I woke up before the alarm went off. Twice. Excited by the prospect of leaving Maine and my desperately small college behind in search of waves and 70 degree nights on the Nicaraguan coast, I forgot to brush my teeth as I grabbed my backpack and checked for the essentials: passport, wallet and camera. Like an overexcited 11 year old coming home from his first sleepover, I fell asleep in the passenger seat of Dan's Highlander somewhere north of Portland on our drive towards Logan Airport. Just in case our excitement hadn't fully manifested in my near sleepless night filled with fantasies of playing in the surf and eating fish, we arrived at the airport four hours early.
Traveling with only our backpacks and boards, we passed through customs in Managua without a question about our destination or return flight. After a two and a half hour cab ride on dirt roads through Nicaraguan pastures and farmland, we got our first glimpse of the arid shoreline and heard the first clap of swell rolling in across the Pacific. For the next week and a half, two of my closest friends (my sixth-grade locker partner Will and my college roommate Dan) and I played like lost boys.
Dan watching the waves close out at high tide.
Will points to a set of waves pitching upwards like frost heaves on a New England country road.
Twenty years of civil wars and numerous campaigns for land reform left the coast line peppered with vacant houses and undeveloped stretches of land. For better or worse, the turbulent political and economic climate in Nicaragua has kept development of the coastline to a bare minimum.
In the distance white spray marks the peeling of waves on the reef.
Two lost boys walking down the beach towards a reef break.
My hair got lighter and my skin darkened as the salt, sand and sun penetrated everything I had. Adhering to the, "No News is Good news" ethos, I went incommunicado.
Barefoot, we ran down the beaches excited by the sound of waves and motivated by the heat of the sand.
A horse at sunset.
"I caught my first tube today, sir" Will yelled back at Dan as he bent over and fingered a flat stone out of a crack. With a deft flick of the wrist, he skipped the stone across the tide pool towards the sinking sun. I was on vacation.