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Old 04-14-2011, 10:34 PM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,697
Default Adventure Travel Kiting?!

Janneke has a dream, she would like to travel to the Bay of Nouadhibou in northern Mauritania with a skilled photographer and experienced kiter to ride among the stark armada of abandoned ships littering the shores of this place. There is WIND here, caps warranted. Western Sahara, more specifically Dahkla the next country to the north is a newly discovered kiting destination. "Kite camps" have popped up and now are well booked in advance in that country. Apparently Internet kiting forums are abuzz in Holland, Germany and France with the wind prospects offered by this section of the African coast.

Mauritania has yet to be opened and for good cause. It is still a conflict zone, heavily impoverished and besieged with other problems. I changed her name for purposes of this article. She is actively looking for a good action photographer and well experienced kiter to come along. If you're interested drop me a line and I'll pass your interest along. Could be a singular trip! Being a woman and Mauritania being a strict islamic state she plans to wear a burka to try to avoid problems.

Lots of abandoned ships are decomposing at points along the bay.
Photo by crondenas

Are there really a lot of ships? Yes, hundreds. How did they get there? This is one version "There is no mystery in how those ships got there,
for years Mauritanian harbor officers were taking bribes and allowing ships to be discarded in the harbor. Discarding a ship is very expensive so during
the years many companies from all over the world got rid of their unwanted ships cheaply in the Bay of Nouadhibou."

Photo by Antonio Gullen

She was taken by some images I posted kiting around the wreck of the Sapona. The imagery that might come out of Mauritania would likely be far more amazing. Still, the Sapona is easily accessible about 60 miles from Miami in the friendly Bahamas. The Bay of Nouadhibou is a different proposition, turbid, streaked with oil slicks, industrial runoff, Al Qa.eda cabals, etc..

Kiting by the Sapona off Bimini, Bahamas

A few other kiters have been here I understand. One even shot an intriguing video, see below. He traveled in over night on a pile of rock in a railway ore car on the QT. Dangerous living.

Thanks to Janneke for telling me about the video.

Aside from some mining and oil interests fishing and agriculture seem to be some of the main livelihoods.

A satellite view of a harbor area

A surface view of the same area

Logistically, such a trip poses some serious hurdles and risks. This is aside from Visa requirements that may exist. There have been numerous terrorists attacks against foreign nationals, including several murders over the years.

There is abundant child slavery for domestic servitude, forced begging and sexual purposes of both genders. In fact up to 20% or 600,000 people have been estimated to be slaves in the country currently.

You are looking at an inexpensive air fare of about 1800 euros and then overland travel from Nouakchott about 500 km to the Bay of Nouadhibou. I guess you could travel through from Dakhla in Western Sahara and travel overland south too although that would call for travel through hazardous areas of Mauritania. Considering things temporary wearing of a burka may not be enough. Using Islamic swimming garb along the lines below may be indicated:

A surreal landscape of sedimentary rock created under the ocean eons ago and now scarred by desert and ocean winds.

It is interesting to take a look at the area in google earth. You can see numerous oil slicks drifting from tanker bunkering areas and grounded wrecks. Most of the images on here came from the panoramio photos embedded in the sat. images.

An abandoned ship at the knife point of land separating the Atlantic from the Bay. Wonder about riding both sides here? There are some massive wave cut cliffs along other parts of the western shore. Could be some major current here at times though.
Photo by bigcarlitos

So where is this place?

Local fishermen waiting by the sea.

Photo by Julio Dominguez

Photo by Maxim MD

Good luck Janneke and all success in your adventure. Looking forward to checking out the images if you are able to make this challenging and dangerous undertaking a reality.

FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by RickI; 04-15-2011 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:19 PM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,697

Kent had a great idea, no wonder there, there have been lots over the years. This one involved a group of boats heading over to the Biminis in the Western Bahamas for diving, kiting, SUP, cookouts and having a great time. The first trip was set up as a dry run and just an over nighter. Gilligan had his three hour tour to make history, we were targeting about 36 hours.

Dawn the day of the trip. There is no wind, forecast good for crossing and diving.

Kent and Paula's 29 ft. "Sleepwalker"

The gang's all here and loading up.

We're off, being trailed by our companion boat for the crossing.

Kent and Garry in the fly bridge for a very nice crossing in excellent summer conditions.

Motoring out of Coconut Grove past Stiltsville via the Biscayne Channel and into the Straits.

Crossing the Straits of Florida in good seas and light breeze.

A short three hours later we head into Bimini Sound with Paula, Alexandra and Maui in the bow beanbag chairs.

Passing by the old Chalks seaplane ramp in Alice Town, North Bimini. There is Tropic Ocean Airways now flying passenger service to Bimini from Miami, FL.

Heading north up Bimini Sound passing Weech's, where we used to dock regularly back in the day.

Alice Town

We are heading up to the Big Game Club to dock and clear Customs.

Chris Quinn moved Bimini Water Sports to the Big Game Marina offering kite, windsurfing, wake boarding, SUP gear and lessons, diving and small boat rentals.

