We spent a total of three weeks at The Wall. Even when conditions were marginal, there was almost always some surf. We knew if we sat long enough, we would see some classic Wall waves and conditions, and we did. We had been hearing bits and pieces about a storm brewing up in the Aleutians, so we waited, knowing it would send surf our way. And it did. The bigger sets rolled in at double overhead size, with most waves at head high and up. We discovered its namesake. The waves hold their shape as perfect peelers sending a surfer down a fast, long wall, like a one-way ticket on a freight train. We both managed to get some of our best waves of the trip (so, far, anyway), so we were pretty darn happy.
Halfway through our stay at The Wall, Chris’ foot swelled up like a balloon from the stingray wound. At the same time, I started having some ear issues, likely a combination of residual from a minor head cold and repeated ocean water flushings. We had to go to town anyway to resupply a few things, so why not take a short trip to the clinic? The doctor’s office was a dingy room with a small exam bed and a big wooden desk with the only thing on it being a giant book titled “Directoria Farmacia”, dated 1999. The doctor was very friendly but spoke absolutely no English so this was a good, if not comical, exchange. Lots of hand gestures and re-enactments. Imagine Chris trying to say this in Spanish:
“About 3 weeks ago, I got stung by a stingray in Abreojos. No, the barb did not get stuck in my foot. Well, I don’t think so. Maybe. Can you feel it? Yes, we were camping. No, I did not see a doctor at the time. My foot swelled up and I took a whole giant dose of Cipro, but it didn’t do anything. Yeah, I’ve been surfing the whole time. I might be allergic to Penicillin, but I don’t remember. It was when I was a kid and I had an allergic reaction after getting a shot of Penicillin.” And so on.
So, $650 pesos later (about $48 US), we walked out of the clinic with a confirmed stingray secondary infection, a minor ear infection and handfuls of multiple kinds of heavy duty antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, probiotics, and some topical gel stuff to put on sore muscles (not sure how we got that in the midst of our mangled Spanish, but it will come in handy for sure.)
We left The Wall to head north to Alejandros, per recommendation from our friend Marc. Alejandros is a beautiful cove with sand dunes on one side and nice wooden structures to camp next to and protect you from the wind. There were two other people there, father and son Canucks, but we were hedging our bets that a really big swell was coming and when it’s really big at The Wall, it’s about the half the size at Alejandros. The following day, the surf was small and mushy, but beautiful clear water, a sandy bottom and yet again another great day to be surfing. There were three of us taking turns catching waves, whooping it up and goofing off in the mellow surf.
Lesson learned: Never let your guard down. It was nice to have some easy, long board waves for a day. As I stood up on a, no kidding, thigh high mushburger (that means slow, cruiser and, well, mushy) wave, my leash (stupid leash!) got caught under foot and I tried to kick it out from beneath, and fell off the back of the wave. My foot hooked the leash and the board bumped me just below my left eye, just enough and in the right spot to split it open like a little sausage. I hardly even felt it hit, but felt the split. And with a bloody frown, I paddled in to shore to inspect the damage.
So, after Chris’ futile attempts to super glue and steri-strip the wound back together, it was off to Guerrero Negro again for doctor visit #2. We went to the hospital this time as the clinic was closed. The doctor was very kind and spoke pretty decent English, but mostly sang Eagles and Rolling Stone lyrics while sewing me back together. “Take it eeeeaassy, take it eeeeaasy…”. I asked if he could trim up some of my wrinkles or give me some collagen while he was already working, but no luck. Stitches are to stay in for seven days, and then Chris can take them out for me. That should be real good time.
As Chris says, at least I have good timing…. the surf appears to have died a bit in the Pacific; so, we are now on the gulf side, for a little R&R, basking in the sublime beauty of the Sea of Cortez. We are able to camp right on the beach and swim and snorkel in the clear warm water. I can’t do much but go for walks, collect shells, swim (head above water), and read Steinbeck’s “Log From the Sea of Cortez”, a great read about his 1940 Baja expedition to collect intertidal flora and fauna. Chris is recovering from a stomach bug… my, how we can’t travel without various injuries and ailments.
Hasta próximo, y mas cuentos interesantes venir.