Archive for March, 2013

Langosta 2After a day of tearing my hair out once more at the all too frequent IT issues I’m experiencing on this trip I meet up with the family and drive us all down the dirt road to Playa Langosta which is just around the headland, but more exposed to the swell as a result of that. Doren is on child minding detail first, whilst Micheala who is two months pregnant grabs their board and paddles out with me. From where we have parked next to an exclusive resort we have to cross a fast moving stream to get to the break on the other side and I have a moment of mild panic when I think I have lost the pregnant lady to the strong current. Not to worry however because Micheala has just been washed out past me and then proceeds to catch about four waves before I have even caught one!

DCIM100GOPROThe wind is still howling offshore and paddling for a wave feels like people are throwing buckets of water in your face. It also blows the front of the board up making getting onto the waves quite difficult. I did bag a few shoulder high waves though, and this picture would suggest it was far better than it actually was.

DCIM101GOPRODoren paddled out after the baton of child minding had been exchanged and the two of us enjoyed the fact that we could actually catch something unlike the session we had experienced at the start of the day.

Not the best surf again but the break gets a special mention for the sunset we were surfing under.

danish-flag580We all head back and after dropping off the others I spend the evening cooking for two Danish girls staying at the same place as me called Mie & Line who are skint. I had stocked my fridge with supplies and was glad of sharing them with the two teenagers, because I could never eat all the fresh stuff I had bought to ensure I enjoyed a decent home cooked meal for the first time in ages. They also liked the taste of some European food even if it did take more than two hours to prepare due to the crap electric stove in the kitchen here and the power cut we experienced half way through cooking!

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Tamarino Beach 1

I am seconds from the beach and grab my board first thing in the morning to go down there. It is still massively windy, but it doesn’t really matter because the surf is appallingly small. I almost feel guilty claiming this as one of my waves because I only actually surfed one wave and that was for two seconds at best. They are clean waves and the wind is offshore but if they were as big as a foot I would be amazed!

wpid-IMAG0011.jpgOn the positive side I had met a bloke from Vancouver (there are Canadians everywhere in Central America) called Doren as I walked down for this epic session and after telling him about my journey the two of us have a laugh in the ‘surf’ and I am using that term as loosely as I can. Doren has work to do and I’m not sticking around for long so we get out, and I’m introduced to his wife Micheala and their two lovely kids as we walk back up the beach.

We arrange to meet up later and try another beach which should be more exposed to the swell on offer at the moment.

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Windmills 4

It is a really windy day on my way from Nicaragua to Costa Rica. This is all well and good for the wind turbines lining the shores of Lagos Nicaragua as I drive towards the border, but once past the lake it is resulting in never ending dust blasting through my open windows from the open plains.

Border Queue

At the border I drive past the usual line of trucks to the front of the queue. I’m not sure why this is acceptable but apparently it is so I go with it. As usual I am set upon by hawkers offering to exchange my cash or help me through the border process as soon as my car slows down. My polite ‘no thanks I’m good’ is rarely enough at the first time of asking, and I have to brush them off as usual, generally by breaking into a quick walk towards one of the official buildings, where sooner or later I figure it out.

It is the same painful process as usual, queues, paperwork, paying municipal tolls, thinking you have it all done only to get turned back right at the end on some grail quest for a certain stamp or piece of paper. The thermometer in the car is registering above 45C for the whole process and I am glad to be heading into Costa Rica after the two hours suffering in the heat at the border.

costa-rica-police-forceAlmost immediately there is a police checkpoint, but they are very polite and only want to ensure that everything is in order. The car gets searched, but there isn’t anything to find and I am sent on my way without issue and arrive in Tamarindo about an hour or so before it gets dark giving me plenty of time to find a place to stay.

AntI get a cabana with a kitchen 20 seconds from the beach but turn down the first one I am offered because some ants seem to be using it for a party and there was a parade going on across the pillow I was supposed to be sleeping on. The ants are each twice the size of anything I have ever seen in the UK so unsurprisingly I don’t fancy sharing my bed with them.

I go out for a few drinks and to check out the town.

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Costa Rica MapCosta Rica has become quite the darling of the surfing world in recent years because it has surf on both coasts, excellent climate, political stability and a gorgeous climate.

There are loads of surf camps and gucci surf resorts here so I have allowed myself a few weeks here and am hoping to score some epic waves along the way. Time will tell if I get what I am hoping for.

COSTA-RICA-FlagI still have to have one eye on getting quickly to Panama, but because so many of my friends have been surfing here and always come back with good reports I am keen to make the most of my time here to build up my tolerance reserves before the administrative nightmare that will be waiting for me when I try to sell the car in Panama.

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Tuc Tuc SpoilerThere are a lot of Tuc-Tucs in use throughout Central America.

Most have not been modified more than a bright paint job.

However I saw this one while driving through the Honduran border which had me chuckling away and was a welcome relief to the overpowering heat.

The picture was taken from a moving vehicle so please excuse that it doesn’t capture the whole of the vehicle, but check out that spoiler.

He is going to need that down force I’m sure! Maybe he wants to wheelie the thing?

