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Galapagos & Ecuador

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Opportunistic sea lions Floods in central and Northern coasts of Peru swept away bridges and caked towns in mud this April. El NiƱo was particularly strong this year delivering more rain in a few days than some areas of the arid North have seen in 10 years. Carrie and I were making our way through Chile when the headlines of the flooding hit. Our plan was to slow travel our way from Lima to Piura by bus after spending 11 days around Cusco. We were looking forward to cheaper travel, good people, and I was especially interested in the many surf opportunities. The planed route now had bridges that were impassable and towns hit hard by the flooding. Even if it was passable, traveling through hard hit areas so I can surf and we can be tourists seems disrespectful at best. We explored options to reroute to Bolivia or bounce over early to Europe but settled on heading up to Ecuador. Galapagos has been on our list, but a couple of epic tours in Patagonia and Peruvian Andes set our budg…

Peru

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Taking a break (see the mule train?) Arriving in Peru was a bit chaotic. We were on the clock…our connecting flight was tight and we had to pick up bags and re-check them. Disembarking the plane, there were two different passageways and it wasn’t clear which one we should take. It took 3 airport employees to gather there were different lines (nationals and foreigners) at customs and an entirety different passage way for international connections. Oh, and for whatever reason some people had to complete custom forms, but we didn’t. Funny enough this was a welcome challenge as all the interactions with airport personnel were very pleasant. Peru was a breath of fresh air. If this would have Chile, we would have been ignored us if we didn’t speak perfect Spanish. If we were in Argentina, we would have scolded for not speaking perfect Spanish (this really did happen to me - no kidding). If we were in Panama, people would have been cross to provide any help whatsoever. We were in Peru…

May the wave rise up to meet you

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“The paddle-out from the island rocks (Los Morros) has achieved legendary status for sketchiness - dashing across the slippery shelf from a hiding place in the rocks when there is a lull has caught many out. Experts only when it gets above double-overhead.” This best described the next break I would camp out for a week and a half. Further confirmed by talking to locals and witnessing it firsthand.
Take-off just inside the Morro I found it hard to believe at first, but the entry was the sketchiest part of surfing here. Sometimes I had to wait 15 minutes for a lull between sets to paddle out, but I was fortunate to not have any close calls. Once in the water, you weren’t totally out of the woods. When the SW swell hits the morro, the waves refract around the point to break inside the pocket, right in front of a rock outpost by the Mirador. If you haven’t seen surf refact it’s pretty neat to watch, especially for a surf nerd like me. In this case, watching the waves deposit surfers 5 f…

Patagonia

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Our first glimpse of what Patagonia has to offer I considered New Zealand to be the most majestic and awe inspiring of places I’ve visited. That award now belongs to Patagonia. When we arrived in Panama our booked travel consisted of a 1 way ticket to Panama. We had yet to plot our next adventure, which was shaping up to be the Galapagos Islands. As we started to spitball ideas, budget, logistics…one thing jumped out. Patagonia trekking had a window that was fast closing. March was shoulder season for an area well known for its temperamental weather. I dug into research and got excited about a popular route in Torres del Paine. It seemed a compromise between my adventurous outdoor streak and Carrie’s aversion to all things cold and wet. TDP has a series of refugios to stay and eat without the hassle of hauling a tent, sleeping bag, and 6 meals. Booking said refugios was a monster challenge. Availability changes hourly, everything was booked 3 weeks out, the prices aren’t cheap,…

Highlight Reel from Bocas

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Our Bocas Family Here goes my debut. As I depart from Panama, I thought it would be fitting to write about the most memorable times or highlights of Panama (sans experiences Trent already wrote about). So here it goes:Arriving at our host’s house, and getting yelled at by her visiting daughter. Apparently she was pissed off at president Trump and I was the most reasonable target. Of course, I had no idea what she was saying as it was all in Spanish. That was a warm welcome!Getting locked inside the studio apartment. Yep, hard to imagine getting locked inside, even when you have the keys. The key on the bolt would not budge. Trent and I started to take inventory - water, check; food, check. There was no getting out through the window - both windows had iron bars that would prevent a break-out, yet they were put there to prevent a break-in. So what to do…I started yelling our hosts name. Luckily, she was able to get the door unlocked from the outside. Although I must admit, I had…

Win a free t-shirt

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No surf for almost a week and a half. I feel sad inside, like this Tears of no surf However, I am afforded the opportunity to explore the archipelago, study Spanish, and plan our next move after Panama. When we booked our first leg of this journey we had a lot going on with selling the house and tearing down a life. We opted not to buy a round the world ticket, as we prefer the short term freedom over the long term certainty. At first struggling to find an anchor to start our trip, we landed on a simple narrative: learn Spanish, travel South America, and never venture long from surf. A narrative is far from a plan and filling in the pieces has been time consuming, frustrating, but ultimately a crucial piece of our adventures. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the best way to chart travel and I won’t bore our 2 readers with my specific machinations on this topic. Highlighting this week was the effort to book the classic ‘W Circuit’ in Torres del Paine. A process so unnecessari…

Paunch Lights Up, My Phone Shuts Off

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Another swell landed in Bocas on Friday night. Saturday, dudes were pulling into barrels and coming out with a broken board. Within the first hour 2 guys had turned from surfer to spectator, their boards eaten by Paunch. I had some of my most most hair raising drops and rides since starting surfing 15 years ago. Those rides were equally matched by wipeouts that would have made the “best of” reel. Intense is the best word to describe the day. I simultaneaously wanted to go back to bed and curl up in the fetal position as I craved to ride another locamotive. The speed was intense. Paunch is a left, which for this regular foot, meant more concentration to surf these steam rollers. No cutbacks, just raw speed. My pulse is racing just writing about it 4 days later. Through trial by fire I’ve had to relearn and advance my skills as a surfer. I almost feel as if I belong at that break. Since my last post I’ve gone out everyday, except Sunday, and I’m exhausted physically and mentally.

A …