There was an Australian sky that day. The kind of sky you see in summer, when there is no cloud in sight and it is an impossible shade of blue. It’s the kind of sky I only ever associated with home. That is until I found myself floating on my back in the waters of Carrizalillo Cove, Puerto Escondido, staring up at the 100 ft limestone cliffs as they stretched into the bluest sky I have seen since I left Australia. Taking in the beauty of this little cove made me giggle, it was so stunning.
I could have spent hours floating on my back in those emerald green waters, but decided instead to once again test my surfing abilities. I am a proud on-again-off-again-can’t-really-be-arsed not-really-a-surfer chick. I’ll pick up a surfboard once or twice a year just to see whether my total lack of practice has enhanced my surfing abilities. Usually the answer is no. Usually it takes me about half an hour to just remember where to put my feet.
But at Carrizalillo Cove, that was not the case. Maybe it was the sky, but that day I stood up on my very first wave and surfed to the shore. No one was more shocked than I, especially when I did it twice more in a row. I admit, I had plenty of help, in the form of my surf instructor who was helping me catch the waves. But after a few more waves I decided I was going to try this by myself. I struck a new deal with my instructor; he was only to call out instructions, and was not to touch my board.
And that’s when it just got hard. Really, really bloody hard. Every wave he would call out “Paddle paddle, paddle, faster, faster” and I would paddle until I thought my arms be wrenched from their sockets, and I would still miss the wave.
“You didn’t paddle hard enough,” he would say.
“But I tried! I can’t help paddle harder,” I would protest, holding up my weak girly arms as evidence. In the end we agreed I did not have the arms for surfing. I thought as much.
Elsewhere in Puerto Escondido, A was having the time of his life surfing at beaches for proper surfers. On the first day he hit Zicatela Beach, home of the Mexican pipeline, and spent a few hours catching the waves. The next day he went back, only to learn exactly why this beach is renowned among big wave surfers. With the sets rolling in at double- and triple-head high, it was only the pros out there. After spotting a few snapped leg ropes and broken boards, he made the wise decision to head to La Punta, a smaller break around the corner.
We fell into an easy routine at Puerto. Staying at a beachside apartment with Lisa and Ali , two girls we had met in Oaxaca, our day consisted of the following; wake up, eat, beach/surf/swim, afternoon nap, wake up, eat, beach/surf/swim, sleep. And of course the only place to sleep during the day is a hammock. We “got our hammock on” every day on the balcony for hours. It was in said hammock that I had the insightful epiphany that every home needs a hammock and made the resolution to ensure my next home is suitably outfitted with one.
We were only meant to stay in Puerto for four days. We ended up staying six, and even then we were debating whether or not our friends would miss us if we didn’t show up in Cuba as planned. In the end we decided they probably would, and so it was with some sadness that we said goodbye to Lisa & Ali, the hammocks and the beaches, and started a cross-Mexico dash to reach Cuba.