Diary of a Kite Safari
After the summer, I still felt like kiting, and with 9 days left (5 days of vacation and two weekends), I had decided to take a trip dedicated to this passion of mine, kitesurfing. I have known Roberto for some time, whom I met in Cape Verde years ago, where he had told me about his brand Sick Dog (www.sickdogsurf.com), which has been organizing kite trips by boat for several years in Egypt. He calls them Kite Safari because it is a one-week traveling trip, you travel by boat, which actually turns into a hotel, and thanks to the boat you can reach several spots for kiting that would be otherwise too far from the coast. It sounded fun. I found on their website all the info on the kite safari program, I asked Roberto a few questions directly on whatsapp (just because), and I was ready to go, at least mentally I was prepared.
It seemed fun, you live in the boat (which is quite large), together with other kitesurf enthusiasts, for a week. For me, who travel mostly alone, it seemed like an excellent opportunity to meet new people and do a lot of kitesurfing. Now the only thing missing thing was to find a flight to Hurghada, Egypt, and they would think about everything else. The flight route is quite well served, and I opted for a Turkish airlines flight that arrives directly in Hurghada.
I landed in Hurghada and meet upon arrival Mou, the guy who manages transfers from the airport, a nice Egyptian guy who quite efficiently loaded my bags on the mini bus that will take me to the boat. Arriving at the new marina in Hurghada, I realized that our boat, still beautiful, was also very large (more than I imagined) – it is a motor yacht almost 40 meters long, which can accommodate 20 people, plus all the crew of the boat. Roberto welcomed me on the boat and showed me my cabin where I got to know Michael, a Swedish boy who will be my chess nemesis for the whole trip (we are both passionate about chess, as well as kite).
The rest of the group arrived quickly, it seemed from the very start a very international journey, I was the only Italian, besides Roberto, our kite tour leader, and a couple from Milan. A bit tired, I decided to postpone the presentations, and right after dinner on the boat I went to the cabin for a well deserverd rest.Tomorrow morning departure for the first kite spot!
We move very early in the morning from the port of Hurghada, towards Abu Mungar. It’s windy, and the light breeze puts us in a good mood. We are ready for action, but first a good breakfast to fill up on energy. We arrive in half an hour to Abu Mungar, a small island in the middle of the Red Sea, wemload all the kites on our tenders and go to the beach. The Sick Dog team help us to prepare all the equipment, and soon we are all in the water, where we will stay all day (without forgetting a fundamental lunch break). I skip part of the afternoon session, and then do a final session at sunset. I also start getting to know the rest of the group, we are 20, from all over Europe (Germany, Norway, Sweden and Hungary), as well as a girl from New Zealand, Mia, who will be one of the people with whom I will most bind in this trip. I also get to know Sotwa, who will prove to be one of the best beach boys I’ve ever seen. We spend the first night anchored in Abu Mungar.
As Roberto had announced the night before, there will be an early morning session before breakfast, so for those who feel fit, wake up at 5:45 am! I do not miss it, and we get up in 10. Despite the hour, the water is quite warm (the Red Sea is the warmest sea in the world), even with almost 20 knots of wind. Being in the water at dawn is a good way to start the day. We return to the boat at 8:30 for breakfast, a little rest and then back to the beach for the rest of the morning session. During lunch we move to Tawila, which I’m told is one of the best spots in the Red Sea. It is indeed gorgeous, flat turquoise water and a lagoon with plenty of space for everyone. We also have two complete beginners on board, who are just starting their kite course. We spend all day in tawila, and sleep here, but first a beer on the main deck.
We like Tawila very much, and we decide to stay all day, we will move tomorrow. The wind is excellent and very stable, and the conditions in flat water are perfect. I’m getting better, since we really do a lot of kites. The evening of Day 4 will end up being one of the busiest, we put on some music and go on until 2 in the morning to drink and dance, to finish everything with a night bath.
The boat moves at dawn, while we are still sleeping, towards Geysum, another very nice spot further north. Today the wind is lighter, and after the morning session we decide to move to Gubal for snorkeling. We are very lucky, and we find ourselves swimming with a group of dolphins! The Red Sea is one of the best places in the world for diving and snorkeling, and its reputation is certainly deserved. After snorkeling we go to Asharafi, where we will sleep ready for the next day. The captain of the boat decides to teach us to fish squid, with uninspiring results (a squid caught in two hours). We won’t be able to have dinner with those, but the chef promise he will cook it for me the day after 😉
We start from Asharafi at dawn for a downwind to Geysum. 2 hours of kiting with the support boat, rather simple but still tiring, especially for those who are beginners, since there are waves between the two islands – it does require a bit of technique. We spend the rest of the day in Geysum with the whole group, the beginners start the first waterstarts, everyone is improving and everyone is having a lot of fun. It couldn’t be different, sun, sea, and kite, every day.. Even my jumps are more stylish (I saw myself in some pictures and I’m not bad).
Last morning session at Geysum, then lunch and it’s time to go back to Hurghada, where we will arrive at sunset. In the evening we decide to explore the city of Hurghada (weird to be back at land after a week), try a typically Egyptian restaurant and spend the evening in a shisha bar. We return to the boat not too late for a last drink on board, we are tired but happy.
My flight is in the early afternoon, so I have plenty of time to wake up, get ready and say a sad goodbye everyone. Mou comes to load my bags in the same minibus that took me from the airport one week ago – it’s already time to leave. I will miss this boat that was my home for a week. And I will miss the vibe on board. I met many interesting people, and we left with the promise that we will return sooner or later for another kite safari …
I love kitesurfing, travelling, and making short walks with my dog. I organize kite cruises in Egypt since 2014, you may find me in some windy beach pretty much all year round when I’m not on the boat, may it be Egypt, Cape Verde, Mauritius or Greece. I drink red wine and play (badly) the guitar.
Hope to see you on board one of these days!