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Latest From Live To Explore

  • Try One of these great Campfire Recipes (SurvivalLife.com)

    Try One of these great Campfire Recipes (SurvivalLife.com)

    Next time you're around a campfire either during an adventure or at home, check out one (or several) of these great campfire recipes from SurvivalLife.com

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    Insulated Tumbler Test | 2017

    Insulated pints/tumblers are currently one of the top buys in the outdoor community, and for good reason. They usually come with a leak-resistant top so they’re great for on the go or around the campfire. Most versions are rated to hold the heat (or cold) for many, many, hours.

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    Review: 1862 David Walley's Resort | Genoa, NV

    Since purchasing a timeshare week at Grand Lodge on Peak 7 in Breckinridge, Colorado about 6 years ago, we’ve had the opportunity to visit quite a few other timeshare resorts around North America. Luckily, our Summer/Fall week at Breckenridge trades quite well, so we usually see some amazing places. During

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This article originally published in Spring 2011 issue of Adventure Insider Magazine.

Google Translate MobileGoogle Translate for iPhone and iPod Touch

Google has had a translate feature on the web for some time but recently Google released a native iPhone/iPod Touch app. The app will allow typed translation of 57 languages of which 15 can be spoken directly into the phone and spoken results are available in 23. The app will also allow displaying the results in full screen so they can be shown to a foreign speaker. The app works very well but the glaring problem is the requirement to have an internet connection. Either wi-fi or cellular data (iPhone only) will work but if you are away from either of those you may be out of luck. One nice feature is the ability to view translation history, even when no internet connection exists. The app just provides an interface to the same data the web based translate uses ensuring that the most current data is used. An Android version of the app is also available. free www.google.com

Honey Stinger Waffle  Honey Stinger Organic Waffles

Last October, Honey Stinger released their new Organic Stinger Waffle. Recommended by Lance Armstrong, a big fan of the stroopwafels sold throughout Europe, and using organic ingredients the Honey Stinger Waffles are a pleasure to eat. The Honey Stinger Waffles have a nice crispy texture with a chewy, honey-y finish. Each waffle packs 160 calories and are by easily one of the best tasting energy sources currently on the market. They are also good as an snack anytime and are pretty good with a cup of coffee or tea. In March Honey Stinger is set to release a vanilla version of the Stinger Waffle. $1.39/ea $22.24/box of 16 www.honeystinger.com

This article originally published in Spring 2011 issue of Adventure Insider Magazine. Feathered Friends, located in Seattle, Washington has been producing high quality down products since 1972. We sat down the Brent Zwiers, the Director of Operations for Feathered Friends and got some insight about the company and how he handles the 9-to-5 grind. Make sure to check out Feathered Friends at http://www.featheredfriends.com Brent Zweirs
AI: Tell us about Feathered Friends. BZ: Feathered Friends was founded in 1972 by Peter and Carol Hickner who still own the business and operate it today. They started essentially in their basement. Carol learned to sew and in the 70's there was an economic downturn. They took their skills and just started making gear for themselves. Their friends found out and started saying 'hey, can you make me this, can you make me that?' so really Feathered Friends was making everything, tents, sleeping bags, jackets, backpacks, anything that needed to be made. Somewhere along the line it was decided that down sleeping bags and jackets were really an avenue they could pursue from a business perspective, but we sold direct to the customer and that's still about 80% of our business. We opened a retail store in 1988 and the rest as they say is history. Today we enjoy a very organic, grassroots following of loyal customers from around the globe. AI: With all the outsourcing occurring these days, talk a little about where your products are made. BZ: About 90-95% of our products are made here in Seattle. Now, we've have to switch it up the past couple of years because we could no longer meet the demand out of our facility and we’ve had difficulty finding skilled sewers. It's not for lack of trying or for economic reasons that we’ve outsourced, it's purely the fact that we couldn't meet the demand. We've moved some of our products to a factory in Vancouver. As far as profit margin is concerned it would be really easy to outsource to Vietnam, or Cambodia, or Laos but some of the people that work for us have worked here for 20 or 30 years, almost as long as the company is old so we feel we have a responsibility to them. They're not just employees, in some ways they're like your family. AI: And what about the options you offer to your customers? BZ: One of the things we allow customers to do is customize items.  So it's not "here's your sleeping bag and it comes in red", you can get it in any color and made of any of the fabrics we have. We try to have standards but if you're willing to wait and maybe pay a little bit extra in terms of a custom fee we'll make it for you. We really try to deliver to the customer's needs. AI: What is on the horizon for Feathered Friends? What should we be looking for? BZ:We're always working on new things. We have a new sleeping bag that we've been working on for the past couple years that has taken a little work to get together but we're getting a lot closer. It's called the Spoonbill. It's a double person alpine bag and has no insulation on the bottom and the two people sleep pretty close but you can save a lot of weight. And in July we launched a new jacket that will be the first new jacket design in about ten years. Feather Friends makes very classic styles so we tend not release new products all that often. It'll be a super-light down sweater called the Daybreak.

