Tuesday, September 14, 2010

my truck almost became a boat

Buen dia everyone. So I'm still here in Southern Mexico really loving it. Last year when I was in Mexico I only spent one month here so this time around I'm really trying to slow down and explore around for all the gems I missed on my way down. The southern part of Mexico is really amazing for surf. There are points upon points upon points & with 4x4, a little patience & the will to explore you can really land yourself on some amazing empty beaches. I finally found the spots I had always dreamed of finding & it's been so cool to enjoy these places, though as always I'm always missing the oh so important factor of having someone to share it with. There are people around but whenever I find these amazing surf spots I'm always wishing my brothers were there or friends or someone so that we could sit there in disbelief rather than me sitting there unable to believe that I'm actually here doing this & experiencing this. In the south I really went up & down many dirt roads in hopes that one of them lead to an empty beach with waves. After quite of bit of rough driving, I landed on an amazing beach alone...so I thought. It's one of those moments where I'm sitting on a beach, parked & camping and I feel like I've found this right point break and I'm feeling all good about my explorations. And then that feelings is curbed quickly as 4 suburbans come driving up the sand & park right next to me. And out jumps the Nike 6.0 junior girls & boys surf team. These little 16 yr olds had just flown from California and then escorted right to my precious lonely beach that I thought I had all to myself. These are some of the best junior surfers in the world and as I chatted with one of them, she says "I've never been to mexico, this is my first day". Here I sit having driven up a billion rough dirt roads to "find" this place and these little brats get driven right out there with no effort, no spanish, and in luxury. So while I camped, fought mosquitos, and slept in my tent they came in & out in the A/C from their perfect little worlds in a city about 45 mins away. So I spent the week sharing the waves with them & their photographers. After this bit on the beach I finally headed up the coast a bit to continue northbound (which feels wrong by the way, I'm a southbound kind of guy). I end up running into a guy I met last year and he tells me that he's out on this peninsula that has some good waves. SO I decide to make the mission out there, though I was reluctant because you can't arrive there by car this time of the year (rainy season). So I drive to a town, catch a shared boat ride, then a collectivo truck (a group of you sitting in a truck bed), and finally arrive to the small town of Chicahua. It sits out on this peninsula I guess, it's out on the beach and we drove through mangroves across the lagoon for 15 minutes in a boat to get there from the mainland. Chicahua is a really small town with nothing going there, just some fisherman & a few surfers that have realized this is a magical surf spot. You know, just like all the really small towns I have camped in, I always have this same question in my head and the same answers come to life. The question is, I wonder how I'm going to get food when what I have runs out. What I have grown to love about the small towns on this trip is there isn't grocery stores, the food just comes right to you. I'll be sitting around the campsite and then someone will walk up and have baked fresh breads. Then someone walks by having made enchiladas. Then another who makes tortillas. Then someone with vegetables. Then another with eggs. It always happens like this. No matter how small, the food shows up with someone on a scooter, a veggie truck, walking on foot. It's so cool because essentially these small towns all work together to feed each other. Each person just makes something & then shares it with the rest of the town for a few pesos. You know exactly where your food came from, it's such a big difference than the big cities of home. We get everything from the grocery story, who knows where it came from. But this is so different, you get to know everyone and what they make everyday. SO surely the people that make anything dulce know they can pass by my camp everyday and get me to buy a sweet bread or whatever tasty treat they make. So Chicahua turned out to be the most amazing surf experience I've had. The waves were big, it's a right point break, and the sand bar had just been shifted to form the most perfect giant barrels I've ever been a part of. I guess it's also cool to realize my surf skills have improved slightly (one who hope so!) and that I can actually surf these high performance waves. I've never spent so much time standing in giant dry barrels for many many seconds on every wave. All this and it was just 2 of us out. Each wave I came off of just blown away, unable to believe that I was actually riding these waves. So after a 4 days of quiet on the beach, books, hammocks, writing, drawing, practicing guitar, and surfing a huge rain storm cam. It poured and poured and poured for a day or 2. Well apparently the water levels in the lagoon had risen to unusual heights. One morning I'm lounging around & this guy comes running up saying the truck is leaving to the boats and that they heard word that my truck was almost underwater! SO in a flash I grab a couple things, run to the truck in the crazy downpour & now I'm sitting in the back of a truck getting completely dumped on by rain. The drive is rough, muddy, wet. First we come to a tree down in the "road" so the guys jump out and hack away at it with their machettes. Then we hit a soft spot and one side of the truck bottoms out in the mud and we're stuff. Machettes out again, cutting down some sort of branch to lift the truck and put under the tire. I'm out, soaked, to help push. I end up in the muddiest spot (knee deep) and when we finally push the truck out I fall a bit in the mud and onto a pile of bullet ants. I get so attacked by these ants. They're called bullet ants because it feels like a bullet when they bite. Back in the truck, trying to wipe the pain away from the numerous bullet bites and we're bouncing back down the muddy path. Finally we get to the boat, jump in and it's pouring and a rough 15 min ride back to town. Upon arrive I see the house I parked my car at is completely underwater, 3 feet high in their kitchen and next to my truck is parked all the boats. The people nicely built a barricade around my truck but the water was about knee high all around the truck and my only exit is to drive into the lagoon. So I get out, move the boats out of the way to create a "road" for me to pass thru them and I have no choice but to just drive my car into the water and hope that I don't break down. The rain was intense so I knew it was this or my truck would be a boat in a couple of hours. So after a bit of moving boats out of my way, trudging through the water I finally jump in and drive into the water and thankfully make it out of there just in time. As soon as I had removed the barricade, the water flooded my parking spot and I was so close to losing my truck in the water. Just another one of those "oh no" moments that I really lucked out in. Thankfully the people who's house got flooded decided to build a barricade for my truck, I don't know how in the world that they decided to bother with my truck when their things were under water. But I sure thanked them. That was half the journey, I had to go back on the boat & truck to get back to my campsite but took a little break to shop for some things while back on land. I was able to snap a quick picture in the rain of my truck, it doesn't really show it well but you can get the idea. There was no time to bother with cameras, plus it was pouring. This is all part of being down here in rainy season and these are the things that make the days so exciting and scary. That's all for now, I'm actually heading back to that same place as I decided to go back for one more incoming swell before heading northbound. Hope everyone is doing great & enjoyed the end of summer. chau!


  1. ay de mi!! Pobrecito! yet another great story!

  2. Sounds amazing! Man, and I just ran this really sweet report and did some awesome excel formulas...Pretty similar situation.