Underwater Wakulla- June 6, 2013

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The windy alternative By J HESS

We have been reporting about what is happening in and around the Wakulla underwater world for quite some time now.

The reason I live here in Wakulla are the amazing and awe-inspiring caves, and as of last summer I even took up spear fishing in the gulf. The truth is, however, that I found myself not doing enough of any of these lately.

Life has a way of changing plans for you.

Conditions in the caves are seasonal, as flooding brings dark and murky waters. Conditions in the Gulf are seasonal as well, and the trip to an offshore site always carries the risk of simply being blown out. Diving in wind and waves can be fun, but can quickly become dangerous.

About 25 years ago, and I’m starting to feel old writing this, my dad was happy to find me as a buddy to go windsurfing. These were the early days of the sport, and technology and knowledge were mostly adopted from sailing, with limited success.

Whenever there was a bit of wind on the weekend, my dad would pack up the boards onto the roof of the car, we tossed our wetsuits and other gear in the back, and off we went for an hour’s drive to a lake. During the week we would longingly look at trees bending in the wind.

Even the cold winter would not hold us back.

The sport slowly came to an end when my dad found himself unable to pursue it further. Until the other day, when I received an invitation to give it a try at the local surf club.

As it turns out, the beach is 10 minutes from my house, and after over 20 years I found myself standing on a board again. Technology has improved vastly, making rigging and handling of the board much simpler.

Shaky in the beginning, I still knew the moves, and quickly became accustomed again. What a blast!

What that means, I guess, is that I have no more excuses: If the caves are black, and the wind keeps boats from going far into the Gulf, I’ll just ditch the dive gear and don the surf attire.

I just wish my dad was still around so I could tell him, he would have enjoyed the news.