Since this interview the Spoonbill has come to market, we will be launching a lightweight jacket called the Jackorak in March and we will also have our first ever women’s specific down jackets. We have a lot of other projects that we are working on and hopefully our customers will see some great new products continue to come to market.

AI: What are your earliest memories of the outdoors? BZ: My parents were both teachers so we used to always be outdoors. They both had summers off so we would always take summer family vacations. Probably my absolute earliest memory is from Oak Grove Park in Iowa where I grew-up, riding in the backpack with my dad. I remember there being this really big rock and you got back as an adult and the rocks really not all that big. I was fortunate I got to travel so much. I've been to all 50 states and almost all the national parks. AI: Do you feel that working here, especially as you move up in the company, precludes you from enjoying getting out as much as you used to? BZ: It's an unfortunate truth that the busier you get in work the less time you have to devote to the outdoors. AI: And how do you deal with that? BZ: My wife and I, instead of trying to go outdoors every single weekend like we used to do we now try to do more scheduled trips. Book off a week and go to Utah and ski or take a trip to the southwest and now we're looking at doing a trip to the Argentina/Chile area. You have to plan a little more, it's not as easy as waking up and asking "Who wants to go to Smith Rock?". AI: What's your favorite activity? BZ: I would say it's a split between sport climbing and skiing. I grew up climbing and then I moved out west and I took up skiing. I never thought it would take over, but as your skills improve and you can deal with the powder it makes it a tough call. AI: What's your favorite crag or mountain? BZ: I love Smith Rock, there is so much variety. You can get down into the basalt you can stay out on the front side. There is so much variety in not just styles but its difficulty. You can get as much as you want. My favorite place to ski is probably Kicking Horse in Golden, BC right near the border. My wife and I also got engaged there so it holds a little sentimental value. AI: I know it's not an easy question but what is your favorite piece of gear? BZ: Wow, that is a tough one. When you have a basement full of gear it's tough to pick one thing. I'm going to have to go with the Feathered Friends Hummingbird sleeping bag. It's been with me for a really long time and it just does everything and covers a very broad spectrum.

This article originally published in Spring 2011 issue of Adventure Insider Magazine. Tracing the Edge

Tracing the Edge

Hot on the heels of the very successful series 'The Season' Fitz Cahall and Bryan Smith are back. This time, working with Patagonia, they have created a nine-episode serious entitled 'Tracing the Edge'. The goal of 'Tracing the Edge' was to follow three athletes and learn about how they got where they are and where they plan to go from there. Gerry Lopez, a pioneer in the pipeline surfing scene in Maui, Hawaii; Colin Haley, who was bugging his mother to drop him off for multi-day trips in the central Cascades long before he could drive; and Krissy Moehl one of the top endurance runners in the world share their passion for what they do. As with 'The Season' the cinematography is stunning (if not a little repetitive), but the true gem in the series is the passion these athletes have for their sport. http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=55194 According to Fitz Cahall, a new series of 'The Season' is set to be released in the Fall of 2011.

Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills
Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills

Originally published in 1960 this text (known colloquially as the 'climber's bible') still deserves a place on your bookshelf today. Mountaineering covers all aspects of climbing from gear selection to rock, mixed alpine, and expedition climbing. Recent editions also cover waterfall climbing, land stewardship, and weather. If you climb or are interested in climbing and don't already have this book this is the one to ask for for the holidays. Mountaineering grew out of a number of outlines used to teach a mountaineering course in the mid-forties all assembled called the 'Climber's Notebook'. Numerous changes in mountaineering equipment and techniques stemming from WWII outgrew the 'Climber's Notebook' and today the 8th edition of Mountaineering includes changes and updates from over 40 active climbers and educators. It's the culmination of hundreds of authors' contributions and decades in the making. Whether you're just learning or reviewing skills before a big climb this book deserves to be at the top of your list. It will no doubt become a well read and annotated book in your library. http://www.mountaineersbooks.org/

127 Hours
127 Hours

This reently released movie is based on Aron Ralston's  book Between a Rock and a Hard Place. For those not familiar with the book, Ralston was trapped after a chock stone fell and pinned his arm during a solo hike through Blue John Canyon in Utah. After a grueling, you guessed it, 127 hours, Aron broke his radius and ulna and amputated his own arm with a cheap multi-tool. He still wasn't out of the woods. He faced a 65 foot rappel and a trek back to his truck. After the rappel he stumbled upon a family out for a hike who summoned help. He was later rescued by helicopter. The tale is an incredible story of survival. And, although the movie was good, I vastly prefer the book. I do understand the challenge of filling an entire movie with what essentially amounts to 127 hours of being trapped in one place. Ralston's hallucinations helped fill in much of the back story, but the rest was a lot of barely coherent mumbling that did little but detract from the truly amazing and inspirational story of Ralston's fight to survive. http://www.foxsearchlight.com/127hours/
This article originally published in Spring 2011 issue of Adventure Insider Magazine. After my recent visit to The Bahamas, I realized that too many people may hear the name “The Bahamas” and automatically visualize the grandiose, Vegas-like Atlantis super-complex on Paradise Island or an easily forgettable stop in the port of Nassau during a Caribbean cruise. These people are greatly mistaken and (unfortunately) uninformed about overly-friendly residents and unique character of The Bahamas and its 700 islands and cays.  Once port visitors venture past the strip of duty-free shopping on Bay Street, they will find Nassau's true identity bursting at the seams with its rich history defined by its unique landscape, colonial architecture, evidence and stories of pirates and 18th century explorers and true Bahamian culture. For first-time visitors, Nassau is a great way to begin your exploration of the Bahamas.  With countless historical landmarks, beautiful colonial  buildings and pristine beaches, one could happily spend days sightseeing.  A great way to see Nassau’s true natural beauty is by chartering a boat to explore the coast and nearby islands.  Captain Ryan Russell at High Seas Excursions (http://highseasbahamas.com) can provide a personalized trip off the coast of Nassau, whether its fishing, snorkeling or discovering private beaches on remote islands.  His intimate knowledge of the surrounding islands and extremely kind, laid back crew will provide an adventure that guests will not forget.  Nassau also provides the perfect setting to begin the exploration of the maritime Bahamian cuisine, which is essential to the backbone of Bahamian culture.  Residents pride themselves on serving some of the freshest seafood in the world.  Here, conch reigns supreme with Caribbean lobster running a close second.  If you are in Nassau during the weekend, inquire about the Fish Fry, a notorious community gathering dedicated to eating local cuisine and meeting new people. Much of the essence of Nassau, past and present, is captured at the Graycliff Hotel (http://www.graycliff.com).  This exquisite colonial building turned perfect vacation getaway was originally built in 1740 by Captain John Howard Graysmith, a pirate of the Caribbean.  The establishment’s extremely gregarious, hospitable proprietor and welcoming staff will show you 5 star living within its nearly 300 year old property.  Relax with a bottle (or two) of wine and a cigar in the lobby (which could pass as a James Bond movie set) and spark conversation with first jolly Italian gentleman with a necklace made of gold shipwreck treasure.  There is only one, and his name is Enrico.  If you get him on the right day, be prepared to stay up until early hours of the morning listening to stories of his former life as a Ferrari race car driver and international bachelor.  Guests who are lucky enough to experience Enrico’s overly animated storytelling can be guaranteed a sore stomach the next morning from the hours of convulsive laughter through the night. The Greycliff now boasts the third largest privately owned wine cellar in the world, a cigar factory and one of the county's only 5 star restaurants.  The wine cellar, a former prison, holds some of the rarest wines in the world including Bordeaux wines predating World War II, as well as the oldest registered bottle of wine, a 1727 German Riesling.  The Greycliff Cigar Company has become one of the most recognized name in fine cigars.  Guests at the Greycliff are able to tour the cigar factory, witness the magical process of cigar rolling and even try to roll their own.  At the Greycliff Restaurant the chefs expertly and harmoniously blend Bahamian, French and Italian cuisines to create one of the most exquisite fine-dining experiences in the Bahamas.  There are few places in the world where one can learn to roll a cigar, tour one of the rarest collections of wines in the world and enjoy a lobster cappuccino.  The Greycliff Hotel is a historical landmark and a must-see destination for anyone who sets foot in Nassau.

