Mexican Surf Town
16 November 2007 | Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Whhhhhew!!! Just finished surfing the outer break in the first heat of the surf competition and am scheduled to go out again around 10 a.m, so I have a few minutes to write. This morning I dropped in on Kelly Slater's wave and told him there is a new guy in town. Surf's up dude!
After writing numerous blogs and attempting to describe the various places I go, I realized it is becoming more difficult to accurately explain my whereabouts, feelings, and experiences without being redundant or boring to my readers. However, Puerto Escondido truly is a unique place, unlike any other I have been to. Delivering its ambiance with words is an honor. This little Mexican surf town is "chillin' like Bob Dylan", "movin' and groovin'", and hums to the "motion of the ocean".
The main drag, which is no more than a ½ mile long, runs parallel to the soft sandy beach and is littered with steaming taco carts, beach bars, and plentiful surf culture. It seems as though everyone is cruising around at a slightly slower pace, and with no real agenda except catching the perfect wave and finding the cheapest Huevos Rancheros in town. Hang loose signs are commonly flashed, board shorts ride low, and sunglasses are worn past dark. Huge loudspeakers on the beach blast mellow reggae tunes throughout the little town. The deep bass tones keep me grooving during the heat of the day. No shirt, no shoes, no problemo is the going theme, and I am 100% satisfied. I love this place.
While I would have enjoyed sitting on the beach and watching the competition and scene the entire day, there was a bit of work to do on the boat which we finished by lunchtime. Puerto Escondido is known as the Mexican Pipeline and world-class surfing. Therefore, a fair amount of swell rolls into this area, making anchoring slightly tricky. Normally we anchor in a protected bay or behind some feature that absorbs the swell, and ultimately makes life down below less rocky and very comfortable. Our anchorage here wasn't the greatest, so we had to put out two anchors, one from the bow (front) and one from the stern (back). The anchor off the bow is sufficient to safely hold the boat to the ground, although the current can sometimes swing the boat into a position in which the swell hits our beam (side). This causes the boat to rock in a big and slow side-to-side motion, which would turn any seasick-prone individual green in a matter of time. The stern anchor is dropped just before the breakers and attached to the back of the boat. The line is then wound in with one of our winches, until the boat's bow points straight into the swell. Now the boat rides over the swell comfortably. Our second anchor had to be assembled, which I had the opportunity to do two separate times as I put it together backwards the first time. Our other item on the "to do" list was fixing the directional wind indicator instrument mounted on top of the mast. This part sounds very complicated, but in fact it is quit simple. This instrument simply tells us which direction the wind is coming from. It is essentially a small piece of aluminum in the shape of an arrow, and actually points directly into the wind. If you can believe this, a large Frigate (my favorite sea bird) smacked it, bent it, and rendered it useless. Fortunately fixing it was as easy as gently bending it back to the original position, although it required me to climb to the top of the mast. I shimmied my way to the top, quickly fixed the problem, and snapped some photos, some of which are slightly monkey-like, but fun. The last thing left to take care of was the sun-shade, which went up in a jiffy, and now keeps the boat's cabin shady and cool.
I spent the rest of the afternoon cruising the beach, having a long shirtless and shoeless lunch, and kayaking. Around 3 p.m. I paddled the kayak to the big break where the surfers were competing. I figured watching from the beach was too ordinary anyway. I bobbed up and down with the swell and enjoyed watching the pros and their fancy styles. This morning I will clean the propeller, which consists of diving below the boat and scraping all the little barnacles and sea-life cleaning to it for dear life. After that, it should be lunch time, or time for a taco or two or three.