Our daytrip to Aghnajane, Morocco

Based in Essouira, we went on a daytrip to Aghnajane, which we’ve heard has a pointbreak working even with just a little swell. The drive took about 1.5 hours and at least the part from the mainroad down to the coast was pretty picturesque.

Unfortunately there was not really a lot of surf going on. Almost no swell, pretty strong onshore wind and a period probably closer to 1 than to 10 seconds. Anyway, since we just are on a short time vacation we had to take every chance to get into water and catch some crappy waves.

Arround the cliffs just in front of the village might be a nice pointbreak and the beachbreak is supposed to pick up the most swell in the region. Even the guys located in Immessouane sometimes surf up in Aghnajane. But if you surf good and live pretty close to Boilers, you probably don’t think about where to go when it’s small. That spot looked sweet, even on a flat day in Taghzahout.

Anyway, Aghnajane is a nice place even if you don’t surf, two steps away from all the touristic stuff with nice remote beaches without road access and other stuff to see and do when you made it so far. At least the three of us would recommend going there if you are in the region.

Morocco – surf and other impressions of Taghazout

Here some more surf and surrounding pictures from the last days. Some of the sets were quite big. We surfed La Source and Mysteries and are still hoping to get Anchor Point when it’s not so crowded. But this seems surreal.

The currents at all the points can get quite strong, already when it is not that big, therefore we are looking forward to the Hammam in Agadir this afternoon. Later we are heading back to Immesouane, to surf the long pointbreak back there. Supposedly it is not that crowded, at least compared to some spots around Taghazout.

Last but not least, the girls found a new Bruno (thats how we call “our” dogs during traveling), as you may have guessed on some pictures..

Ah, and we are starting the picture of the week series again..

Morocco – Essaouira – First Impressions

We made it yesterday to Essaouira, Morocco. Already like the country and this village. It feels a bit like the tales of one tousand and one nights. Today the streets or at least the shops are empty, since they have to kill their sheeps (religious reasons). Besides, the tradewinds are heavy and the spots arround generally exposed to the wind. Conclusion: We have to travel further south in direction of Taghzaout to hopefully find some working spots. Altough it would be nice arround here, if you’re keen on windsurfing or Kitesurfing..

Anyway, here some pictures of our first day..

Pavones, Costa Rica – or the 2nd longest left pointbreak in the World!

We just found out, that we didn’t publish any pictures or reports from Pavones, Costa Rica. Our camera was broken, so most of the pictures from this report we took with the camera of a friend.

Anyway, here some facts about the amazing wave in Pavones. Pavones is situated in the ‘deep-south’ of Costa Rica, on the southern side of the Gulfo Dulce, nearest town of any size (!) Golfito. Six to eight hours from San Jose. Pavoness is 2 hrs south of Golfito. There is a bus service, rental cars and 4×4 taxis.

The wave needs a BIG southern swell, as the set up is a long wrap around a ‘Raglan’ like beach of boulders. This is a great wave if you catch it when it is working. It goes on forever, supposedly it is the second longest lefthander in the world (just after Chicama in Peru, which was amazing, too).

Pavones is one of the best left points we have surfed so far. There are even some other decento breaks south to Punta Banco. The natural beauty of this place is indescribable. There is great fishing ofshore and 3 excellent breaks on the other side,of the bay.

But keep in mind, it definitely is a great place if the wave is working, but you are out in the middle of nowhere if it is not.

Pavones is one of those spots you do true soul surfing in,looking at the rain forest from the water is an awesome experience,the sounds of the insects,at night the fireflies and latin music through the air… well, we got it nice and can recommend that place basically to everyone that isn’t travelling just for partying.

Santa Teresa, Jaco, Santa Catalina and San Blas Islands

We’ve been (obviously) traveling quite a lot since the last blog entry. On one side, we didn’t have to much to tell (that’s for pretty most all of Costa Rica) on the other side, we didn’t have any internet connection (that’s for Santa Catalina and the San Blas Islands), thats why it did take some time to gather pictures and text for a new blog entry. Well, actually, we got kind of lazy, too. I guess plenty of different reasons to postpone the article.

Anyhow, we’ve been a couple of days in Santa Teresa, which was kind of nice, tough quite touristy and no swell meant not too much of surfing. After that we went with a direct boat transfer from Montezuma (next to Santa Teresa) to Jaco. Jaco is kind of the city you don’t want to spend to much time at. Super touristy, full of foreigners and the single place (so far) where the locals greet you in english rather than spanish BUT it is the perfect place for buying a new board. The range of used and new boards is huge, you will find pretty much everything from Lost over Firewire and All Merricks to custom shapes and all of it to reasonable prices. Conclusion: If you ever go to central america, don’t bring a board. Safe the money and get a bus in San Jose which takes you within 2 hours to Jaco.

