La Punta has been going off for almost a week now. The wave is pretty incredible, rolling left forever if you are man enough to catch it at her breaking point. She is a finicky one with a thousand of little tricks that she can pull out of her hat at any time. Usually working on a good northern swell at low tide, lately, she has been working at almost any tide and even on a south-western swell. Lepirate was craving for some juicy waves for weeks! He has been served lately! Reconnecting with the ocean was kind of hard at the beginning after over a month on dry land. He kind of went out of shape and definitely lost some reflex and muscle memory.
On his first day at La Punta, few little rides, no more than a taster of what that wave can be when it’s really firing. He paddled for a small set really close to the rocks. The current running in between ‘’las piedras’' can be treacherous. He learned it the hard way that day. The waves push him towards a dry slab of sharp rocks. He holds on to his board and hope for the best and expected the worst. The rock like a cheese rasp scraped the bottom of his board, his knuckles, his shins and his heels. Lucky enough, he surfaced after the tumble on a relatively flat part of rocks. The still incoming waves bashed him a couple more time in the really shallow water. When the ocean finally stopped to catch up her breath, Lepirate assessed the damages. His foot hurt like a mother fucker, blood is running from his left knuckle and both his shins. Time to look at the board, the top part is just fine but once flipped upside down, a real carnage… Only 1 fin is still holding, the 2 others one have been ripped off and broke the fins boxes on their way out. There are at least 6-7 holes in the base of the board. The rails are dinged in several places and the tail is crack open from one rail to the other (The tail has been broke about a year ago after a bad wipeout in Sombrio BC and has been holding since his repair) Laughing for not crying at his misfortune, Lepirate made his way back to his tent.
He took the rest of the day off, chilling in a hammock and letting the board dry so he can fix it. After a closer look, he decided that there was no point in fixing it no more. The good old Super Fish is beyond repair. Especially down in Ecuador where there is no way he can find some fin boxes and epoxy resin to get the job done…
On his arrival at La Punta a few days ago, he met a guy named Mercer, which happen to be from Hampton Beach. This place is well known by Lepirate, he has been going down there for over a decade, first to learn to surf and after to chase swells and hurricanes. Mercer helped him finding a place to camp for cheap, right next to the water. But he also offered him to sell him an almost new surfboard to replace his latest Super Fish.
The week after the incident, was nothing but surfing, taking advantage of a north swell (supposedly the last one of the season). Lepirate got to know the wave a little bit better. It can be a pretty tricky one, especially with the amount of people that are waiting for one of those odd long rides… Still, he pulled in some bombs that rolled forever. He definitely got his stoke back on and wipe out the last events of his trip that cost him a surfboard and also a fair amount to cover the fees of his first real motorcycle accident. (Lady hit the brakes on the highway and he hit the back of her car destroying her bumper…The Beast was fairly fine but he has to pay 350$us for the lady’s insurance.)
His new friend, Mercer has a cacao farm in the jungle and he invited Lepirate to come pitch his tent if he wants. Hard to say no to something like staying in the Ecuadorian jungle. When the swell died down, it was time for the boys to get to work. There is a lot to do on Mercer’s property to get it up and running. They work for a bit on a rain collection system, did some cleaning around, burning some scrap wood, building a platform for water cistern and planning the next projects.
Mercer ended up cutting himself on a rusty piece of barbwire. After a few days, his foot was looking really bad, swollen and infected. Many people advised him to get himself a tetanus shot and to go see a proper doctor. Lepirate offered him a ride to Muisne hospital so he can get his wound looked at. It was fairly overcast and humid. A strong chance of shower on the way but they didn't expect nor were prepared for a proper tropical rain storm. It started with a light drizzle and quickly change into a torrential piss poor! They stopped to put phones and wallet in the ‘’waterproof’’ side cases. They start laughing, this is ridiculous… The phones were soaked, the wallets were dripping wet…
Mercer: This is retarded!
Lepirate: Welcome to my life on the bike, I'm kind of use to it by now…
They roll off for another few minutes and they had to stop again. A tree has fallen in the street blocking the whole way. Another car is there, Lepirate pick-up is hatchet and starts chopping the branches to make it easier to clear the way. They clear the path and continued their way up to another road block. ''A real shit show'' they are thinking. The wind makes the top of the trees dancing. While clearing the other blockage, Lepirate was yelled at to be careful with falling branches. As they pass under the trees in the cleared path, the top of a tree felt right behind them. ‘’Just another day on the road’’ Lepirate thought. They arrived in Muisne, soaked, freezing and a little bit de-oriented. Mercer went on to find the hospital while Lepirate waited and be told to move is bike 3-4 times so the buses can turn around at the end of the road. He took advantage of this spare time to go fill up the tank of The Beast. Still, in a screaming storm and shivering, he found a gas station. But apparently, it doesn’t work. But some dudes are selling petrol off a big drum right next to the station. It’s most likely shit gas, but it’s better than no gas… The dude funnel down a gallon of fuel for a 1.50$us…
Lepirate: Cuanto cuesta por gallon?
Petro guy: Un dollar cincuenta
Lepirate: Dos cincuenta?
Pedro guy: Un cincuenta!
