Thursday, August 3, 2017

Letters From Nicaragua: Part 20 - Out In The Water

From the perspective of a native Floridian, the waves in Nicaragua are a bit intimidating. I'd been out in large waves before, and even found happiness at the secret beach there, but Playa Colorado and Panga Drops were something quite different. Try to imagine the largest waves at Sebastian Inlet only bigger and that will give you an idea of what we were looking at with Colorado...except all day long, every day we were there. That plus we were observing some very, very good surfers on the waves. Just think about how serious you would have to be to even come to this place. Even then, when I saw boats bringing surfers to this private beach, I noticed that not everybody that got out of the boat caught waves. Many caught nothing, some got worked, but a few shone like I hadn't seen, even in a Florida surf contest.
In the mornings, I would get up and walk down to the break and see if somebody good was out there. No matter how early I got up, someone was always at Colorado. It wasn't like it was perfect every time. Low tide was not right and all the way to high tide made it too hard to catch on the shortboards, but like me, there were some that figured a smaller crowd meant more opportunities.
The photo above is Miguel, surfing between the two major breaks, which is what I also found worked for me. I did see a guy one day on a paddleboard at Colorado and he was ripping. I don't know how he did it on that wave.
At the end of the beach, right in front of the main break was a little thatched hut bar, with a little pool and it was a great place to sit and watch surfing that you usually only see in a video. Sam, our guide, picked this time to be there because he knew there would be big swells, but it seemed to me that the ocean was just a non-stop wave machine. I was actually hoping for a day here and there that wouldn't be death-defying. My real dream was to ride Panga Drops, which was a break at the other end of the beach. The name was for boats dropping people off at the break, because the beach is private. Boats are used frequently to travel the different breaks because the roads take so much longer.  Unfortunately, I saw way too many, what Sam refers to as "Macker sets". This is when you sit watching a break, seeing guys riding waves and think "I might be able to handle that" and then see five giant waves, almost double the size, come marching in, surfers paddling to get over them, most of them not making it and boards flying. Sam got a broken leash and held down underwater for several waves. Miguel got munched and was much more cautious the rest of the trip.
Meanwhile, Pam was exploring and taking photos. It turned out that I was in a very small number of those shots. She said that I needed to get better waves, and it was hard to argue with that. I think I need to go back to the place where beginners surf so I look better. A side note here...I guess this goes on everywhere and I did see it in California as well. You stand on the beach looking at what you might call experts-only conditions and see someone holding a softtop board at some funny angle and you realize that a rank newbie is going to try to go surfing there. Even at overhead Colorado, I saw this. The lack of fear must be because it looks easy in the movies or something.

While Pam lost interest in my wave catching session, she wandered down with Emily to find the place where the ocean appeared to come into a large tidal pool and some locals were working a net.
In her own way, Pam has no fear, and she approached the family, hoping to see if they had fish in the net. She started thinking they were going for crabs, and wanted to show her willingness to communicate in their native tongue. "Son esos Conejos?" she said, pleased with herself and her best Latin accent. Puzzled looks were followed by much laughter. It wasn't until much later in the day when Pam related this to Yvonne, who told her that the word she wanted was "cangrejos" and that "Conejos" meant rabbit. I'm sure they are still telling that story around the village back in Nicaragua...

1 comment:

  1. Great, great adventures together! Give Pam a hug for me and go have some more Fun now!!