Ok so we’ve been offline for a while, the internet has been down and we’ve been a bit slack with updating this blog.
Anyway here we are in Puerto Escondido in the state of Oaxaca. It’s really cool here, very laid back and friendly. We arrived at the end of the Easter weekend and have been staying at a place called Swiss Oasis. It is a nice little place, only has 8 rooms and the owners live here in their house – Manuela and her husband Rene. They are really nice people Manuela is fluent in Spanish, English, French, German and of course Swiss. She is very helpful offering heaps of advice to us about the place, where to eat and how to get around etc. They had travelled for years before falling in love with Puerto – so they purchased and renovated this place.
The rooms are neat and tidy with an en-suite, ceiling fan, front and rear balcony, no TV or air con but very comfortable. Ours has a Queen size bed and then a small mezzanine floor with a single bed up there too. There is a communal kitchen, pool, court yard / entertaining area and well maintained gardens.
Puerto is home to the world-famous ‘Mexican Pipeline’ on Zicatela beach – and Swiss Oasis is right across the road from it. This is a crazy beach break that holds swell of up to 10m! We’ve seen it at around 3m which is still like 12 -15ft face waves so 10m would be psycho! The big wave season is later in the year around July / August. The locals say you stand on the beach and feel the earth shake as the waves break. Because it is a beach break it is only about 50m out to sea breaking on a sand bar about 2m deep – experienced surfers and fools only!
There are so many other good waves around however. I have been surfing La Punta which is a left hand point at the south end of Zicatela. It’s a fun wave but can get really crowded and you have to fight pretty hard some days for waves.
Tina has been surfing Carrizallio which is a really nice beach. Its setup like a small bay with perfect long board waves breaking on either point. She has been getting at least 3 lessons a week and has moved from an 11ft mal down to a 7ft mini mal and is surfing really good.
There are a few other beaches we’ve managed to surf and are starting to learn which winds suit which beach. Tina’s instructor is a local surfer named Miguel and he has turned out to be a champion bloke. He is 30 years old and just loves the ocean. We have been hanging out with him quite a bit. We’ve had a couple of meals with him and his wife (Adi) and friends. It seems as though he has made it his person mission to take us around and surf all of his favourite waves in the area – hell we’re not complaining, like I said top bloke!
We’ve met quite a few other travellers as you’d expect. When we turned up to Swiss Oasis there were a Kiwi couple from Wellington – Tom and Penelope staying here. A few days later another of their friends Henry arrived. They had all just spent a season snowboarding Canada and had made their way down here for some sunshine. They all surf.
So we’ve hung out with those guys a fair bit. Along Zicatela there are heaps of beach bars and restaurants that look out over the ocean. We have found some really good food. Puerto in spanish means Port and at the end of Zicatela is a headland that forms a protected bay were all the local fisherman operate out of. So there is an abundance of fresh seafood which we have been making the most of. You can find some really cheap but good meals around and there is also the top places to eat at – most of the large resorts have fine dinning. However we have come to realise that the best food is mostly the cheaper places that the locals frequent.
There is a small Cafe called Mangos about 30 seconds walk from Swiss Oasis that do the best fruit and veggie juices. The food is real good too. Tina and I have often walked away from there completely satisfied and still have change out of 200 pesos (less than $15). We usually head there each morning with the kiwis early for a juice and check the surf. We have found a couple of other little favourites that we seem to keep returning to.
While in Mexico City we met a guy from Adelaide named Dan. He moved in to the same hostel a night or 2 before we left. He was heading off to a couple of different place to us but was heading to Puerto eventually also. Anyway he tracked us down on Facebook and let us know he was in Puerto.
We arranged to catch up with him for a feed 1 night at a place down the fishing boat end called Grottos. Manuela recommended this place and we were not disappointed. It was predominantly a seafood place and I ordered a half pineapple filled with seafood (brilliant!) Tina ordered a chicken Mole’. Mole is a dish local to this area there are a few different varieties, the 1 Tina had was very dark (Mole’ is the sauce) it had like an almost chocolate taste to it. Maybe not our favourite but well worth trying. We’ll have to give the others ago too – I think they do a red and green 1.
After dinner that night we were all real full so we decided to work it off a bit and walk the beach on the way home – about 15 mins via the sand.
We have had a few drinks at a little bar on the beach that we call the Skull bar (not sure of its real name) it has a skull out the front and a couple of coffins around the back on posts either side of a deck. The bar itself is just a small round bamboo and timber structure with a rickety old deck and palm tree leaf roof. It is in amongst some fairly nice restaurants but this place has two large speakers and just pumps rock and metal music all night! It’s funny as, while these couples and families are eating their meals this small little bar is pumping out Guns n Roses, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue etc right next door!