Now for adventure!

Nearly 23 out of 700 islands are inhabited, which leaves a lot of room to explore.  Most larger islands and even several cays have airports, and further exploration can be done via boat.  With vast areas of reef, James Bond-inspiring landscapes, unique geological structures and rich fisheries, The Bahamas provide any type of outdoor adventure that you can think of including, spear fishing for lobster and grouper, scuba diving on unexplored reefs or blue holes, trekking through uninhabited islands and even surfing on the outer islands. One of the best ways to begin a tour of the Bahamian Islands is by flying into Exuma, also called the Pearl of the Bahamas, via Sky Bahamas or any other Bahamian airline.  The Exumas are a tropical paradise made of a chain of 365 cays and islands stretching over 100 miles with two major islands, Great Exuma and Little Exuma.  The northern tip is located 35 miles southeast of Nassau.  The Exumas offer hundreds of miles of empty, pristine white-sand beaches, an over-abundance of marine activities and spectacular geological structures.  The bright aquamarine water is so intensely colorful that it turns the clouds blue.  The islands are dotted with towns of historical importance that were settled during England’s colonial rule as commerce hubs or plantation settlements.  The Exumas’ culture exemplifies Bahamian lifestyle on the outer islands.  The landscape dictates the way of life.  Residents are easy-going and say that they would not live anywhere else in the world.  Many catch their food from the sea daily and have a visceral connection to the delicate marine ecosystem. The best way to experience The Exumas’ adventures to the fullest potential is by chartering a boat to the northern islands and cays with Captain Pat Smith at Four C’s Adventures (http://www.exumawatertours.com/).  Capt. Pat will have his boat ready to launch when you reach Baraterre, located at the northern tip of Greater Exuma.  After you have made it this far, it's your marine playground.  Here, the true adventure begins. During the full day excursion, Capt. Pat navigates north through crystal clear waters passing untouched beaches and celebrity-owned islands.  Passengers can request to stop the boat to explore anything they desire including islands, reefs, sandbars or perhaps dock at locally owned bar along the way to chat with the locals about day-to-day life in the islands and cays.  As a member of a guided tour, visitors are able to participate in some of the most Bahamian of activities, diving for conch and spearfishing for lobster.  Guides have the local knowledge to ensure a successful hunt resulting in the most rewarding meals of a lifetime.  Conch is a staple in the Bahamian diet, and conch salad is the most celebrated dish.  Once lunch is caught, Capt. Pat will boat to a sandbar that rises from the middle of the sea.  Then, he expertly butchers the conch and dices onions, tomatoes, green bell peppers and chiles.  Add fresh lime juice, orange juice and sea salt and lunch is served. Staniel Cay provides a great base to explore the northern part of the Exumas.  In fact, it is so perfectly positioned that it provided the base for the filming of the 1965 James Bond movie, Thunderball.  Accommodations, boat rentals and kayak rentals are available at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club (www.stanielcay.com).  Only a two minute boat ride from the Staniel Cay Yacht Club is the infamous Thunderball Grotto, an underwater cave saturated with tropical marine life and breathtaking underwater geological features.  Be sure to bring a waterproof camera.  If you are thrill-seeking and the tide is high enough, climb to the top of the cave (bring booties) and take the 20 foot plummet through the narrow hole at its peak. Staniel Cay is a scuba diver’s paradise.  Located just a short boat ride north, the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park offers 176 square miles of wildlife reserve and national park.  