So much for Costa Rica. Since we fly out of San Jose, we will be heading back to Costa Rica pretty soon and surf Pavones on the way (actually we plan on staying a week there, there hasn’t been anyone around who surfed Pavones and didn’t like it.. Expectations are high!)

Anyway, after saying goodbye to Toby, we headed down to Santa Catalina, Panama to meet Fips. Santa Catalina is in our opinon one of the better waves we have surfed and that even under not-spot-on conditions. Nice and different about Santa Catalina is that so far there hasn’t been a huge touristic break trough. Of course there are some hostels, but it is not (yet) the touristy place you would expect after experiencing Costa Rica …

After Santa Catalina we went directly to Lunas Castle, Casco Viejo, Panama City to book a tour to the San Blas islands. The hostel is huge, probably the biggest one we’ve been to on all our travels in Central and South America but its the typical party hostel, which isn’t what we actually are looking for. But they got all the information needed for San Blas and on the next morning we were heading to the islands. San Blas was amazing. We stayed 3 days at Irons Cabanas, enjoying fresh seafood (at least once a day lobster) and doing some island-sight-seeing. The white sand beaches are pretty much cliche and we enjoyed it big time (even tough there was no surf). Only downside in my opinion was the snorkelling, which wasn’t as nice as expected. Well, Maledives, Great Barrier and Ningaloo Reef are hard to beat..

Now we are back in Panama City and packing for our journey to Pavones. Swell is rolling in, tuesday is a 7ft 15s expected!!

Fishing in San Juan del Sur

After surfing a couple of times at the three main beaches in San Juan del Sur (Playa Hermosa, Playa Madeira and Playa Remanso) we thought we could do something different for once and talked to our hosts at Ayure Surf Hostel.

One of the options was fishing which actually sounded great and included surfing, easy decision! Next day we headed out of the main bay in San Juan del Sur with a small fisher boat and our surfboards. Unfortunately the swell was quite big and most of the beaches were closing out, nevertheless, the captain showed us all the beaches. We ended up surfing Playa Hermosa, once more. But thanks to the captain we went on the southern end of the beach, were it seemed to work best with the recent amount of swell.

For me it was the first time I went surfing from out a boat..Nice experience to paddle directly into the line up!

After a couple of waves we started fishing.. Firstly we tried our luck with the big fishing rods, unfortunately catching not a single fish…. The captain decided then, that we might better try our luck with Snappers and the small rods. Better luck here, we ended up catching quite I few of them (at least most of us… I just caught a small shark, which we couldn’t eat). Finally we had our fresh fish for a BBQ, which we did the next day.

By the way. If you ever are in San Juan del Sur, go and try the huge Hamburger at the Black Whale. Cheap and almost too much.. Biggest burger ever!

Barra de la Cruz, the next very nice righthand pointbreak

After getting back from our trip to Chacahua we went more or less directly to Barra de la Cruz. We were just two days back in Puerto to get things sorted out for our further travels.

In Puerto we somehow came by a wonderful retro fish. The guy selling it was just to light for this full floater and wanted therefore to get rid of it. Perfect for Ben/Armin. The fish has got some nice, huge FCS FK-1 Fins, a purple leash, fitting to the mostly purple colour of the fish. The dimensions are 5”11’x22’x2.5’ and it surfs really, really well. You get just about every wave you are trying to catch, no matter how small it is, which is perfect for the current conditions here in Barra de la Cruz.

We were travelling with 3 boards and a 4th would have been too much, so we sold the bigger board of Bea, together with some spare fins, our old longboard bag and other stuff for waaaay to much money. It is sometimes nice that there are enough guys opening a surf shop without any knowledge about surfing…..

The journey from Puerto Escondido down to Barra de la Cruz was easy. First we had to take a bus to Huatulco. From there we had to take another bus heading for Salina Cruz. Firstly the busdriver didn’t want to let us get in because of the 7”1 surfbag, which was too big for his bus in his opionion. Luckily Mexicans are always trying to help. Some guys standing around noticed that we struggled getting a bus ride and were then messing around with the bus driver as long as it needed to get him to take the bag into the fond of his, anyway nearly empty, bus.

