The road away from civilization
Girmantas | Travel | June 09, 2011
This endless dirt-road splits the desert. Disregarding hills, river beds and canyons the road leads straight away from civilization. The road is rough and every once in a while, you realize having no chance to loose some speed before the bump or a hole in front of you. Just close your eyes and lift your feet, it doesn’t feel as bad then. It’s been more than four hours on the road, we start to feel tired and darkness doesn’t help at all. And then, right before loosing our very last motivation, we pass the road sign “Pavement ahead”. Only here, in Mexico, they start paving roads from the middle of nowhere.
Another couple hours, dirt-road follows the pavement again and finally, well after midnight, we reach little fish camp at Punta Eugenia. We can see some lights on Isla Natividad – it’s our final destination. Suddenly policemen comes out of nowhere to check on us. After a quick chat, we ask weather we can stay wherever we want and find a flat spot for camping. It’s late, but the wind keeps blowing. Our van swings in the wind, but it’s hopeless to find some shelter or at least wind shadow. We just finish our sandwiches and get in the sleeping bags. It’s time to sleep.
We wake up right after sunrise. It’s cold outside. Strong north wind kept blowing all night long. Regardless of two islands that protect the point, Pacific water seems to be quite messed up and wavy. Me and Marius look into each other asking “what the hell are we doing it for?”. Drive the worst washboard for hours just to freeze somewhere far away from civilization? But we’re not going to turn around. We’re going to the island. We look for local fishermen and find out that the first boat already left for Natividad, we’ll have to wait for it to come back.
Friendly fishermen explain that we are experiencing regular weather here in Punta Eugenia. Only at the very end of the summer weather gets warmer, but wind keeps blowing day and night. Some water spray will not frighten us away and we start loading our boards, rig bag, personal stuff and food to the boat. The boat takes off from the beach and we hold all of our stuff as hard as we can. Right as we leave protected water area panga starts flying over the waves. Free falling of the peaks, spray comes all over the boat and surfboards try to escape. Wind is freezing, we zip our windbreakers and ask: “Is this Mexico?!”
But as we reach the shadow of the island, we start getting our payback. We didn’t know much about Isla Natividad. Didn’t know what to expect in terms of accommodation, what people are living here, is there any food, restaurants? On top of that we had almost 100 kg of equipment, food, water and cameras. We weren’t even sure, how are we going to travel with all this stuff and without our van. But everything was solved immediately. Panga captain asked for the car over his radio and 4×4 pickup parked waist deep in the water next to the boat. Surprised and happy to receive some help, we load all the stuff to the car, jump in the trunk and get ready for the road. The driver, however, had some other things to do first. He backed up to the water, hit the boat and pushed it off the sand bank. That’s the way they do it.
Isla Natividad has little fishermen community. Pacific ocean is very rich of sea snails, sea cucumbers and other unique seafood around the island. Fishermen cooperative pays their rent for the government and are the only people allowed to live on the island, that is protected national reservation. The community, on the other hand, also tries to improve tourism, thus every guest receives warm welcome. Guy that seems to be one of the few that speaks English, shows up to check where do we want to stay, weather we have food and so on. We agreed on renting little cabin right on the Pacific ocean and they even opened a restaurant only for us!
The stress was already far behind us. We were siting in our cabin and drinking tea in one of the worlds greatest surfing destination. Isla Natividad is or was on the map of many professional surfers like Sunny Garcia and Rob Machado. Any surf travel guide will tell you, that Natividad has excellent tubing breaks. The waves were small, but well shaped. We just sat there and enjoyed the view. Even though fishermen village is only a couple kilometers away, we have never felt this far away from civilization. Even though wave forecast didn’t seem good for the next days, we didn’t worry and had no regrets at all. The trip itself was great adventure and it wasn’t over yet.