BWS in Dominican Republic ~ Day 3
Captains log, star date day three, February, twenty sixteen. Again we woke to the sound of waves crashing outside our window. Cracking open the shutters I see the beautiful glassy faces of overhead swell smiling back at me. Good morning Chuck!
The plan was dawn patrol to scope out secret wave spots. So far it's 8:30am patrol. Again, in Dominican time, we're right on time. Everyone is sporting their finest bed head hair. Ball caps and sunglasses for all my friends. Again it takes some time to herd the sheep. Standard waking order, Mathieu is still asleep long after we've all woken and packed the trucks. With a little convincing, he joins the herd and we can roll on for breakfast.
Today we eat out. Back on the strip in La Entrada, we join Roberto at his restaurant where he has a typical Dominican breakfast warm and waiting for us. Fried eggs, squeaky cheese, pan fried sausage and mangu. Mangu is a staple side dish in DR along side avichuela. It is boiled plantains & spices beaten to a consistency of mashed potatoes, served with fried onions. It's delicious, but does seriously look a little like gruel.
Over breakfast Ian continues with his coaching lessons. We discuss waves, and how to conquer them. Questions range from how to just catch the wave, kite placement, bottom and top turn timing and technique, and how to get barreled. Prof. Alldredge is happy to field all queries and has all the answers. And we aren't short of questions.
We relax at La Entrada digesting our feast and wait for wind. The forecast doesn't look great today, so we decide to begin with other water sports. We break into two groups, the SUP clan that'll return to the surf hut and ride the outer reef, and the surfing mobsters who will follow Brandon and Benny Boosh to a secret spot. I chose plan B, surf with former world tour rider Benny B. This is going to be fun.
Myself, Chris, Juan, Bertrand and the Mexican join Brandon and Benny B off onto what would be an amazing day of surfing. Today we'll be visiting Orchid Bay, and like the flower, the bay is spectacular. Down a set of steep stairs we find ourselves at the base of sheer vertical cliffs that drop off into the ocean. A sliver of a beach is just enough to leave our flip-flops behind as we launch into what is the clearest fucking water I think I've ever seen. Only in the Maldives have I seen such transparency. The waves break over a shallow reef, so if you bail, crash flat. On my first set of duck dives I dive straight into the reef jamming my fingers and dinging my board. Benny wasn't joking, that shit was shallow. I've successfully left a piece of skin on a reef in every part of the world I've visited. The streak continues!
Out on the water we are alone. Seven surfers lost in our Dominican paradise. Watching Benny and Brandon surf is like watching Baryshnikov in his prime. They dance on their boards, pirouette, turn and glide with the waves like they were long legged Russian ballerinas. Benny surfs little mush waves like they have the push of ten-foot face. The overhead waves are where he shines. Rail sliding the falls before dropping in and killing his bottom turns a fraction of a second before he performs fins out cutbacks off the lip. These moves are in my dreams, but they are standard stuff for Benny and Brandon. The boys are poetry in motion, and we have the best seats in the house. And to top off the show, the entire time we've been surfing, migrating Humpback whales have been breaching and putting on their own show behind us in the open ocean. Unbelievable memories.
Satisfied and famished from the effort, we need refueling. Brandon knows of a mythical fruit distributor in Cabrera he swears has fresh fruit and veggies piled to the ceiling. Sugar in the form of fruit, I'm in!! Dreaming of finding the mythical bounty, and actually finding this purveyor of fine fruits turned out to be more difficult than Brandon had let on. Driving around like a drunk, Brandon has gone hypoglycemic from surfing and is driving about as well as my five-year-old nephew. Zombie on the road. Good thing there are only two other cars in Cabrera. He can barely decipher the loose directions of the locals. The quick left and right the last guy gave us for directions was more like two lefts, right, left, bridge, past the goats, go straight, one more right and you're there. After covering every street in Cabrera we find the Holy Grail, and as Brandon promised, fruit and veggies piled to the ceiling. I inhaled four bananas as soon as we walked in the door, as did most of the crew. Much better. Hulk no smash.
Rolling back to our rendezvous at La Entrada, Roberto greets us with an Octopus ceviche, fried plantains and French fries. What a great meal. We eat like kings, enjoying the empty beach in front of us. Waiting for the wind to rise, we take turns on the stand-up paddleboards and ride up the river to the source of the fresh water spring. Mid day is calm and relaxing. With light wind, we practice more light wind skills with our kites. Brandon flies a little too low leaving opportunity for one of the circling hyenas to lung, catching the trailing edge with it's teeth, and pop goes the kite. That brand new kite lasted all of 3 days. Doh!! I bet he won't make that mistake twice.
As every night the beacon from the bonfire lights our way home. And like the bonfire, Roberto is there to greet us with the eternal barbeque. Tonight, fresh Mahi Mahi. Sliced width wise down the length, the meat looks like the rings of a tree with the spine still intact. Picking small bones out of fish under the glow of gas lanterns is tough enough that it could reasonably be considered a sport. But the fish is so delicious it is worth the search for the mini daggers.
Like grown boys who haven't burnt enough energy and have had too much sugar and alcohol, silly time is now upon us. As we get to know each other better, our jokes become more personal as we feel we can tease each other with more vigor. In the case of Karl and Benny, the score is tied two-two in the BWS internal office prank game show, but that's just about to change.
I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but the sanitation facilities for our hut are not so much facilities, as they are two holes in the ground covered by boxes that have a hole. One even comes with a seat! That's the ladies room. Usually I just pee on Oliver's truck wheel so Nacho knows whose the boss
To save some unpleasant images, I'm sure you can guess where this prank is going. No one admits to nothing, but everyone knows what's goin' on. Hopefully tomorrow the wind kicks in so we can burn off this energy, or things might get messy.