Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Surf Trek

Since we have gotten back to the island from our trip North we have been itching to get out on our boards and catch some waves.  We are slowly coming into the season when Plum Bay has some nice waves and we are getting a little antsy.  I have been watching all the websites (that have surf break info) and the storms in the Atlantic and thought we might have a chance for some action on Sunday - with Ophelia hanging around to our east.  We snagged our surfer friend/neighbor Doci and headed out early to check out Plum. We had even done a drive by the evening before and there appeared to be some potential.  We loaded up the car (Mike included) and headed out.  First stop hmmmm not good - with all the chaotic weather systems going on any waves coming in to Plum were canceling each other out.  I counted waves coming from 3 different directions - so odd.  Well the data suggested Friars bay had some potential and we have never seen this one break - OK, lets check it out - why not?  We made our way down to the beach - hmmmm even worse - FLAT as a pancake.  WELL - this leaves one option - Le Galion (there are other options but not ones that I will risk mine and my families safety on).  The reason we had not headed to Le Galion in the first place was that it was supposed to be TOO BIG.  Maybe the data would be wrong AGAIN and it would be the perfect size for us.........  As we drove down the hill to the Le Galion turn off I spied A LOT of white I have never seen before.  Was I looking in the right spot?  Hmmm maybe not.....  WELL - we parked and got out - we could hear it right away.  As we looked out from the beach there was a little bit of silence.  It was big, REALLY big.  What do we do?  Well do we want to paddle out?  Three of us surfing that day decided yes we are up for that.  Are we ok with the size?  Well we can stick to the end of the waves along the channel and they are smaller and you have a close out if we need one.  As we looked through the camera lens we saw people getting hammered, even in the white water they were getting slammed - big guys on big boards.  HMMMM - So does this mean when we get slammed we will be hitting the reef?  (we have never surfed at Le Galion in these size of waves before and we have hit our feet on the reef even when the waves were small)  It came down to 3 options - 1. Go with it - paddle out and if it is too much paddle back - even without surfing that is a huge workout as there was a strong current  2.  Wait 30 minutes and see if the boat is going out and what Sebastians opinion would be - almost guarantee he would say not a good idea as it is soooo big and waste the 30 minutes waiting for this decision. and 3.  Be ok with it being too big and that we won't surf today.  After evaluating the situation we agreed to give it up for the day - as much as we REALLY wanted to get out in the water and have a good time it would not be the smartest decision considering the conditions.  We figured we were already at Le Galion we might as well go home the fun way and stop at the Sea Urchin spot for a peek and to check out the waves from the other side.

when we saw the waves from the other side it just confirmed we were ok with our decision.  this was one of the smaller waves and through a telephoto lens far away.

the waves were crashing wildly into the rocks on the other side of the bay.

tell tale signs of some strong currents and messy waves - clumpings of sea weed coming in, frothy, foamy water and the mist coming off the waves as they crash down.

the sea urchin side of the bay - this a natural reserve and you can walk to the little islands

this part of the island reminds us of california - rough and rocky

it all came into perspective when we saw the size of the guy in front of the wave - the wave towered over him (no - not like crazy big wave surfers but for us they were huge). no regrets regarding our decision.

the island on the left is a perfect spot for a picnic on the backside and if you are lucky you will catch some surfers riding the big waves

a better idea of how far away the waves were

when we walked over to check out the sea urchins and look for star fish we were greeted by the "Sea Urchin Man" - also goes by the name of Calvin.  he was happy to show us the different sea urchins and help us hold them - they really do not poke you and they walk across your hand.

unfortunately we experienced a major photo fail on this trip and the battery went dead (I know, I know - I have 2 batteries for this very reason  - I was trying to downsize my gear and brought the small camera bag and forgot the extra battery) - SO what did this mean - we missed photos of the cool brown speckled eel we saw, the sea star we held, the white sea urchin that Calvin prepared for Doci to eat (a really cool process even though you could never pay me enough to eat anything of the sort) and finally a photo of Doci EATING the raw Sea Urchin - now that was entertaining.  She said she wished she had some crackers to go with it. HMMMM - NEVER.  We took home our beach treasures and I snagged photos there.

a sea urchin shell bleached out by the sun

crab shell

anyone know what the 5 dark lines coming from the center represent?

this is the shell of the white sea urchin that Doci ate

these are the 5 teeth that correspond with the 5 dark lines on the shell - I had no idea that sea urchins had such large teeth 

so - there you have it - our surf trek turned unexpected island adventure. lesson (or 2) of the day - even if you have set plans they may change, be flexible it is more fun and there may be an unexpected super fun adventure just waiting.  How could anyone be bored on this island?  Even without money (which is the case for all of us AUC folks) there is so much to see, explore, do and experience.  Like the boys said - if we had gone surfing we would never had seen Doci eat a raw sea urchin!!!!!!!!!!!  Sometimes the unexpected is the most fun!!!!!!!!!


  1. Those urchins are so cool! I cannot believe that they don't feel poky walking on your hand like that. I'm not sure I could stomach urchin...I guess I'd have to try it and see, but that's not high on my to-do list haha! And I had no idea they had such scary teeth.

    Glad you opted out of the waves, the pic with the surfers makes them look just huge. Fun day!

  2. those pictures are awesome!

    no! but, i want to hear this story! well, i have to read quickly because i made a goal to read 50 books this year and i'm behind by eight books! :)

  3. Yay for Canadian blog friends!! Thanks for stopping by my blog! It's so cool that you are experiencing living in St. Marteen! I have always wanted to go there. Your photos look incredible. Can't wait to read more about your journey!

  4. That looks so much fun! Those pics are unreal!! I wish I could hang them in my house they are so good.

    Get UP & Go

  5. Whit - we will catch up and chat about island gossip soon.
    Christina - thanks for reading my blog - you should come visit here for sure - there are direct flights from TO on westjet.
    Sarah - thanks for the photo compliments - it is a hobby which makes it fun!!!!