Saturday, April 2nd, the plan was set. A group of kite surfers, kite boarders and wind surfers were going to leave Ambergris Caye and travel over 100 miles down the Belize coast. The exact route would depend on the winds but the plan was basically three legs. San Pedro to Belize City, Belize City to Dangriga, Dangriga to the point of the Placencia Peninsula.
And then the winds changed. Saturday – they would die down quickly – a “cold” front was coming in. With a last minute scramble and all day phone calls and preparation, the crew bumped the ride up a day.
The “Kite to the Point” left at about 6:30am on Friday April 1st – and the winds were looking great. The ride was inspired in memory of a young and popular San Pedrano, Jeffrey Eiley – who was shot just over 2 years ago. And his heartbroken family and friends are still waiting for justice.
Two of his best friends, MJ Leslie and Mark Worthington (of Estel’s Dine by the Sea), spearheaded the trip. Martin John is a seasoned kite surfer, who learned to ride as a young teen and has been doing some pretty amazing things on the water. Mark wants to honor his best friend by attempting this ride AND by getting the kids of San Pedro off of their computers and out on the sea. To inspire…
Jeffrey Eiley called the reef his picket fence and the sea “his backyard”. He had just started kite surfing when he passed. And the whole group, including 14 year old Mitch Sersland, was desperate to finish the 100+ mile ride for their buddy.
Everyone assembled on the beach at 5:30am…this was going to be a LONG ride and they wanted to take advantage of the strong winds.
I have SOOO many pictures. Even though the winds shifted and then died, and the kite ride wasn’t completed – these guys went over 30 miles. A 14 year old…one free boarding or without foot straps…it was an amazing feat. And we finished the long ride down to Placencia in ROUGH seas…but what we saw along the way? An amazing sunrise and sunset, a huge turtle off Caye Caulker, a dolphin or two and the beauty of cayes and the mountains…it was worth it.
And everyone, at some point or another, was emotional.
Young Mitch readying his kite.
Markus from the new Ambergreens Aquaponic business wind surfing.
7 kites, 2 wind surfers and 2 boats left for the open water…a bit later than planned but we were going to make it. No matter what. Jeffrey’s dad Norman Eiley, a Placencia native, and a whole crew were waiting for us on the other side.
David on the wind surfer.
Mom Susana watching all of Jeffrey’s friends…
We cruised past Caye Caulker and then onward to St. George’s Caye…the group stopped – a bit smaller but still ready to move forward. We’d gone about 30 miles.
Everyone got out to swim. We were at a spot called “Miami Beach” by the locals. Pink silky sand, waves and blue blue neon blue water. Mark was already planning a trip there for kids and camping in the future.
Guys coming in for water. The hand offs were most impressive.
And then just having fun at the beach.
Mellow, the boat mascot being told to smile for the camera.
Chris from Belize Chocolate Company enjoying the waves. He started the very first kite surfing and wind surfing business in Belize in the early 2000s. And taught young Martin John at age 15. And now MJ is teaching Mitch…
Again, just GORGEOUS. Mark was planning a trip here too. More smaller trips through out the year to train for the yearly “Kite to the Point”.
The winds had died down considerably but not the sea. The plan was to boat down to Placencia. And HOLY MOLY…what a ride. The “warriors” were exhausted and the water? ROUGH!
We arrived just after sunset – most of us soaked and sunburnt but so happy we made it. And to see Jeffrey’s dad waving and smiling…it was pretty amazing.
I stumbled into the village for a room and a SHOWER! The athletes and crew rented a room or two right at the point, at Tradewinds Cabanas, and set up the Kite Casita.
The next day they were up earlier than I was and already wake boarding on the flat, windless day.
There was a BBQ and a celebration and lots of swimming at the beach. It was HOT.
Jeffrey’s little nephew Elijah keeping cool with an ideal.
What an amazing event. A 14 year old making it 30+ miles, gorgeous stops along the way and some incredible perseverance. The seed has been planted. This is not going to just be a yearly event but smaller ones all year long.
Getting the kids involved and loving Belize’s most amazing natural resource. Just the way Jeffrey would have wanted it.
Thank you so much to Ryan Edwards for being an amazing boat captain and getting us safely down here. And to Mark and Susanna and Norman for letting me tag along.