Anyway as we’re walking back along the beach that night we get to the skull bar and figured we’ll head in for a beer to break the walk up. There were 4 white people sitting at the bar and with hopes they weren’t gringos in we went. We were in luck they were 4 Aussies from Merimbula – Clay, his sister Tess, his girlfriend Emma and their friend Steve. All had and awesome night with these guys they were real funny and very much like us. They had all made their way down from Canada snowboarding through the US to Mexico for a surf. It was cool to hang out with some Aussies and hear about their travels, but they were all heading off in a couple of days so we knocked around with ’em for a couple of days before they headed back to OZ.
There are a few tours for tourists to do around Puerto. We organised to go on a turtle and lagoon tour. By this stage Dan had moved into our room up on the mezzanine for his last few nights – which worked out good making it a little cheaper for us. A Canadian girl named Brandi had moved into the Swiss Oasis too and she was a biologist over here to study Spanish and do some bird watching or whatever. There is also a Dutch lady Coco that has moved into the room below us.
So 4 of us (Tina, Dan, the Canadian and myself) headed off on this tour. It kicked off at 6:30pm and we headed straight to a beach where this Mexican guy lives for 7 months of the year collecting turtle eggs from all over, then hatching them on the beach in man made nests then releasing them. When we arrived we found out the turtles he was due to release that night had died. Apparently they had some how been starved of oxygen in their nest.
He did have a tub with about 25 -30 baby turtles in it for a school group to release the next day, however sensing our disappointment he decided to get 5 out for tonight. So we took them down the beach to the water’s edge and he drew a line in the sand – the five turtles were set down on the line then the race was on. They all headed towards the water and were getting pounded by the waves, but one by one were washed out into the ocean. Turtle man (I can’t remember his name) was telling us that only 25% that make it to the water will survive.
After that we headed to the lagoon. It was interesting, our tour guide named Job was just talking on his phone the whole time in spanish so we just talked amongst ourselves. Anyway we got to the lagoon and Job grabbed a spot light while we read a bit of info on the lagoon, which is called Manglar lagoon and has an amazing amount of bird life living in the mangroves that surround the water. There is also a huge amount of fish and some crocodiles living there too.
We all got into a boat and headed of. Job was driving the boat and spotting birds with the torch for us. It got real funny because he just kept on pointing the same bird – Great Blue Heron. Every bird we saw was a Great Blue Heron, Tina and I were laughing so hard at him, then he got back on the phone so he’s driving along and talking while spotting the birds and every 30 seconds or so yells out “Great Blue Heron”.
It was now completely dark and Job finally puts down the phone and asks us if we’ve seen the movie Avatar? We all say yeah and he says “look in the water – Avatar!”
We look over the edge and next minute there is a green / yellow glowing flash. Then another and then I noticed the splash that the boat was making was all glowing too. It was Luminescent Phosphorescence, which is a sparkly plankton which has entered the lagoon through its connection with the ocean. It was crazy to see, every fish or little critter in the water would create a glow with every movement. We could put our hands in the water and it would all start glowing then when you pull your arm out all the water would be glowing as it beaded on your skin – unreal!
Next Job cuts the engine and says “jump in”. After he assured us that there were no man eating crocs in the lagoon we got in. This was freaky! as you swim around your whole body glows. We could swim at each other under water and you’d just see this big glow coming at you, it was really something else!
After that we headed back to the shore, on the way we were lucky enough to see some Great Blue Herons! Hahahaha.
We organised a fishing trip with one of the local fishermen the next morning. He had caught a 3.5m , 250kg Marlin a couple of days earlier. We were out of luck that day however, we were out for about 5 hrs and got nothing! We did see heaps of turtles and the Dolphins were hanging around the boat playing which was really cool – probably scared all the fish off. When we got back to shore it seems it wasn’t just us but hardly any of the fishermen had got anything – must have just been one of those days.
Next it was back to the ever reliable Miguel for a road trip. He had been telling us about a surf spot worth checking out called Chacahua. So he organised a car from his friend and at 6 in the morning Tina, Brandi, Coco and I joined Miguel for the day at Chacahua. To get there we had to drive about an hour to another lagoon then jump in a boat and cross it, through the mangroves to the coast on the other side.
This was another great spot. It is in a national park, so there is not much there apart from a fishing village. There is a break wall along either side of the river that connects the lagoon to the ocean. Waves break off the wall to the right and run about 200m along the beach. It was a long paddle out but I got some really good long waves so it was worth it.
We had lunch had a sleep in the hammocks and just hung out there for the day. It was pretty cool and I think we may head back again before we leave Mexico.
Anyway that brings us up to date so stay tuned.