These are some of my favourite photos from our trip to Volcán Telica at the end of June. We did the sunset tour, so most of the photos are taken looking into the sun. Not the best conditions, but I kind of like the light anyway.
During the great Wi-Fi drought that followed the big storm in El Tunco last Tuesday, Eddie discovered he could play chess on his phone and for the first few days there was a lot of swearing, name calling and the occasional cheer when he won. After we arrived in Las Flores on Friday afternoon, it rained almost non-stop for the first four days and we had patchy Wi-Fi, so when he wasn’t surfing, Eddie got better at chess, and I tried to memorize Spanish infinitive verbs with the Quizlet App. Less successfully, I also tried to listen to my latest book ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’ by Katherine Boo, but for the life of me I kept zoning out and all of a sudden it would be an hour later and I hadn’t heard a thing.
When I said to a French girl in El Tunco we were going to stay in Las Flores for two to three weeks, she gasped and said “Have you been there before?” and when I said “No” she said “I don’t think you’ll be able to stay for three weeks, there’s nothing to do other than surf” and when I said “we’re pretty old, we don’t mind it being quiet” she said “I’m pretty old too, but really, I think you’ll find it too quiet” and went on to describe just how quiet it was and we had a bit of a laugh about it, but I thought, maybe we’ll be different, maybe we’ll be able to stay two to three weeks. Then it rained for four days and I thought we’d never see the sun again, and there was no shared bookshelf and no coffee urn I could help myself to in the mornings. And by Wednesday when the rain did stop we knew we’d have to leave after only eight days even though the surf was amazing. Most people went back to El Tunco and planned to return for the next swell, but we decided it was time to head back to León in Nicaragua for five days, and then on to our next surf spot, Popoyo.
Las Flores was beautiful and had a black sandy beach, which we really appreciated after all the stones we’d been clambering over and trying to avoid hitting at El Tunco, Kilometro 59 and Miramar. The wave is a long right hand point break and as good as everyone said it would be. I asked Eddie what he wanted me to say about the surf at Las Flores and he said “You’ve already said it haven’t you? It was good… I surfed every day for seven days”… I was ripping seven out of eight days”. So, there you go.
By Friday the swell was fading away, which in Las Flores means it was about 3-4 foot. On Saturday morning Roberto gave us a lift to La Union, about 50 minutes from Las Flores, and we caught a lancha to Potosi in Nicaragua, a trip which took just under two hours between beautiful islands over a glassy ocean. From Potosi we caught a shuttle back to Casa de Huéspedes el Nancite, in Leon.
On our last morning at Kilometro 59, I was relaxing in my hammock reading ‘The Elves of Cintra’ by Terry Hayes. I’d got to the part where the King of the Elves daughter, princess somebody or other, had been caught with her friend looking for information on how to find and use the ‘Loden Elfstone’ to keep the ‘Ellcrys’ safe. I don’t know who or what the Ellcrys was, I forgot to take the book with me, but she may have been a tree or living inside a tree. Anyway, protecting the Ellcrys meant staving off the end of the world, and I stopped to ponder what our chances would be if Prince Harry and Megan Merkel were our only hope for keeping the Ellcrys safe. I hadn’t been sure if we should leave Kilometro 59 that day, but after a couple of minutes pondering, I realised it was definitely time.
We had one last breakfast, the desayuno typico sin (without) chorizo for me and the desayuno typico con(with) chorizo for Eddie. We’re going to miss Lita and Mira’s cooking, they were amazing cooks and lovely women, who accepted our choppy Spanish skills with laughter and good grace.
After breakfast, we said goodbye to Mira, Santos and the two dogs, Jimbo and Pali, then Walter drove us to El Tunco and we checked back into the Lay Back Hostel. Mira (another Mira), the manager of the hostel was there with her young son, the tabby and white cat was sleeping in her usual spot on the balcony, and we got the same room as last time. The guys from Uruguay had left for Las Flores the same day we went to Kilometro 59 and Tony from California and Carmen from Guatemala aren’t here anymore either, so it’s not exactly the same.
It’s now Thursday morning and although last night’s storm has passed it’s still raining. Of the two storms we’ve had this week, I’ll remember Tuesday night’s storm the best. Only because we woke up at 2:40am to the loudest thunder clap I’ve ever heard. One of the two Australian girls, who we keep bumping into and who were staying at the lodge next door, said she felt the earthquake that preceded it and thought a volcano had erupted. We didn’t feel the earthquake, but my first thought was that there’d been an explosion. It must’ve been right over the top of us and there was no way anyone within a 100 metre radius of us, with good hearing, could have slept through it. But! I overheard two guys in our hostel talking on Wednesday afternoon.
Guy one: How loud was that storm last night?
Guy two: Was there a storm?
Guy one: *incredulous* You didn’t hear it?
Guy two: No…
Guy one: *still incredulous* It was pretty loud.
Guy two: Yeah? I got home at 10pm and went straight to sleep though, so I must’ve missed it.
Guy one: *like really incredulous* Yeah, but there was one really loud thunder…
Guy two: Yeah?
Guy one: *total confusion* Did you have a few drinks last night or something? [Hahahahahah, my thoughts exactly]
Guy two: Yeah, I had a few…
Guy one: *lightbulb moment* Ah! That’ll be why you didn’t hear it then.
Guy two: Yeah, I slept like a baby.
Eddie checked the surf this morning and the water is the colour of milk chocolate, so we definitely won’t be going for a surf today. It’s 9:30am, I’ve already had two cups of coffee, so now it’s time to go and have breakfast at Coyotes and use their Wi-Fi because all the hostels on our laneway lost their Wi-Fi in storm and they still haven’t been able to fix it.
It’s Friday night and we’re at Papaya Lodge in Las Flores about 3.5hrs East of El Tunco. The surf was pretty small and onshore when we arrived at 12:30pm, but we weren’t expecting it to get good until Monday anyway, so we’re not panicking yet. Stay tuned.
I’ve added Kilometro 59 to my unwritten list of favourite places. As the guys from Uruguay, who we met at Lay Back Hostel in El Tunco, said “fue tan lindo y fue tan hermosa”. I thought it was especially beautiful from the lineup at K59, looking back to the beach, when it was overcast and the waves were tossing a fine mist up the cliffs. I wish I had that photo. We also had good surf there, at both K59 and K61. We have photos of most of the waves we caught the first few days, taken by a couple of local guys. After looking them over, we agreed that the photos make the waves look much smaller than they felt at the time. We also met some really good people and this photo, taken in the lounge and dining area at K-Lodge, shows us gathered around to watch the Outerknown Fiji Pro at Cloudbreak.