Sunday, June 10, 2012


    verb /ikˈsplôr/ 
    explored, past participle; explored, past tense; explores, 3rd person singular present; exploring, present participle

    1. Travel in or through (an unfamiliar country or area) in order to learn about or familiarize oneself with it
      • - the best way to explore Iceland's northwest
      • explore the world of science and technology

    2. Search for resources such as mineral deposits
      • - the company explored for oil

    3. Inquire into or discuss (a subject or issue) in detail
      • - he sets out to explore fundamental questions

    4. Examine or evaluate (an option or possibility)
      • - you continue to explore new ways to generate income

We had to rent the car.  There was plenty of swell about but it was at a funny angle and seemed to be marching straight past all of the spots within a walk or hitch-hike of where we were staying.  There were also massive tides to contend with and on our first evening (and best surf of the trip) a giant harvest moon rose above the mountains at sunset, a sure sign that there'd be a lot of water moving around over the next few days.

So we drove.  We drove north up the coast and we drove south down the coast, bearing west off the main road down every lane and goat track that we could find looking for waves.  We had a map and some whispered advice and hunches to go on, and it was a far better bet than sitting around at base camp drinking mint tea, watching and waiting.  We didn't score any epic waves because every spot that we found to the north was suffering from the same unlucky combination of swell and tide that were ruling out our first choices, and further to the south on the northern fringes of the Sahara desert the  land-sea breeze whipped up by the powerful sun on sand was vicious.

It was by no means a fruitless couple of days though because for all of the unread pages left in our books we gained a hoard of priceless information.  Fishermen in little villages told us about the waves that keep their boats on the beach, we confirmed the locations of several hinted at secret spots and we bumped into a photographer who I'd met a year previously in Sri Lanka who drew us a mud-map to a really good and really hard to find right hander.  
Our michelin road map is now covered in scribbles about set-ups, directions and optimum swell direction, winds and tides for a multitude of surf breaks that don't appear in the guide books.  

All the result of a couple of days crammed in a hot hire care and a good old fashioned spirit of exploration, and a very good reason to go back next time a good swell appears on the horizon.

 "STOP", we presumed.

On the right day... 

Donkey in the Spring growth. 

Beached Blue Boats. 

A sure sign that you've driven to the edge of the desert, and probably the limit of your hire car's capabilities.

Desert panorama. 

"Bierut-by-the-sea" which looked like it could get all time, and sometimes does from what the local fishermen told us...

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