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9/8/2012 - 6:19

Surf in Reunion

Surfing at marina´s backyard
Surfing at marina´s backyard

  

One of the biggest fears of every surfer that spend a lot of time in the ocean is to face a shark. From this encounter, for sure the surfer won´t have good memories. He will be very lucky to get alive at all.

In general the ocean is a safe playground but there are places that offer a bigger risk than the others and unfortunately Reunion Island is one of these places. Come to Reunion can be a real dream for the surfer because of its formation and location in the Indian Ocean, a truly waves blessed place. But the dream can become a nightmare because of the growing number of sharks and attacks to surfers.

We´ve meet a group of Swedish surfers when we were in Maldives. During one of our chats we´ve told them that we were going to Reunion and they warned us about the growing number of shark attacks over there. From that moment on we started to get more worried about the situation. We already knew about it because we have a surf guide book on the boat and one of the bad points that they describe about Reunion is exactly the shark attacks. But we´ve been already in Australia that has the same shark problem and we got through without a big deal.

From Maldives we went to Mauritius, another great surf destination. The problem here wasn´t the sharks but a group of local surfers that claim the best surf spots for them and don´t allow foreigners to surf. Well I´m not wasting my time with this idiots anyway. With the proximity between Mauritius and Reunion, only 130 miles, we started to get more and more information about the surf and again the shark attack stories started to haunt us.

We did a research at the internet and found out that in 2011 they had 6 shark attacks in Reunion and 4 of those were fatal. Comparing the numbers of shark attacks between Reunion and Australia we got really worried because Australia has a much wider coast and many more surfers in the water than Reunion but still the numbers of shark attack are close by.

Even with all this numbers about shark attacks we were kind of easy going because in the end of the day the odds of you getting beaten by a shark are not that big at all. But all this tranquility went down the drain the day before we left Mauritius. We received the news of another fatal shark attack in Reunion!

When we got in Reunion the immigration officers came to the boat to grant the visas. As soon as they saw our surfboards they warned us about the shark factor. The first 2 days were quite wind, onshore wind, which made almost impossible to surf. On the third day the wind almost stopped and became offshore. I went to check the wave in front of the marina that we are staying and saw one guy out. I didn´t even think twice. Grabbed my surfboard and joined him. I could see that he was stoked to see me paddling out. From this day on I was surfing almost every day in this break in front of the marina. But for security reasons I never surf alone.

When you talk about surf in Reunion the main topic will always be St. Leu, by far the best wave in the island. Last Wednesday when the boys went for their trekking on the mountains I decide to jump on the bus with them and go to St. Leu. It was just to check it out I didn´t took my surfboard with me. I could see all the potential of the place and decided to get back next time to surf. But it needed to be with a good swell because to get there with a surfboard on the bus is a real mission.

The surf forecast was showing a pulse on the swell for Sunday and it could be the day to explore St. Leu. I woke up Sunday morning and checked the conditions in front of the marina. It wasn´t that good. I got undecided if I should go or not. Bruno was keen to go with me but his legs were still sore from the trekking. I also heard from a friend that the locals in St. Leu can be a bit tough and it was weekend so should be more people in the water. Also there are less busses running on Sunday which makes the journey even harder. So I decided not to go but I was the whole day thinking if I had made the wright choice.

On Monday morning, Jim our neighbor here in the marina dropped a bomb in our heads. He told us that the day before a surfer got attacked by a shark in St. Leu! Even that wasn´t a fatal attack the guy had extensive injures. He lost part of one leg and one hand. I got shocked because I almost went there to surf and it could happen to me. Even with all the bad news I was back in the water in the afternoon. A couple of surfers invited me for a session in the break in front of the marina. As the waves were good and I wasn´t going to be alone in the water I decided to go for it. I was the first one to paddle out and I have to confess that I was a bit scared to be there alone even for a few minutes. But as soon as the other ones joined me I relaxed and had a good session.

They say that the wave in front of the marina is safe never had an attack here before. But you can´t really relay on it because the last 2 attacks were in Trois-Bassin and St. Leu and it was the first time that an attack happened there. Most of the attacks have some similarities. They even happened in the end of the day, after 5 pm or after some strong rain fall that makes the water murk. As safety concern we never surf too early or in the end of the day. Also never stay in the water during or after rain and never surf alone.

In order to avoid further fatalities the local government prohibited the surf in the most dangerous breaks. We still allowed to surf in front of the marina. I kept on surfing but in the last days the wind became onshore, so no surf. We are getting ready to leave to Madagascar which seems a damn good idea right now. But if the surf gets better again and if there is more people out there I will go for it for sure. In the end surfing is what I love the most in this life.

I would rather die living the dream then live a long life in a nightmare!!!

 

Posted by Rasta

24/5/2012 - 21:55

Time to say goodbye


 

Life is full of meetings and goodbyes, and for us that are on this journey we live it with even more intensity. Normally its hard to leave behind the place we used to live and especially the friends that we have here, but at the same time heading to a new place and make new friends is one of the best feelings that this trip provides.

