2015 Caribbean Cruise: Windsurfing & Paddleboarding

My wife, Peggy & I just returned from a Caribbean cruise with the cast of the Public Radio show “American Prairie Home Companion” by Garrison Keillor. The focus of the trip was on top-notch musical entertainment and interesting shore stops. We managed to paddle board, ride the surf, snorkel, and windsurf at the ports of call.

Foto Gallery: Caribbean Cruise: Windsurfing & Paddleboarding

Our first stop at Grand Turk Island was a complete surprise for fun paddleboarding & sea kayaking. My friend Donovan, & I rented gear at Bohio Dive Resort and paddled out to an offshore reef where we saw waves breaking. The ocean swell formed up into smooth, easy to ride surf. The rides were long, and after passing over the reef, the waves melted away without crashing on us. It was really fun surfing. As a bonus, the outside reef formed along a wall popular with SCUBA divers. I brought my mask on the paddleboard & was able to free-dive down to the drop-off from 30 ft. to 7,000 ft. deep - a really impressive sight in the clear water.

Arriving in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the day, the breeze was light in the morning, so we toured Old Town. If I had it to do over, I would rent windsurfing gear from Sotavento Water Sports, across the street from the beach. When the wind picked up, it was too late in the afternoon to take a taxi through traffic and still have time to windsurf.

At Saint Martin we took a taxi to Orient Bay Beach where I rented windsurfing gear from Wind Adventures. Our stay was during the day, and once there, I learned that the best wind blows late in the day diminishing by the next morning. Nonetheless, conditions were good enough to get planing on big gear. Once out in the Bay, away from shore, the wind & swell picked up making for a nice session. After sailing through winter in Atlanta, it was great to be out on crystal clear, tropical water with white, sandy beaches.

Half Moon Cay, our last port of call, is owned by Holland American Cruise Line. This was the stop we least looked forward to, because there was no information on how to get away from the cruise-line-arranged shore excursions. We went ashore with our masks and snorkels and walked around the end of the island where ferry boats bring tourist ashore. Unlike the crowded cruise beach, the beach on the windward side of the island was deserted. We relaxed, went snorkeling and never saw a single person. Back at the tourist beach a Caribbean barbecue and music kept us entertained before boarding ship back to Fort Lauderdale.

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