The PADI dive center on the island, Staniel Cay Divers (http://www.stanielcaydivers.com) can guide divers to a range of sights -- from a relaxing drift dive for those looking to become certified to a technical deep water dive for the highly experienced.  The adventurous owner/divemaster of Staniel Cay divers prides himself for quality over quantity, so crowds on the boar are never an issue.  With countless dive spots never visited, the possibilities for new exploration are nearly endless.   Danger Bay, located within the nature refuge proved to be a great dive.  The dive begins with a 40 foot descent with reef sharks circling.  After the descent, divers tour of the underwater coral maze teeming with eels, lion fish, lobsters, tropical fish and conch.   After about 30 minutes of swimming through small caves and under overhanging coral structures the dive path winds back around to the boat where the sharks surround one last time.  Divers of all levels are guaranteed to be pleased with the dive opportunities just a short boat ride from Staniel Cay, weather permitting.  The PADI dive center is extremely accommodating and will find the right dive for any level of experience. Although exploring the Thunderball Grotto and the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park provides the most the most adventurous experience around Staniel Cay, other locations can provide relaxing entertainment.  Boaters can dock at nearby Compass Cay to swim with the island’s friendly nurse shark population or just pet them from the dock.  Visitors can also find the swimming pigs of Big Major Cay.  The geographic misplacement and unorthodox activities of the pigs has captured the fascination of visitors.  Whether the pigs were brought intentionally as a food source or escaped a sinking vessel, the pigs have created a remote colony in the middle of the Exumas. After exploring the northern cays and islands, Greater Exuma and Little Exuma offer visitors plenty of opportunities for rest and relaxation.  A day with OFF Island Adventures (www.offislandadventures.com) is the perfect way to finish an adventurous tour around the Exumas.  Captain Steve’s laid-back, educational tour around Elizabeth Harbour is breathtaking.  The 6th generation Bahamian will point out amazing rock structures, blue holes and world famous sandbars that attract top fashion icons for photo shoots, as well as the filming of the blockbusters, Pirates of the Caribbean II and III.  As lunch time approaches or thirst sets in, ask Capt. Steve to stop by Chat N Chill on Stocking Island (http://www.chatnchill.com).  The restaurant is off the beaten path and only accessible by boat.  Public transportation is available by water taxi from the Government Dock in Georgetown.  Chat N Chill epitomizes a tropical destination bar and grill.  It is a great place to mingle with locals, play volleyball with new friends or find a secluded spot on the restaurant’s expansive beachfront property.  If feeling particularly indigenous, order the famous Bahamian Goombay Smash and a conch burger.  Do not miss out on the island’s pig roast every Sunday at noon; however, great food, drinks and conversation are guaranteed on any given day.  For those feeling overly hedonistic, the Sandals Emerald Bay Resort and Spa (http://www.sandals.com/main/emerald/em-spa.cfm) offers a range of services designed to soothe mind and body.  The deep tissue sports massage can be quite useful after snorkeling for dinner, diving with sharks and day-long boat excursions. After touring Nassau and The Exumas by land and sea, it is clear to me why Bahamians love their way of life.  The country’s unique landscape and colonial history have shaped its people and culture.  Bahamians depend on the vulnerable marine ecosystem as a food source and as an attraction for their thriving tourism industry.  This respect for the sea and its gifts drives a nationwide respect for not only natural resources but for neighbors as well. The result is a nation with a low domestic crime rate and minimal environmental exploitation.  The Bahamian people and their land are welcoming and hospitable.  The love of their country is unwavering and infectious.

