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Old 11-11-2013, 03:34 PM   #136
trevhead
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killer!
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Old 11-11-2013, 04:16 PM   #137
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Talking Hahahaha! Yogurt

Oh man, the things we do when younger... I enjoyed cakes and brownies. But yogurt... creativity on its prime!

Awesome report, I feel like I am there riding those waves as well. Keep posting. The season is only beginning, so plenty of swells on your way.

It was nice to see your surfboard. I like your set up. I'm a huge fan of quads as well and be able to change the fin's set up allow us to extend the waves' size range. Hope you can find some barrels, as the quads excels inside the tube.

One question: how the bike feels with side winds, considering a surfboard attached to it?

Stoked bro,

\m/

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Old 11-12-2013, 12:38 PM   #138
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This is epic, very inspirational keep it coming
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Old 11-12-2013, 02:23 PM   #139
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I should not be reading your report while I am land locked in Guatemala.
Itching for some waves again.
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Old 11-12-2013, 04:22 PM   #140
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garnaro View Post
In addition to a lumix waterproof/shockproof point and shoot, I brought a lumix GF3 4/3 sensor camera with 14mm lens (28mm full frame equivalent). Its super small - very easy to quickly grab from my waistpack while on the bike and image quality is decent. But now I'd reeeally like to have a camera with a viewfinder.
What you have is only part of the picture. Making the most of what you have, and how you use it is where it is it's at And you certainly do use it well, and weave the pictures nicely in with a few words to produce an epic report about an inspirational journey. Thanks for that.

I know what you feel about a camera with a viewfinder. My first digital camera was a waterproof and shockproof point and shoot about 18 months ago. I got some good shots at sports events, some of which were used by the local rag. I wanted something with a better lens and bigger sensor for better image quality.. and a viewfinder to frame shots better, and to hold the camera a little more steadily against my face. Not wanting the bulk of a DSLR, I went for a Fujifilm X10, and have had pleasing results with that.

But still there are times when it would be nice to have something with a longer lens and a better sensor, so I may go on to get a DSLR at some stage, when budget permits. At the same time, that original Olympus Tough point & shoot still get chucked in a bag to go places that would destroy something more delicate.
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:24 PM   #141
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You're living the dream, man! Carry on!!!
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Old 11-17-2013, 02:21 AM   #142
garnaro OP
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Originally Posted by afewsketchymoments View Post
I should not be reading your report while I am land locked in Guatemala.
Itching for some waves again.
if it makes you feel any better, it's been flat for a week ;-)
Headed to western Sahara soon - sounds like there are some epic righthand points with no one around..
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Old 11-22-2013, 09:42 AM   #143
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Mandarin Incoming


As I hummed along northward on the highway with the sun overhead just like I had many days before today a glance downward and to the left instantly sent a shot of panic through me. Since I was going surfing, I had my surfboard attached to my motorcycle. When I looked down, I found no surfboard, only a void and the asphalt rushing past below. I whipped around and sped the other direction fully expecting to either return to the last place Id checked the surf 2 km back without sight of it, or to see it splintered and strewn across the highway somewhere. I rode fast, thinking that if I were quick enough I could snatch my one and only craft to ride the waves of Africa from such a cruel fate. I got to the turnoff to the dirt track where Id last checked the waves, still without a sign of my board. Relief washed over me as I came to a stop. All the way at the end of the track, in the middle of the rocky bluff without a soul around was my board lying bottom down, with the arm of my surf rack still fully attached and in place.

The rear arm of the rack had broken off at the same place it had been repaired in Safi from my fall in the Atlas Mountains. On examination it was clear that the repaired weld used a lot of material but formed a poor bond. Enough bouncing around on the dirt tracks to check the surf and it had finally given in right where it lay. As I sat there looking at the ocean, engine running, my board had simply dropped away without my noticing and off I sped without it. Needless to say, I was very happy to still have a surfboard along on my surf trip.

We found our standby spot with too low of tide for the sizable swell that had grown overnight and was now pounding the reef. The massive and mysterious ship boiler marooned on the reef was sticking high above the water surface as waves sectioned and closed out around it. Fishermen deftly dodged exploding waves to the north.

A couple of the local Moroccan surfers told us about a lesser know spot about 10 km to the south and we decided to head that direction. One of them climbed onto the back of my bike wearing only board shorts and sandals and off we went. We found some head high quick-breaking waves that lured us out. When we got out to the surf, we quickly found that the waves were nearly un-makeable with the speed at which they broke down the line. You would get to your feet, stay as high as possible on the wave face for as long as possible racing as fast as you could until a section finally forced you down and outran you. The swell direction was too westerly. According to the local guys, swells arriving from a more northerly direction hit the reef less squarely and produce waves requiring a less frantic pace down the line. While the waves left something to be desired, it had been a fun excursion somewhere new, led by local surfers, which is always a good time.
We arrived back at our ship boiler to find the tide had risen along with the swell, creating some big clean looking waves in between massive bombs that steamrolled through the lineup. Only one surfer was in the water the Spaniard named Axier who Id befriended at the campsite and been surfing with during the past week. He caught sight of me and waved me out and so out I went. I barely managed to squeak out the keyhole channel between a big rock and the ship boiler before the area was mowed by a set. Axier and I looked for the more manageable ones we both dropped in on a few that quickly blocked our paths down the line with heaving sections of lip.