Cheaper than the petrol station… Ecuadorian knows how to do business! (maybe not) Lepirate drove back through the rough, mud puddle, trash flooded road toward the main street where he left Mercer on the corner. Lepirate is drenched, the rain is relentless and finding a covered parking seem pointless. He finally thinks, ‘’Fuck it’’, rolled on the sidewalk under an overhanging roof in front of the ‘’Notaria’' office. Parked The Beast and went to look for a place to grab ‘’almuerzo’’.
Muisne which had been hit by a severe earthquake the year before. To this day, the place still looks pretty post-apocalyptic. Maybe it would be better if the people wouldn’t have assassinated their mayor a few years ago and being living without a government since then… The place is in really bad ‘’estado’’, semi-collapse buildings, debris, constructions sites, refugees tents… He looked around for a lunch place and found absolutely nothing. Can’t even find a place to have a hot coffee to kill the shivering that invaded his bones. He ended up grabbing some vanilla cakes and a Powerade from a corner store. ‘’That will do for the moment’’ he thought… For almost 2 hours he waited, shivering the cold away, trying to dry is clothing and anticipating a cold rainy return to the jungle house. Two locals came to talk with Lepirate and inquire I’m about his journey and wondering what the hell he is doing in Muisne under the rain. They chat for a few minutes, the usual questions, how much, how long, where??? He is getting pretty use to it with time. It’s almost like reciting a written text or playing a record. He went on telling that he is waiting for his friend which is at the hospital on the island of Muisne. ‘’Tu amigo esta regresendo pienso’’ said the local dude. Lepirate turned around, on the sidewalk on the other side of the street, out of the construction site, in a mist of rain, Mercer is there. Wearing a hospital robe, a bandage around his foot and with the biggest smile on his face. He his the funniest thing he has seen in a while. He thought watching two dogs fucking on the street and getting stuck to each other while traffic is making his way around the clueless dogs was a pretty funny event. But the sight of Mercer was pretty classic. Apparently, he had a funny experience on the island. Boat across the river, shivering, hospital, open back robe to warm him up, clean the wound, taxi to go buy a tetanus shot at the pharmacy, no clue what to do with the needle and the medicine, taxi back to the hospital, ask the nurse to help him out with that, bend over drop your pants, shot up the butt cheek, beg to keep the robe because he is freezing, compassion from the nurse, keeping the robe, figured out he lost is favourite cap in the swirl of events, taxied around to find it, can’t find it, boat back to the mainland, looking like he just evaded from a mental institute… Lepirate just couldn’t stop laughing for a while. The scene was straight out of a funny movie.
The way back was a little dryer but still a hint of rain while they were closing the gap with the ‘’Finca’’. They decided to stop to grab a real ‘’almuerzo’’ in a small town close by. The town has three whore houses and probably a population of 500 persons… It’s an interesting place to keep it simple. They definitely don’t blend in there, driving a Mad Max looking motorcycle with a guy wearing a flashy blue hospital robe. A good ''almuerzo'' of fried chicken, rice, beans, salad and french fries for 3$us to seal the adventure to the hospital and have a good laugh.
Later, sitting on the third floor of the bamboo house in the jungle. Lepirate’s mind started wandering. Looking back into his last months of travels and his last adventure to the hospital. He is getting so used to that kind of things. It doesn’t impress him so much anymore. Just another day on the road he is thinking.
On this day, the 10 of April 2017, it has been 2 years, 24 months, 104 weeks, 730 days,17520 hours, 1051200 minutes or 63072000 seconds. A while since he rolled off his parent's driveway from the small town of Waterloo Québec. Some 35000Km later he is now staying in the Ecuadorian Jungle, surfing world class waves. The amount of things he had done and seen among these last two years, he has a hard time remembering a quarter of it. He overcomes so many bad weather days of riding, so many crashes, mechanics issues… it just became a day to day reality. He is not worried about it has much as he was at the beginning of his adventure. He definitely learned a lot on the road, about himself but also about the world and his inhabitant. The miles forged his characters and made him stronger than he ever been.
Lately, he has been thinking a lot about the outcome of that great journey. He won so much by taking this leap of faith into the unknown. He is richer than he was, not money wise but experience wise. A thing that money just can’t buy and that you have to live by yourself. He imagines himself at an older age thinking about that motorcycle adventure. The time that he lived in the jungle, or get heavily barrelled in Mexico, or the twisty roads of Southern California, the breathless of El Cocuy in Colombia, the countless friends he made… He also looks forward to his next projects that will be shared with a wonderful lady named Monique that he met during his passage in Baja California. Life still has a lot waiting for him and he is grateful for it! Taking off on that journey 2 years ago, he knew that it won’t always be easy but he knew that great things will be on his way…
When one follow is instinct, listen to his heart, believe in his convictions and act according to them, the universe will line-up events in such a matter. Such incredible ways that sometimes it will be hard to believe the outcome. Every obstacle shouldn’t be taken as a singular event but as a part of something bigger. Bigger than one can imagine, it is part of a puzzle. The artist will take a lifetime to masterize his art. Making the best of his borrowed time and embracing every second of it. Old and tired, he will contemplate the path behind him. With no regrets, he will remember everything he had accomplish to fill that empty canevas and create such a unique and ephemeral portrait, his life, his masterpiece.