Jamaicans Loved My Kites
(Fredericksburg, VA, USA)
My wife and I just got back from a week at an all-inclusive resort in Negril, Jamaica. I was suffering and recovering from a pinched nerve in my back so the sailing, kayaking and water-skiing was out of the question. I started building and flying kites when my son was in 2nd grade, I thing 7 years old. He’s 30 now.
I took my trusty 7.5 parafoil and a new 80", red, white and blue American flag Rokkaku. I’m embarrassed to say I’d had the Rok for 3 years and had never flown it. The first morning I discovered that the spine was missing one of the internal joints so there was no way I could fly it.
I ended up getting one of the ground keepers to cut me several dried pieces of Bamboo. A couple of Pina Coladas later, sitting on the beach and I had whittled and shaped an internal joint. Flying that big Rok was amazing. Everyone and I mean everyone stopped to see it and ask questions.
All the Jamaicans said they never flew kites except during Easter when hundreds of people build kites from the local natural materials and then fly them from the hills. The Rok was such a high angle flyer and stable as a rock and they couldn’t understand why I wasn’t flying a tail on it.
Then on the next flight I added some line laundry consisting of a small spinner and two long streamer tails to the 500’ line. That confused them more.
The handmade joint on the Rok lasted 2 days with the beach wind and I had to go back to the flying the 7.5 Parafoil. One afternoon I spent 30 minutes explaining its design to two local policemen. I handed them the spool and proceeded to make a line drawing in the beach sand.
By the end of the week I'd become the "Kite man". Plans are afoot to go back to Negril for a third visit next year and it will definitely include a Jamaican green, black and yellow kite of some kind.