"Do you hear that?" I asked to no one in particular. "The rain stopped," I chuckled in surprise and contempt.
Cyrus (Sutton) looked up from the pot of vegetables he was cooking on a stove in the small apartment in Hendaye, France and studied the window. The squall had subsided, and the trees were no longer shaking like middle school boys at their first dance. "Looks like it," he said, returning to his afternoon snack.
Since arriving in Bilbao a week before, the wind and rain had never stopped. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest and experiencing a fair share of New England's Nor'easters, the Basque weather caught me off guard. The storms came in from the North Atlantic, slowed a little bit courtesy of the small speed bump known as the British Isles and then slammed into the southern European coast. During our stay in the Basque country, the largest wave ever surfed,was surfed five hours down the coast in Portugal.
James and Ryan looked out the window and nodded in agreement. Despite arriving in Bilbao a week before, we were still jet lagged and worn out from surfing.
"What time is Sancho meeting us for dinner?"
"We have to meet him in San Sebastian at 7:30."
Glancing at my watch, it was few minutes before four. I was restless and jet lagged. My clothes were damp and sandy from the constant transition from standing on a rainy beach to wearing a wetsuit to standing back on rainy beach. Rising from the couch, I walked over to the window. The sun peered through a break in the clouds. I reached for my bag and jacket. "I'm going to go grab a coffee and take a look around. I'll be back in a bit."
"I may see you at the cafe, I need to check on the good old internet. You know, make sure its still there.."
Walking down the stairs of the comfortable but sparse apartment building, I exited onto the an empty street. The roar of waves crashing against the breakwater at high tide a block away echoed around the Orwellian apartment buildings. Large puddles surrounded the storm grates and scraps from the various palm trees dotted the sidewalks. During the summer months, Hendaye is full of vacationers from inland. It's not as fancy as Biarritz or San Sebastian and in the off-season it showed. Save for the a few surfers scrambling to get their wetsuits on, the streets looked post Zombie apocalypse.
Heading towards the beach, I searched the pockets of my jacket for my headphones. Finding them, I plugged them into my phone and resumed Hemingway's fabled, "The Sun Also Rises." It was nice to be alone and walking in a city, albeit a small, empty one. Back when I lived in New York, I opted out of taking a cab or subway to work and walked instead. That hour per day was my alone time, it kept me sane. I slipped into a similar mindset as I wandered Hendaye's empty streets.
Luc's Mini Cooper and his hand shaped eleven foot single fin.
Sancho making lunch.
"Should I stay or should I go now?"
Showers at the Mundaka Harbor.
Ryan Burch having a beer and watching waves at Mundaka after the best day of surfing of the trip.
The planner in Peta's shaping bay.
The French and Spanish boarder.
A basement stairway in a five hundred year old castle in Spain.
It's alive! That little black speck on the wave is Ryan Burch.
A 70's style single fin gun, a two plus one gun, and Cyrus Sutton's experimental one plus one gun.
Mildew in the making.
Sancho looking out over a thousand foot cliff.
Red, white and grey.
Cyrus Sutton and my surfboards for the trip.
The street lights flickered into action, punctuating twilight. My immersion in Hemingway's bullfights had lasted two hours. I needed to get back to the apartment for dinner. The wind was turning from a straight west to a south. Low pressure in the Atlantic was sucking warm air from Spain's interior.
"We could score Mundaka in the next few days," I mumbled to the empty street. "With any luck, we might get some sun..." I continued my one sided conversation.
Here are some more links,