Gale-force winds, head-high swells, no board: time to go surfing!
After I had dropped Chris off, the wind turned westerly and stiffened. This was unusual and yet favorable for going out and around the infamous Whale Cay Passage to proceed south. We’d been hearing reports of a sub-tropical system with gale-force winds off to the east of us, but its course had taken it well north. However, as I was about to find out, it produced large ground swells that had been breaking on the barrier reefs. Chris and I were oblivious, since we were on the bank and had been protected. According to occasional comments I had encountered, the breakers seemed manageable on the distant horizon…
As I was nearing the Whale Cay Passage, some solid 8 to 10-foot swells were stacking up against the outgoing tide, and cresting on parts of the bar I had to cross. It got my full attention. I heard a transmission on channel 16 from a skipper looking for info on the Whale. I called back and said I would let him know shortly. He was on a 46-foot trawler and said he’d been in Green Turtle for a week, waiting for the Whale to become safely passable. There were no breakers on the deepestsection of thebar, so I radioed him that thiswas his day. Then, I flew full-sail 25 miles down to Elbow Cay, because this all added up to one thing: epic surf! It was gonna be going off at Garbanzo’s!
Anchored outside White Sound and took the dinghy in to Sea Spray Resort. I walked up the hill to the dunes overlooking the surf break. Offshore wind, head-high waves, crystal clear, glassy blue water, mid-incoming tide, and six people out. Only one little detail was missing. The board! I did not have a surfboard with me! I went looking for my friend, Junior. He’s the dock master at Sea Spray, and I found him in the office. We chatted for a few minutes. I mention the surf was stellar. He knew. His son had been raving, “It’s the best surf of the year”, and Junior was watching him the prior afternoon. Junior did not surf, but I asked, “What are my chances of finding a board to ride?” Junior walked me about 15 feet to the back office, and showed me two new boards he purchased for renting. I grabbed a 7’2″ fun shape, and was paddling out five minutes later. What a treat – still 2 1/2 hours till sunset.
After two days of AM and PM sessions, the swell was on the decline and it was time to move on. Sea spray threw its first Junkanoo festival while I was there: cookout, live bands, limbo, and fire dancers.Met and surfed with John (Capt. of Nesa). We met Jill (an attractive beachcomber) the last morning of the glassy swell. Would like to run into her again, but the wind was shifting favorably for a night sail to Eleuthra. I shoved off.
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