Must-Do List:

  • Dive in Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park in northern Exumas
  • Visit the Greycliff Hotel, Restaurant, Wine Cellar and Cigar Company in Nassau
  • Snorkel for conch and make your own conch salad
  • Visit Chat N Chill (best on Sundays) on Stocking Island
  • Explore the Thunderball Grotto just north of Staniel Cay
  • Order lobster at Santana’s Bar and Grill in Williamstown, Little Exuma

About Jonas Ahern

Jonas AhernJonas grew up in southern Delaware, coastal Maryland, and central Florida and attended the University of Florida.  While earning a B.A. in History and a B.S. in Zoology, he discovered his love of travel, wine, craft beer and home brewing.  During his study abroad in Sydney, Australia he became hooked on adventure travel.  He backpacked through the Tasmanian wilderness, studied reef ecology on a small island in the Great Barrier Reef and endlessly searched for new and remote surf spots up and down the east coast of Australia. After graduating from college, his obsession with adventure inspired him to pack up and drive cross country. He worked seasonally for two years between wineries in Northern California and a ski resort in Vail, Colorado.  He now lives in New York City and works as a craft beer and wine specialist.
This article originally published in Spring 2011 issue of Adventure Insider Magazine. Learning to fly
Devyani, the PR rep for The Four Seasons on Exuma, Bahamas, (now Sandals Emerald Bay) dodged the erratic trainer kite I was learning to fly on the white sand bordering the bay. I hadn’t yet learned to control the wind within its broad canvas, and she happened to be in my kite’s path of destruction. After feebly trying to steer the kite anywhere but at the hapless PR rep and screaming because it wasn’t working, the kite caught a huge gust and bore down, sending Devyani tumbling onto the sand. She escaped injury, but I realized then that I might not be the kiteboarding prodigy I’d expected to be. The sport initially appealed to me because as a publicist for The Bahamas, I was always on the lookout for new angles to pitch to writers. When I first heard about Exuma Kitesurfing (pronounced ex-zooma), I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to introduce some adventurous journalists to both the sport and the destination. I’d recently completed a similar trip with a group of novice scuba divers, so I was enjoying my status as the official adventure publicist back at the office. I’m the first to admit that I am more “up for anything” than “capable of anything,” so I was a little worried that despite my new reputation as the adventure guru, I might not be cut out for this new endeavor. Most of the kiteboarders I’d met had a background in a board sport – surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing or snowboarding. A year earlier, I’d surfed for the first time in Hawaii; however I was far from considering myself a “surfer.” Would the learning curve be too steep? Gary explaining the wind window
I brushed doubt aside and decided to go for it. From what I’d read, there’s no better place to learn than The Exuma Islands in The Bahamas, and I’m not saying that just because I used to represent them. Located in the southern Bahamas, Exuma’s water is shallow, warm and crystal clear, the wind and weather conditions are ideal and the instructors are IKO and PASA certified. Exuma is blissfully uncrowded, so jockeying for space and avoiding swimmers and other kiters is not an issue. Most of the time, you have entire bays to yourself to practice. Plus, there’s always a cold Kalik and a buttery Bahamian rock lobster to be consumed at the end of a day on the water. It’s kitesurfing nirvana! Exuma Kitesurfing caters to small groups like ours, so we each received plenty of attentive instruction from Gary Sweeting, who founded the school in 2007. During the off-season, Gary is a graphic designer but as you might expect, his passion is kiteboarding. When I called Gary to plan the trip, he said he could teach anyone with a desire to learn and a moderate level of physical fitness. After taking lessons from him for three days, I couldn’t agree more. All of the other participants, from a seasoned windsurfer to a first-timer just like me, progressed as expected. Luckily, I was the only one who crashed the trainer kite into a beachgoer. On our first day, we spent some quality time with Gary in the classroom, a patio right on the beach. We learned theory, how to determine wind direction and quality and the all-important release technique. At that point, everyone had seen the clip on YouTube where a kiteboarder was lifted by a gust out of the water and into a nearby parking lot. The simple way to avoid a similar fate? Just let go of the bar! The kite deflates the moment you do – a lesson worth committing to memory immediately, just in case. Angie Flying the Kite Simulator