Preparing for the Custom's clearing ordeal, Brian Green, Kent's colleague looks on. We were talking about making entry more tourist friendly than what the process has currently evolved to with seemingly unnecessary redundant forms, long lines at Customs, mandatory shoe requirements (ha, wear your shoes next time Kent!) often resulting in a several hour process. For the major money the Bahamian government has been investing in promoting tourism through the media for years, streamlining/speeding up Customs clearance seems to be a necessary step.

The Big Game hotel and pool area.

Kent with the manager of the Big Game.

Chris, Paula, Garry and Maui hang out by the pool.

The upstair restaurant at the Big Game festooned with Bahamian artwork and classic photos.

North Bimini Beach from Kings Highway.

A panoramic view east across the marina and Bimini Sound from the restaurant deck at the Big Game. You can see Chris' kite rigging platform just to the south of the island in the center of the frame. You can ride in shallow flat water with wind from all directions in that area. CLICK image for full sized photo

Paula, Alex and Maui stroll back to the boat looking good.

So, we load up and head south down the Biminis to Kent's Mystery Island.

We tow divers along the way looking for dinner.

We arrive after a while and approach from the sheltered flats side to anchor. The island is about 1200 ft. long and uninhabited, by people anyway. There is a lot of life there to be sure.

A look at the island, mostly rock with some small sand beaches on the east side and a good sized shipwreck along the northern end.

We need to tender in supplies for dinner and hanging out on the island. Kent paddles a cooler ashore amid rays and a few small sharks swimming through the shallows.

Sunset comes to our island.

Kent and Louie clean the day's catch for dinner. Paula had brought some superlative ceviche makings for the fish. Garry and crew cooked dinner over an open fire and life is good!

I strolled down the beach a bit later on and came across a large loggerhead. She had laid her eggs close to the rocks and was resting on her crawl back to the water. I used to tag these guys and recovered endangered nests in Florida back in high school. Folks enjoyed getting a look at the female on her trip back to the water.

Dawn the next day

We had brought kite gear, thinking if we didn't, perfect 9 m winds would come through. It was to be a calm but beautiful summer island day.

Let's go checkout that wreck off the north end of the island.

The sun is up and the day is on!

Hitting the shallows on the way to the shipwreck.

Kent and Maui paddle around the island to checkout the wreck.

The bow of this as of yet unnamed freighter. The hull is of riveted construction aiding with the dating a little bit. It seemed to be over a 100 ft. long from the plat strewn over the bottom to the southward. The bow at and below the waterline is still somewhat intact with the rest pounded flat.

Nurse sharks are usually pretty docile but this one swam directly at me and slammed into my camera mounted on a Quikpod monopod. It just swam off and didn't linger however.

Paula goes out for a paddle in all that incredible Bahamian flats water.

I swam up on another nurse shark on the wreck for a close shot.

The Marinkovic's have a family moment on the water.

We raise hook and ease around the island to down the Biminis to Riding Rock. You can get a better look at portions of the wreck.

We dove at points along the way.

Louie got a good sized mutton snapper. Kent and Garry did well too.

Paula and Alex head out to explore this incredibly scenic place on an SUP.

Alex in the cut between the western and eastern islands of Riding Rock.

Kent had told me about a swim through further south down the cay. I went looking for it and finally found it. I free dove through the shallow cave and came upon Kent on an SUP on the far side of the island.

Paula and Alexandra hang out with Maui in the background. These ladies put together a very nice Waterlust video recently, "Azul." The video used imagery in part shot on this trip.

"Azul - A Waterlust film about women in water
by Waterlust PLUS 1 week 17 hours ago / via Final Cut Pro
A short film by Paula Marinkovic & Alexandra Menk that explores their aquatic lifestyle.
Shot entirely on GoPro cameras with the Blurfix lens by Snake River Prototyping.
Powered by Adventure Sports Miami."

A look at the small cave, swim through passing from the west to east side of the island. Someday this will be a cut between two islands but for now it is a solution feature in the limestone comprising the island.

Swimming into the cave from the west side. There is this startling red algae just at the cave mouth. I was shooting with two GoPro HD2 cameras in the new Underwater Housings mounted on a Quik Pod monopod to catch things both forward and back.

This is the view heading back west beneath the cay.

The Biminis are a marvelous place!

We pulled anchor to boogie back to Florida before sunset. Kent dropped me for a short time to try to find the wall off Riding Rock. From what little I could see it might be more gradual there at least in shallow water under a couple of hundred feet deep.

Conditions were lake-like on the return crossing, so it went fast. Before we knew it, we're back at Scotty's Landing in Miami.

What a fantastic 36 hours, it really is better in the Bahamas! Thanks to Kent, Paula and all the gang for a great trip.
FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by RickI; 07-13-2012 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 07-26-2012, 05:05 PM
500EPILOT's Avatar
500EPILOT 500EPILOT is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 81

Great photos, you are a great storyteller!
the sky is not the limit, it is my playground
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