Vladimir Popov, who flew to Mauritius in May 2018 to learn kite surfing, also considered the idea to cross this small part of the Indian Ocean. As we discussed our plans, he immediately offered his support with his Sodis Travel Company and decided to be part of the adventure too.
Then he added:
" My son will be part of it too."
" And I am keen too..." - says our favorite student Andrei Greenstein .
" I think this project is awesome, I am in too." - replied Artem Belyaev.
All we need now is to take our Mauritian team mates and see who wants to joins from the Reunion kite club.
We purchased all the necessary equipment, we planned, we trained.
Members of our team got together and downwinded on kites from Kronstadt to the center of St. Petersburg. Thanks to @Kostya's initiative, our team sailed together in the Russian summer, getting a glimpse of what was to follow next.
Back in Mauritius, we organize several test exits to the ocean, training the re-kite on board the Zodiac and the transfer from boat to boat in ocean conditions.
I will not tell all those bureaucratic difficulties which we had to go through. I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Russian embassy in Mauritius, and in particular to the Russian ambassador to Mauritius, Mr. Konstantin Vyacheslavovich Klimovsky, for their invaluable support and assistance in speeding up the process with the Mauritian authorities.
We also had to deal with the French authorities. After a trip to Reunion to finalise the kiting arrangements, we suffered a major set back.
France would not give permission to enter the port of Saint Rose closest to Mauritius. We would need to go through customs procedures prescribed in Port de Galle on the northwestern side of Reunion. Well, this is the decision of the country, it is not discussed. We change the route: We decide to go to the north of Reunion to the wind shadow, then we will load onto the boats and proceed to the port.
Finally, the time has arrived. It is November and All is ready.
We are waiting for the appointed day, constantly watching the forecast.
November 12 - no forecast! November 13th is even worse!!
Then, suddenly, it looks like there is a small chance that the wind might be enough to sail on the 14th! The decision is made, We are off!!
The passports are already stamped on the shore, the first breeze begins to blow.
We pump our kites, 15 size!!
Kostyan and Fred on the kites, the rest of the team on the boat. The Wind off the coast is enough.
Our students! Our pride! More recently, they were students, clumsily maneuvering their kites in the lagoon, now they confidently plow the waters of the open sea!
Suddenly, the wind begins to calmly subside. After 10 am, it becomes so small that it is almost impossible to merge into a downwind. Lanyards sag, kiters fall into the water.
Commander Karlito decides to change the riders. Bob, Fred, Bart take turns and replace each other from the bench.
They are lighter and more skilled! to manoeuver the kite in light wind.
The wind keeps dropping though!! We are almost desperate!! If the wind weakens at least one more knot, we will have to stop the expedition!!
Artem Belyaev encourages us with messages on the radio: - Guys, have passed a third of the way!
- Guys - exactly half!
- Guys, do not give up, just 5 km of water below us!
Kiters with barely flying 15m fought windless weather, not giving up until 14 o'clock, waving and twisting kitetloops like fans. )
- I'll take the gloves next time, - Bob swears.
- Look, in front of a cloud! From under it exactly should blow! - shouts Bart into the radio