In the Maldives, the story is no different. It is true that we didn't make so many friends here, perhaps because religion is very restrict so we didn't know how to behave in certain moments, which left us a little inhibited. But overall there is pretty good people, always willing to help and give information without asking anything in return.

Before coming here the image I had was of a paradise with crystalline waters and pristine beaches. And that's exactly what we found. Certainly one of the most beautiful places I've ever been in my life, crystal clear waters and abundant marine life make the sea turn into a real natural aquarium, and of course lots of good waves were part of everyday life since we got here.

I believe that life doesn't get much simpler than what we lived here. It was a period of peace and tranquility of mind, where perhaps the greatest adventure of the day was deciding which waves we would take of.

I think it was Gustavo who once said there's no point being in the most beautiful place in the world if we are alone, when we remember a place we remember the people we met there. I fully agree with what he said, heaven won't be the same if we are there alone.

When I think of the places we've been till now I automatically remember the friends we made there, and these are my best memories of the place. But with the Maldives the story changed, perhaps because we are already traveling among best friends. When I think of Maldives I will remember the simple life, peace of mind and of course a lot of surfing.

Mauritius here we go just 1500 miles in our way!!!

Posted by Rasta

18/5/2012 - 1:52

Blowing the candles


Tuesday 15th of may, 2012, I´ve heard and read at the internet that today is a special day for me because its my birthday.

To be honest I’m not the kind of guy that cares a lot for it, don´t know why, maybe cause I believe that just being alive and happy is already enough to celebrate. I don’t mind that people forget about my birthday. I don’t put it at the internet but its good to get a hug and messages from friends.

This birthday was really special for me. It´s the first one that I celebrate onboard Canela. It was so cool to see the guys going that extra mile to pleasure me and to make sure that I had a perfect day. Their effort wasn’t in vain, I will remember this day forever not just because we had such a good surf but specially cause I could once again see how much they like me.

We have an old say in Brasil: "I would happily die today". Well I wouldn´t happily die cause I believe that I still have a lot to live, but I would die very proud of each one of the brothers onboard. Not just for today but for all that we lived now and for what still have to come.

Dream that we dream together is reality!!!

Posted by Rasta

8/5/2012 - 20:51

Salonpas


We still at Laamu atoll in the south Maldives, anchored in front of a wave called Ying Yang. Who doesn´t know Ying Yang is a Chinese tale that says that we got 2 sides, a good one Ying and a bad one Yang.

Since we got here we get to see Yang a lot. On the first day the bad one, Yang, broke Kowalsky´s board. But to be honest we had a lot of good moments with the good brother, Ying, as well which is enough to put a big smile in our faces in the end of the day. Ying gave us such good waves and also some nice barrels. Augusto is ready for his retirement, he used to say that he just wanted to get one barrel then he would give up surfing. So he got a barrel today but I think that he loved the feeling so much that he will never give up.

It´s not all flowers, Yang been showing he´s teeth as well. Good part of the crew are just like mummies, covered in salonpas, those tapes used as pain killer. Trying to get some sick barrels the crew didn´t pay much attention to Yang and the bad dude just rubbed us on the reef. Luckily the reef is not sharp otherwise we would be much worst. None of us got cuts just the pain from the impact. Some have salonpas on their arms, others in the hand and even in the butt there´s people needing.

We are learning to deal with Yang, during the day he´s in a bad mood so the wave ins not good. Then after lunch time, with a full belly, Ying show up and the happiness overcome and the waves get much better and the crew just go for it. But watch out for Yang cause he doesn´t forgive and the salonpas stock is getting short.

Posted by Rasta

8/5/2012 - 2:53

Surfer Bruna


Interesting how we get inspiration to do certain things in life. For a long time that I´ve been thinking about keep my blog update but I just kept thinking about it and never actually did it. Since I joined this trip and had my blog done I just wrote once and didn’t even translate it to English, such a lazy guy. At certain moments the crew pressured me to write something and all became a big joke as usual on board.

During the first 2 months in Australia I kept a travel log but as soon as we arrived in Indonesia I stopped writing it, maybe I was too busy surfing. I know that its not an excuse. For months I didn’t wrote the travel log and event wrote anything on the website.

A couple of days ago I was watching a movie, Surfer Bruna, and got an inspiration from it. Hold on, I didn´t decided to sell my body or snore cocaine as the movies protagonist, hehehehe. But I could see how she could reach a lot of people with her blog and it wasn’t just people interested in having sex with her. There was a lot of people that was just interested about her life and routine. So I realized that I should write more often.

My aim is not to reach hundreds of people, it would be nice, but I want to keep family and friends updated with our adventures and desadventures and live a bit of our dream with us.

I swear that I´ll do my best to keep the blog update, let´s see what happens.

Posted by Rasta


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