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MapOn my way to Costa Rica I drive back to the main road which runs alongside Lagos Nicaragua, which is the largest lake in Central America and used to be part of the Pacific Ocean until some seismic event a long while back.

Over the last millenia or so this has resulted in evolutionary developments unique to the body of water, such as the fresh water sharks that live there.

I would love to be able to spend some time here but the road south is always calling me along  this leg of my travels.

Isla de Ometepe VocanoesI do stop for a while on the shore though to check out the Isla de Ometepe which is located in the middle of the lake. It boasts the two volcanoes, Concepcion and Madira which you see here

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Chicken Bus 1I am amazed that there are any school buses left in the USA!

All though Central America they are the standard form of transport, and are known as Chicken buses because you often will see a crate of the feathered birds strapped precariously to the roof.

I saw one such crate fall off one in Nicaragua only to be immediately blitzed by the pickup truck between me and it in an explosion of feathers.

Antigua-chicken-busThey are usually decorated in riotous colours although not so much the further south I have travelled.

This one I saw in Guatemala, where they are driven by maniacs who are only interested in doing their standard route as many times as they can during a day. I struggled to pull away from one on the Pan American highway, eventually giving up because of his driving right up the back of me doing about 85mph down a twisting mountain descent!

Batman BusFor some reason the three most common themes for decorating the buses throughout the continent are Batman, The Transformers and messages praising Jesus or God. I have no idea why that may be.

I have not used one yet, but have previously ridden something similar in China where they also cram an additional 20 people on just when you think it couldn’t possibly hold anything or anybody else.

I don’t know much about their safety record but suspect it is not that good!

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William WalkerSince being in Central America I have been reading quite a lot about William Walker who seems to have lived quite an extraordinary life. Marlon Brando portrayed him in the 1969 film ‘Burn!’ which I have not seen

The rest I have lifted from Wikipedia because I have too much writing to do, but I would recommend you take the time to read about him.

(May 8, 1824 – September 12, 1860) who was an American doctor, lawyer, journalist and adventurer, who organized several private military expeditions into Latin America, with the intention of establishing English-speaking colonies under his personal control, an enterprise then known as “filibustering.”

Walker became president of the Republic of Nicaragua in 1856 and ruled until 1857, when he was defeated by a coalition of Central American armies, principally Costa Rica’s army. He was executed by the government of Honduras in 1860.

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HarbourI have based myself in San Juan del Sur for the last three nights I am staying in Nicaragua.

It is a real tourist town, which is particularly full of Americans and Canadians who have flown down here to enjoy Spring Break or the Easter week. There are loads of surfers and surf shops knocking about too.

LGSM at Coco Azul

The dollar is universally accepted here and is even offered from some of the cash points as an alternative to the local Cordobas.

The town lines a beautiful sheltered bay, and is very busy during the holiday season so I was lucky to find a great room at the Hotel El Coco Azul (www.elcocazul.com) where I can keep a watchful eye on the bug because my very comfortable room overlooks the street. However it is not necessary because the security guard here practically sits next to it all night for me to make sure nobody is misbehaving.

It is steaming hot on most days that I am here because there is no wind at all. That is great when you are surfing but in town it means that I am sweating lying still under the fans inside my room.

Henry's IguanaI am away from town at the beach during the day but have made Henry’s Iguana Beach Bar my evening hangout (www.iguanabeachbar.com )once I have freshened up each day. I like the food here and there is live sport to keep me amused. Drinking at the bar I met a few people here, but nobody more lovely than an Australian called Gemma who I met on my first night in town. We get on famously but rather typically of my luck with such things, Cinderella has to get back to the Corn Islands where she is currently based and has to leave before things can get interesting.

Sunset 11The town has been a fantastic place to stop, and has allowed me to bag some classic Nicaraguan waves, but it will soon be time to move on again.

I have just enough time for one more of the amazing sunsets here.

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DCIM101GOPRO

I take another shuttle bus from San Juan del Sur out to a staggering bad road down to Playa Medera, which is supposed to be the best break around the town. this time I was travelling with Mario from Surf Nica Waves (www.surfnicawaves.com )

First impressions were that it was mobbed and even if there was plenty of eye candy knocking about looking fantastic in their swimwear there were certainly too many people in the water for the waves which are not as good as the ones I scored the day before at Hermosa. 

DCIM100GOPRO

I travelled to the beach with a fun couple from Calgary in Canada called Gerald and Jenny and they are kind enough to keep a watchful eye on my stuff when I paddle out into the line up.

This picture is a great shot of me bursting through one of the waves and you can see the beach behind me which is lined with golden sand. 

DCIM100GOPROMy tan is sufficiently good now that I do not need to wear a rash vest to protect me from the sun so I am just in shorts for this session.

I dont know if it is for that reason but I am on fire today bagging the best rides that I saw caught by anybody in the water. I am getting whooped and hollered as I charge down the line of one. You can see me and my belly having fun in this shot, which was taken just before I nearly landed a floater of top of somebody. His duck dive was as good as it needed to be so no harm was done.

DCIM101GOPROA great day and a fantastic surf for my last session in Nicaragua.

I even saw another suspiciously big fish in the water and you can see me trying to explain that I had seeen a Tiburon (Spanish for Shark) between us and the beach to one of the locals

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