I had the privilege of surfing in the Galapagos Islands. It was my first big wave, a really big one!
At that moment, I’d been surfing for about one year, and I can tell I already knew how to ride small waves.
I arrived in San Cristóbal, Galápagos with fear. Literally. It was not respect, as I narrate in this post, it was fear.
I knew that the surf spots were more difficult that the ones I was used to and familiar with.
In addition, there were sealions, seals and huge fishes that pass beneath the board and between my feet.
I was not worry about sharks. Actually, I’d rather to go swimming with them than surfing that big wave.
You can read about fear of sharks and when I swam with them here.
Parentheses: Galapagos is a paradise of fauna and nature. Should be on your bucket list.
That weekend there was a big swell in Hawaii, and in Ecuador everyone was like crazy.
Because that meant, in 3 days that swell will be arriving to the Ecuador. (That happens with north swells, in high season from December to May approx.)
-Beautiful, I thought.
-In addition to all the factors that scare me in Galapagos, a big swell from Hawaii is coming. Just amazing!
The spot’s name that I entered to surf is Cañon Point. I don’t want to know why it’s called like that.
This place has rocky bottom. To enter I had to go down the very slippery rocks, trying to not break my little toe or the rented surfboard I had.
Then, I walked amongst the rocks until the level of water was to the height of my bellybutton.
Being there, I checked that weren’t coming waves that could crash my bum back to the rocks, and I jumped on the board and paddle for my life.
Hoping to reach the lineup before the big set came.
Uff.. just writing it I remember how it was, and I have a knot in my stomach.
-What a stress, I thought.
-Mamma mia, who ordered me to do this!
-Why would I want to surf here, with fear, danger, feeling like crying?
Have you ever asked that to yourself?
We suffer, but we continue surfing.
I shook my head and put that thoughts on a side.
And from that moment, belly on the board, I focus myself and the only thoughts were: paddle with all my strenght, inhaling and exhaling to keep sending oxygen to my muscles and brain, before it turns off, because I was terrified.
I got to the line up, we were only 5-6 people. Oh, yeah!
All of them men, of course, and advanced surfers.
-No problem, I thought.
-Maybe the 5 of them may rescue me. (?)
The guy whom I rented the surfboard from, and owner of a surf school helped me to stay in the right place, to not die, and to paddle out when I feel not ready.
At that moment, I absolutely forgot about animals, sea lions, etc.
I didn’t have time for be concerned about fear.
The waves were so big, I just looked up, those walls of water were very high, and paddling strong I passed them to the safety side.
I was regretful to have entered.
And now, how do I get out from there?
I didn’t know where the exit was, they told me it was in another direction.
There was no option to get out from where I entered without crashing against the rocks, and it was mid-high tide
Going out was not an option.
I was paying attention how the spot worked, and I could see that, offshore, there was an islet.
From our spot we could see the white water of the waves breaking against that islet. And that meant, in a minute or so, the set would come into our spot.
Every time I saw that white water far away, I started to paddle to the safety zone. The guy told me: paddle over there! So I went there, escaping from those walls of water.
He also told me to come back and catch a wave, but I said: no, not that one, is too big. I am afraid.
At some point medium sized waves came in (compared with the other monsters), and I was trying to convince myself: one of those smaller ones is for me.
So, I waited, put in position on the peak, and the guy told me:
-The next one is yours.
He pushed me a little bit, I paddled strongly, did not look at the back, and when I almost stood up, I slipped and boom!
The wipe out was not so terrible, actually. There was a lot of water, so it was like a waterbed.
That calmed me down, a bit. Let’s go for the next one.
I got into the peak, the wave was coming, and the instructor told me that was the one.
Ok, I said.
He pushed me, I paddled strongly, confidently and I stood up.
There was I, on my green wave, looking to the bottom through that clear water, full of fishes and reef.
I looked to my left and I saw the face of the wave and was higher than me!
I surfed that one to the most I could, until I was too close to the rocks. So, I finished my wave, without a wipe out, unbeaten, cheering.
It was amazing, I forgot about all my fears, and I didn’t even checked if more waves were coming, nothing.
The guys told me that I disappeared in the wave, they lost sight of me.
They thought I fell.
But I was in the shade of that huge wave! Wonderful!
Ok, enough. All the guys were happy and tired of catching many waves.
And finally, the only mermaid of the group had caught her wave of the day, and what a wave!
We can go now.
To get out, we had to paddle until a bay, quite far, I don’t know how long in meters, but far away. We paddled for about 10 minutes, my arms were burning and hurting.
We dodged many rocks and reefs, and when finally we were close to the bay, we realised that was the bay of sea lions.
Well, in Galapagos the sea lions are the kings. They are everywhere.
How to get out through a beach inhabited for more than 500 sealions?
Mama sea lions, baby sea lions, and dads with huge teeth and territorial alpha males?
At Galapagos many sea lions are friendly, they swim close to people, they follow you at the beach to play, mostly the calves. They are like puppies that want to play.
Those who inhibit are the dads. Is normal that they pretend to defend their families, and we had to pass next to them.
I thought we would have to spend the night on the boards, there, 200 meters from the shore.
In a moment, we saw that 2 local guys, or some people more used to sea lions environment than us, were coming with a kayak to that bay.
Now!!! I said.
Let’s go, that if they pass, we pass at same time! LOL
So we paddled like crazy, and we passed next to the guys with the kayak.
They say Hi, very friendly and calmed, we stepped on firm sand, took our boards and run by the beach watching our backs until the main street.
Safe and sound!
Picture of me after getting out of the water:
What a nice feeling of being alive, and moreover, have surfed the best wave of my life up to that moment.
More alive than ever.
After surfing in the Galapagos Islands, I came back to the continent more self-confident and braver for my next time on a surfing board.
That’s about surfing, that’s about life.
Overcome fears to jump into new adventures, that fill our bodies, that empower us to feel more mermaids than ever.
Every single day, every fear I overcome, I feel more like a fish in the ocean.
I feel I belong to the ocean and I can’t live without it. <3