It’s been a while but the structure of the recent posts has been around “the notes'” trip to Republicá Dominicá. This is the last. Stay tuned for a photo special from March and April here along the Right coast…
Cabareté, DR-Days four, five and six passed in an even pace of relaxation, surf, siestas, dinners, and rested sleep. After arrival at the Val-Maré, we were given the royal treatment by the condominium caretaker Alex and would later play around the ground with his son Alejandro. Along a hill line just up the beach road from the break, the condos are surrounded by green fields, banana trees, palms, and green grasses. The only visitors besides us were the cows or horses sneaking treats from Alejandro. At first, the fixture of such a tall gringo kept Alejandro’s curiosity at bay, though it was not long before we were up to childhood mischief. I was told to behave and Alejandro threatened with no swimming time so the wild roosters and chickens were free from our torment. Time passed unnoticeably. Mornings were spent at the beach; afternoons were spent at the pool or in the breeze and shade of the room, reading and napping, occasionally rising for cold beer; evenings were spent on the beach side of Cabareté, lounging under strings of lights stretched along palm trees and tables lit by candle. Todos tranquillo. Such an even mien hazes the memory. Details seem rather fuzzy, as if on the edge of sleep, which is easily explained by the frequent siesta. Yet there is certainly more. There is a humming from within. A steady gentle vibration which rises from inside and lays gently over all till the person knows this is what it means to be on Caribbean time. That would be days four, five and six. What follows are snippets of travel journal and pictures of each day-as best as I can remember.
“28 Feb. ’11-Cabareté, DR. No idea on swell-east-ish at maybe 3-5′ @ 9 seconds, trade winds. …the walk to the beach is easy, the hardest stretch being along the main road and near lawless, speeding, metal death…this place is schizophrenic. Its temperament wavers from tranquillo to “man, I can’t wait to get the hell home.”… Surfed the famed Encuentro. Funky and mediocre. Had I been home I wouldn’t have gone, but the water would have been just above 50°F. This was clear, blue and 75°, so I went. Two waves worth mentioning. Both rights near “Coco Pipe”. Long walls and glassy till mid am…stories of the trade winds are true. By 11 most everything is indistinguishable from blown chop. We spent 50 pesos on a beach lounge chair attended by Mejuco and his dogs. Dried off, walked home and relaxed in the shade by the pool. Alejandro met us at the gate with a squirt gun for drowning ants. Amy rolled her eyes and let me off the hook to play…rest of afternoon spent drinking cold beer, reading and napping-in no particular order.”
“29 Feb. ’11 Cabareté, DR. [corrected upon arrival home for an actual date existing on the calender-1 Mar. 11. Que sera.]. Still no idea of swell. Maybe 6′ @ 9 seconds? …am surf was cleaner, little more solid in size, good sets. Head high and better. No barrels at “Coco Pipe” so the name remains in doubt, but got a nice wave from a gypsy motorista cabbie. Thanked him and that bought me a couple more. Then he dropped in all over me. Ah well, his house…walked east along the shore to Natura Cabana for lunch-a secluded little resort/spa built into the natural vegetation instead of gutting it. Twice the beach disappears in lava rock and the trail wanders up through the tree line. Discovered a wave all to ourselves which kept us from lunch. No problema as lunch blends from breakfast and gently merges straight into dinner. There is no time. Walking home we write the names of our family in the sand and let the Atlantic carry it home, north to Carolina…walked the street of Cabareté for souvenirs for Abby before crossing through an alley for dinner on the strand. In the street old white men pick up hefty Haitian prostitutes with 40 oz. beers. On the strand are candle-lit tables, colored sun sails lit by hanging lamps and excellent meals-place is schizophrenic…interesting trip. Beautiful and dirty, good surf and poor, kind and indifferent…I am ready to go home. Not ready to put on a wetsuit. Ready to see my daughter, my dog, my home…”¿
“2 March ’11, Cabareté, DR-Miami, Fl International Airport. 2-4′ at some weaker period. In the airport in Miami. This am I was surfing small, clean and crystal clear waves…at first sight through the palapa the hope was a falling tide might make more face to ride. Brought only the 6’4″ thruster. Posted up under a palm and slept while tide fell. Amy disappeared around head point in beach for a morning walk. The local dogs followed her in some sort of innate sense of protection as they had adopted her the last two mornings, particularly the black lab that arrived by scooter every morning…woke up and the surf was still small. Worked a deal to borrow a longboard. Choosing the board was interesting. Kid working the shack wasn’t too sure about loaning a board for free. Quizzed on frequency of surf, how good, and, finally, tested with, ‘which board you want ride?’ Suddenly had flashbacks of adolescence…rounded 9’2” with no rocker, single fin, tons of weight. Thing had been reattached in the middle and seemed to have added weight with the repair, but it was a solid stick. Choice was approved and board granted. Heavy was perfect for the glassy, Caribbean mush. Rode well. Even met the former owner in the water. “Hey, that’s my old board. Guevarra shaped it for me in Maui” Good noserides and sweeping drives. Ownere looked like he might give it another shot. Not sure it can survive it…Amy returned in view with her dog pack. Cold beer and rinsed and headed for the plane…sitting in the Miami airport we scarfed down big bacon cheeseburgers and a good old fashioned Budweiser. Each little girl that passes brings me closer to home and my own little girl. See you soon little one. Thank you Sonny for watching the house and our girl. Voy a mi casa y Carolina norte.”
There have been plans for an accumulated story on a devotion and passion, a few longboard sessions, some do-it-yourself trailer repair with the help of 96 Charters (check the blog under blogroll) for spring fishing and swells. Ultimately, little has actually been accomplished other than remaining afloat as North End Landscapes comes into the summer season and the classes I’m responsible for at the high school have been knee deep in their studies. So, chuck it all. It’s warm south. So, the Notes is headed south and then slightly north of there. A true amigo is set to wed and for that we load up, call in favors for babysitting and hop a flight towards the Dominican Republic. After a weekend of helping our friend celebrar su bode, the notes moves to the northern Dominican in the area of Caberete for lounging with Mrs. Notes for a week. Sold the whole idea as a last chance for a get-a-way before the new little niña arrives and all saving goes towards the inevitable Disney pilgrimage. Unfortunately the data rates for the web card just aren’t in the budget for a trip funded on unpaid bills and juggled credit. So, follow along with the tweeted notes (northendnotes@twitter) and check back here for photos and words on return. Be sure to grab a copy of Local Sessions for some new pieces coming soon. Till then, here are some shots to tide you over.
Thanks for checking in.