As for wind conditions, cross-onshore winds are preferable for kiteboarding, especially for beginners in an ocean environment. With offshore winds, you might just be blown away from the shore which, if you’re in The Bahamas, could take you an awfully long time to find land going east. In a lake setting, offshore winds are a much safer bet. After the briefing, Gary set up a small, maneuverable trainer kite on the beach at Emerald Bay and we took turns flying it. Even though I nearly beheaded Devyani, I began to understand the fundamentals of steering, turning and harnessing the wind. The next day, we put our safety and preliminary flying lessons into practice, setting up the actual kite we would fly in the water the next day. I will confess I didn’t realize there was so much set-up involved in kiteboarding. In my imagination, I thought it was a grab-and-go sport - grab your gear, go get in the water and then, voila! You’re kiteboarding. On the contrary, Gary explained all the details including how to ensure all the lines are appropriately attached and untangled, how to attached your harness, how to inflate and deflate the kite, how to launch and re-launch it and how to tie the perfect knots to ensure not only your safety, but the safety of people on the beach. Perhaps for true athletes who are used to prepping gear for a day out, it isn’t much work, but as a novice, I was overwhelmed by details. We spent our final day of lessons with Gary in the water, and I was ready to master the kite flying skills and finally add the board to the equation. My classmate in the gorgeous Exuma water that day was a beautiful blonde writer from North Carolina who was at least 8 inches taller than me. It was high tide when we donned our harnesses and waded out to what amounted to waist deep water for her. At 5’3”, I had trouble keeping my feet planted on the sandy bottom while I was flying the kite, so when I attempted to scoop some wind into my sails, I was lifted up and dragged away. A few times, I scooped too hard and was yanked fully out of the water. If not for the release bar, I may have flown my kite straight to France. Kites on the beach
By the end of our course, I almost had kite flying figured out. With a bit more time, I could reasonably expect to add the board and maybe even putter around the scenic shoreline a bit. As it turns out, the students who had previous experience with board sports did catch on faster than I did. After only 3 days of lessons with Exuma Kitesurfing, several were able to stand on the board and cruise a short distance. Even though I didn’t manage to get as far in my lessons, the euphoria each successful kiteboarder felt was contagious. We toasted the group’s achievements with Kaliks and one last lobster dinner at Santana’s Bar & Grill in Williams Town, and the next day we all flew home. Much to Devyani’s relief, I never did return to Exuma Kitesurfing to finish what I’d started. I realized that while I had the desire to look sexy in my carefully selected kiteboarding vest, that wasn’t quite enough to make me into a kiting guru. Without the patience to focus on details, like checking my kite for rips and tears, I would only be a menace to beachgoers everywhere. Perhaps in the future, Gary will let me come back and try again. For now, I’m with Devyani – ducking for cover in the sand dunes. Getting to The Exuma Islands Fly direct from Toronto, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale or Miami into George Town (GGT) or head to Nassau and connect with an interisland carrier like BahamasAir or Sky Bahamas. Where to Stay Exuma Kitesurfing offers accommodations at its beach house as part of certain packages, but if you prefer to stay elsewhere, there are some great options. Club Peace & Plenty | 800.525.2210; peaceandplenty.com Sandals | 888.SANDALS; Sandals.com Grand Isle Villas | 888.472.6310; grandisleresort.com Augusta Bay | 242.336.2251; augustabaybahamas.com When to Go Exuma’s windy season is November through May. The weather ranges from a low of 62 degrees in January to a high of 89 in August. Water temperatures hover at a comfy 77 - 84 degrees.

Angie OrthAbout Angie Orth

Angie was born on a superstitious Friday, got her names from the Allman Brothers and Mick Jagger, grew up in the backyard of a Magic Kingdom, cart wheeled at Versailles, laid bricks in South America, interviewed with Trump, bleeds orange and blue, worships the Savior, sings enthusiastically, avoids public speaking and falls asleep when sitting still. As a publicist, she coordinated press trips, video shoots and events, wrote a press release or two, launched a magical theme park, pitched media until she was blue in the face and met amazing travelers from all over the world. In 2009 Angie became one of the top 50 out of 20,000 entrants for  Queensland’s Best Job in the World. This reminded her of all the places she hadn’t yet visited, reigniting her wanderlust. In 2010, after careful consideration, lots of prayers and years of saving for a rainy day, Angie decided to take her travel show on the road. Follow her adventures at www.angieaway.com or on Twitter at @bigappleangie.
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