From the bus stop it needed a taxi ride to get down to Barra de la Cruz. We were directly heading to a place called Pepe’s Cabanas, which was recommended by a girl back at Hostal Buena Ronda. It sure is really nice, Pepe is a great guy always trying to help.

From Pepe’s it is a 20-minute walk down to the surf beach. You always need to pay 20 Pesos to get to the beach. Some sort of admission to keep the beaches clean and support the building of showers and stuff.

Paying 2$ is not a lot (in european means) to go surfing, but here in Mexico it is quite a lot of money. For 4$ you get a full menu or 3 beers. But paying this fee is so worth it! The beach is picturesque and the surf is awesome and the restaurant at the beach serves awesome food and surprisingly good coffee!

There is still no swell around at the moment but early in the morning the offshore wind helps building up the small waves getting in. With luck you get quite long rides, from the point down to the main beach. The line up is super relaxed, the level still high but it is sooo much more fun surfing this wave than sitting around at El Punto in Puerto Escodido. And it is a right-hander, too, like Chacahua. The paddle out to the Point is really easy, since you can do a lot of the way just by walking at the beach into a hidden beach behind some rocks. From there you just get sucked out by the rip close by the rocks. Not much padelling to get a great wave.

All in all the setup here in Barra de la Cruz is nice and fits us better than Puerto Escondido. We probably will stay another few days before heading to Guatemala, doing some touri stuff for about a week. And then it is not much longer until we meet some of our good friends in El Salvador. Guys we look forward seeing you down here!

Our journey to the island Chacahua, Mexico

For several reasons we decided to head to Chacahua after staying a couple of days at the wonderful Hostel Buena Onda in Puerto Escondido.

On one side there was the surf in Puerto, which was in our case a good reason (as you might have read in the previous blog entry) to search for other spots and on the other side we’ve heard so many good things about Chacahua, that we just had to take the chance and discover the island by ourselves. By speaking to other guests of the Buena Onda, we kind of gathered a small group of 8 persons ready to get on that journey.

It was a great opportunity to travel as a group, since we would be able to rent collectivos just for the group. Which was in fact what we did.

In order to get to Chacahua you need to take a bus or collectivo from the banco verte corner in Puerto heading for Rio Grande. Then at Rio Grande you need to take another collectivo to a small fishing village called Zapotalito. Lucky as we were, a guy with a huge pickup truck aproached us at Puerto Escondido and took us for just 20$ (total) to Zapotalito. From there we rented a boat that took us for 60$ to Chacahua on a scenic 40 minutes trip trough mangroves, lagoons and small picturesque islands. Even if there wasn’t that great right hand pointbreak at Chacahua the trip would have been worth it, just because of that boat trip!! If you ever are in or around Puerto Escondido, take your chance and go Chacahua, you won’t regret it.

The island itself feels as if there wasn’t any civilization arround. Chacahua is small, has just one shop, a couple of restaurants serving exact the same food (to the same price) and there are obviously some places to sleep. If you plan to stay longer, do bring a tent! Most of the restaurants offer campground under a roof and it will cost you about nothing. But you even get cabanas with 2 beds for arround 12$ a night. Surprisingly there is a Internetcafe / Bar at the beach, just next to the cabanas. It charges 4$ an hour..

The wave in Chacahua is awesome. It is obviously not as crowded as El Punto in Puerto Escondido, but the best part about it is, it’s a right hand point break! It is quite a long time ago, since we were surfing a right hand point break. Actually, it is the first time so far in Mexico. The wave is steep, fast and the first section is often barelling. There are long barells posible, even without a big swell. Even the paddle out is nice, just walk along the jetty and get from there in the water, paddle a little to the left and there you are, ready to catch a wave.

As a matter of fact, the major part of our group is not into surfing and therefore didn’t go to Chacahua because of surfing. Just chilling out, having some cold Coronas, nice Mexican food and enjoying the life, isn’t too bad, either. Big time buena vida!

Last thing to mention: IF you are in Chacahua, head up to the Lighthouse, the view is breathtaking and you might be able to see another surfspot, too. Other activities to do in Chacahua include Crocodile tours in Canoes and.. well..That’s it, that’s all.

Next blog entry will be about our search for another wave suited for us and finding it in Barra de la Cruz..

Puerto Escondido – Bonebreaking beachbreak and crowded pointbreak

We arrived quite early in the morning in Puerto Escondido after a relaxing (really!) nightbus from Acapulco. The bus network in Mexico is simply stunning. Maybe a little more expensive than other Latin American countries, but you get more in terms of quality and comfort.

