Jan. 15, Day 4, All Pro Invitational, Panama
Day 4 will probably go down as the best surf day of the trip. With Scott on the Red Bull ski and the swell finally pumping, we pulled out early to head down to Cusapin, where we heard very few people ever reach. Cusapin is 4 hours south of Bocas, across a long channel, through a myriad of mangrove lined islands, across another open water channel and into a long, fully protected bay called Laguna de Bluefield.
From there we shuttled everyone ashore using our new dinghy which just arrived from California via Miami via freighter to Panama city via truck to Almirante via me getting a water taxi to the mainland to assemble the boat, motor and various accoutrements to get her going back to Bocas.
This was a day that this trip really started to shine. We haven’t gotten more than a trifle of wind, but hiking across the bight through virgin rain forest, slipping and sliding on the thick clay mud and passing the local smiling indian faces on the way to surf that we knew we’d have all to ourselves seemed to unify the group and stoke our common cause, which was to have a wild adventure and have it with amazing people. On the way to Cusapin Will put out a few lures and we promptly hooked into two sweet Spanish Mackerel and a very nice Sierra Mackerel which Nico would no doubt do something amazing with in the days to come.
The scenery at Cusapin is stunning. Verdant green jungle rises above a long pearly soft sand beach which contrasts against deep green waves that thunder in from offshore. By the time the film and cameras were rolling every guy on board was out in the water. We were the only ones there and the energy on the water was remarkable. I knew these guys were known for their wave kiting skills, but I had no idea they were such skilled surfers. Amit, Mauricio, Moehau, Chris, Scott Wisenbaker, Scott Balogh, Raphael, Mika, Joao, Will- each of them caught wave after wave after wave. Everyone was hooting and hollering and encouraging and laughing and it was all just perfect. After three days of little to no wind, a lot of searching, a lot of hoping, this was just the thing that was needed to boost everyone’s spirits.
Everyone surfed until the sun disappeared beyond the horizon, then we each trudged across the mud path again, back to our home on Discovery. Nico greeted us with another spectacular meal, this time for 25 souls on board. My poor chef is going to be one buggered dude after this trip- I can’t believe he can pull off the quality of meals we are having in the space he has. He received a standing ovation this night for his efforts as he’s been working 20 hour days since the beginning. Every morning he rises at 4 am to begin the days’ meals, proofing loaves of fresh bread (which he makes in large tubs), chopping salads, marinating fish and meats. He blows me, and everyone else away.
We got underway after dinner, this time just two hours back north to another lodge called the Maccavite. The tunes were cranking, the beers were flowing, everyone animated and laughing and having fun and as the organizer of this event I couldn’t have been happier. Sure, with wind we’d actually be doing what we are all here to do, but it’s so rare to have such an amazing group of people together in one spot just here to have fun. These guys represent a host of different teams and sponsors, many are married, many have kids; all of them lead different lives all over the world, but today we all came together- the pros, the video crew, the writer (Michael), the photographers, the guests, the crew and just had a blast.
We reached the Maccavite hotel at 2200 hours, a beautiful new place on the south end of Bastimentos island which sat in the mangroves over a deep water channel. Nothing but trees and jungle for company in all directions. Each of us were worn out from the great day and crashed immediately. Tomorrow we’re planning on heading south and offshore to Escudo Veraguas, where we hope to find even better swell and wind. We’re going to overnight at the island with 25 people on Discovery, which has cabin space for 11 comfortably. Should be tightly interesting….