In addition to beautiful setting for whale-swimming, diving, free-diving courses, paddle-boarding, windsurfing and dining, Matafonua Lodge had the added attraction of kite-boarding.
Monty got kiting last season, but being at Matafonua gave him an opportunity to progress with instructors keeping a watchful eye and giving tips when asked. It was nice that they also had a rescue boat available making it much safer than kiting on his own.
Monty stepped up his game considerably with numerous windy days to practice. Sometimes it was too windy, and we had to seek shelter for Whistler in another anchorage to the south. He is now confidently doing slide turns and has started taking some jumps.
It was not an easy place to learn to kite with lots of coral bommies and a strong current at high tide. I took some kiting lessons when conditions were “suitable”. I was nervous about the coral as we had paddle-boarded in the lagoon and had seen how close to the surface they were at low tide. Generally mid-tide was best as the current wasn’t as strong and there was enough water over the bommies that I would not touch them when I was thrashing around. Sometimes, the winds weren’t right or the instructors were busy with resort guests, so I didn’t get out that often. I can’t tell you how many cups of salt water I drank, attempting to body drag upwind. It is not my favourite pastime! I eventually got to the point of getting my feet in the foot straps and getting a water start with a very short ride. I have a long way to go, with more instruction needed.
Sadly, Julien and Anahi left Tonga for their home in France at the end of August. We wish them well and hope our paths cross again.