing for us windsurfers in Cayman, as it is just a matter of time before it drifts down our way.
We spend most of our time during these months glued to weather sites, such as WindGuru (www.windguru.cz), hoping that the predictions of upcoming wind are going to be accurate, or that predictions of no wind will turn out NOT to be accurate.
In the end, while all this technology allows a certain amount of accuracy, there’s only one way to find out what the conditions are really doing on the day, and that’s to pack your kit in the car, drive to the beach, and find out for yourself.
(As seen in The Caymanian Weekender on 17th December 2010)