A friend told us to stay at Hostal Shalom in Puerto Escondido, which we did, but just for one night and we wouldn’t recommend it any further. The hostal seems to be fairly run down, dirty rooms, not working fans, no guets kitchen (even tough they advertise it) and a pool full of bugs. I guess some years ago it really was a nice place to stay, tough.

We then changed to a cleaner, same priced, better located hostal called “Buena Onda” which seems well known arround backpackers and surfers, since it is always full. It has got a really nice vibe and there is a guest kitchen, too. We paid 230 Pesos for a cabana, dorm beds cost 100 Pesos each. There are way cheaper options at Playa Zicatela, the tourist center of Puerto Escondido, but they aren’t as close to the survivable Point Break “El Punto”.

I guess there are 3 reasons to visit Puerto Escondido. One is for sure to surf the crazy heavy and big tubes of the main beach, Playa Zicatela. They say, each year die arround 6 surfers in that wave and once you have seen it, its pretty obvious why. Most of the waves just close out, but some deliver quite long rides in barrels and with a bit of luck they don’t close out and you might get out of it safe. As a matter of fact, lots who surf that wave are not even wearing a leash. Since the wave directly breaks onto the shore, it is safer to let the surfboard float away onto the beach and just swim out of the impactzone somehow.

Another one is to watch the big wave surf from out the beach, lying in a hammock, enjoying a good drink. Which is exactly what we were doing with a couple of friends and some drinks for about an hour. In that time we have seen a couple of broken boards, 2 americans trying to surf the wave but not even getting out of the impact zone and nearly drowning, a broken shoulder and some nasty whipeouts, too. It is tragic to see such stuff, but it is for sure more intense than watching TV!!

Last but not least there is the point El Punto on the left hand side of Playa Zicatela. The wave there is not as dangerous as the one at Playa Zicatela, but way more crowded. There is a big local groove and you often surf with some professionals, which doesn’t make it easy to catch a wave for yourself..

In fact, we had in a couple of surf sessions not more than 10 rides, most of them short ones which came to an end because of a close out.

Even tough it is not as heavy and dangerous as the main wave in Puerto Escondido it still is more dangerous than most of what we’ve been into on that trip. In the days since we have been here, 2 friends got injured, a swiss guy messed up his knee and Jackson, a Californian friend who has travelled with us to Chacahua, just broke (or badly dislocated) his feet, while doing a floater. Then there were several snapped surfboards, broken leashes and minor injuries, too. It changes the point of view quite a bit, when stuff like that happens.. For us it is a sign to move on to another wave, better suited for us..

But before that, the next blog entry will be about our journey to Chacahua, an island just 2 hours north of Puerto Escondido..

Holidays from traveling – fact or fiction?

The last few days we spent the time rather sleeping then surfing. It is definitely not just because there are no good waves around… And it is also not because of lack of sleep. We almost always get our-self around 8 hours of sleep..

So why is that drowsiness?

One assumption would be that we just get lazy… but wouldn’t that be a too easy answer?

After seeing as many beautiful places as we have seen so far, it’s hard to enjoy it as much as we did at the beginning of the travel. Sometimes you almost have to say to yourself “This is sooo beautiful, isn’t it. I’m lucky to be able to travel for such a long time, to see that many different countries and to get to know so many wonderful people and places..”

It actually feels like our brains need some time to process all the beautiful views, the experienced adventures and of course, all the action in the water.

So is it normal to get tired because of too many overwhelming experiences? Is it normal to feel as if the brain needs some time to think? Or is that just in our imagination?

Well, I think I’ve been in that situation before after I drove all around Australia. After deciding to rest for some time we did lay around for not less than a week. Passing the time with sleeping, eating, watching movies, day for day. Back then I thought this is just because I travelled for a too long period of time. But recently (and not just because we are now travelling for at least 6 months, again) I started thinking about that drowsiness and where the reasons of it are to be found. And I’m pretty sure, that at least in my case, the origin of the drowsiness is not in the length of travel but in the style of travel..

Now we are travelling again for around 6 months. In order to not experience that tiredness again, what do we need to look out for? What did I do wrong last time?

We still have a lot of time left before heading back home. By not moving on everyday we probably found one of the most important things to not get tired. By giving the brain some time to settle and to reproduce all the recorded memories, we were able to minimize the effects.. But what else is out there to avoid it?

We have quite a lot time left for discovering Central America, but also more than enough time to discover our travel patterns,.. I will try to get not only the positive but also the negative ones written down and then put them online..