After an hour or so I locked into a really good one and rode it just a bit too far. Once out of the lee of the protective headland where we were taking off, the current was relentless and it had me pinned right where I didnt want to be stuck on the inside taking closeouts on the head. The problem here was that we only knew one safe exit point the same place that wed entered, through that keyhole channel where the rocky headland attenuated a lot of the swell energy. For as far as I could see, the southerly direction that the current pulled me the shoreline was just rocky slabs exploding 10 feet high with whitewater. I lucked out and found the right spot at just the right time to exit safely enough.
Upon exiting the water a local girl who had watched my struggle was smiling and giggling with her friends sitting on a concrete wall just up from where I landed. She came down the slope a little way and threw me a mandarin, which landed in the rocks just near me. It was as though she wanted to say hello but was scared to get too close. I retrieved the mandarin, made a motion of thank you which was returned by another giggle. I stood there catching my breath and devouring the best tasting mandarin Id had in a long time. After that she became bolder and came all the way down to had me a little glass of mint tea. I was incredibly grateful for the small kindness.
The local bodyboarder, Ahmed, who had followed us out found the same exit as I did. Axier wasnt so lucky. He misjudged the current and missed our exit point and after struggling against the current for 30 minutes or so trying to get to it, he gave up and let it carry him down the reef. Ahmed and I scrambled southward trying to scout a good exit spot and finally found one that coincided with a break in the sets. Walking back, we were all pretty happy to be back on the ground.

We walked back to the local resident (the only local resident) Mohammeds cave at the top of the point. His little abode is built into the cliff right next to the surf pounding on the reef where it looks like nothing would be safe. From his doorway, monstrous waves rumbled by, but posed no danger due to its position in the lee of the small headland.


Mohammed had lived here for 8 years, entertaining the traveling surfers as they came and went from the run-of-the-mill feral wanderers like us to top-level pros. In turn, surfers brought things out to him to make life a little easier on this barren stretch of coastline. He had cooked us all up an octopus targine that we all enjoyed inside the cave.

We packed it up for the day leaving some lonely waves behind. The goats went home too.

And I retreated to my clifftop camp.
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Old 11-30-2013, 08:41 PM   #144
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Been really enjoying your RR and will follow your adventures all the way. Hope you had a happy and safe Thanksgiving
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Old 12-01-2013, 10:56 AM   #145
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Board racks are the number one problem on my trip also. Get some steel ones made. The breaks will continue.
Loving the ride report. Looks like you are scoring! Don't give to many secrets away.
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:22 AM   #146
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Looks fantastic!
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:23 AM   #147
garnaro OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afewsketchymoments View Post
Board racks are the number one problem on my trip also. Get some steel ones made. The breaks will continue.
seriously....I smell a gap in the moto accessory market ready to be filled!

Quote:
Originally Posted by afewsketchymoments View Post
Loving the ride report. Looks like you are scoring! Don't give to many secrets away.
good point. For inspirational usage only ;-)
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:46 AM   #148
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Into the Sahara



The further south we rode, the greater power the desert seemed to have to undo what had been done to hold it at bay. The asphalt crumbled at the edges and lobes of sand crept inward across the road, threatening to consume the black strip that bisected the sea of dunes. The sand blew across the road in a steady stream, invading eyes, nose and mouth. Id turn my head almost 90 degrees from the vertical to avoid receiving a blast up into my helmet when I saw a particularly solid looking wall of sand hovering above the road surface ahead. Wed ridden hundreds of kilometers through this barren scene since the hills had given way to the dunes.




I was glad to have met Thomas, a Polish rider on a Honda XR650R along the roadside two days prior, to avoid traversing such a landscape alone. I was also glad that he was riding in front when we crossed a finger of sand 6 inches deep extending onto the roadway so that I had an additional moment to react. Jamming on the brakes seemed like a bad idea, so I just gassed it and let the front get wiggly for a moment.

We had run out of daylight and had hardly seen anything for hundreds of kilometers along the coastal plain, including a place to camp that would hide us from the road. High cliffs ubiquitously blocked access to the beach. In the fading dusk light I spotted some dunes out by the coastline that I thought would do the trick. Sure enough, we were able to find a nice rocky, ridable path into the dunes and tuck in behind them. We set up our camp on the soft sand and watched a giant grapefruit moon float into the sky.


All that I had for clues to surf spots in Western Sahara was some chicken scratch on a napkin from a Portuguese surfer Id met at my last stop. I was pretty sure that hed misspelled the name of the village he mentioned since I couldnt find it on any map. On the way south towards Dakhla, I dragged Thomas off of the highway a number of times to look for waves. The general process was to identify a point of land on the GPS sticking out into the ocean facing the right direction to bend long period swells from the northwest and motor out to have a look. Sometimes there was a track and sometimes we made our own.
Motoring cross-country. it did cross my mind that Western Sahara is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, owing to the conflict between Mauritania and Morocco for control of the territory. It crossed my mind and then left it, because I simply had to see if some of these points on the map had surf potential. Besides, there were plenty of tracks off the highway and no exploded burnt out vehicles to be seen, and we were still a long way from the border with Mauritania, so I figured the odds were with us.


Since there was no swell in the water yet, all I got to see was the potential for surf, but there seemed to be plenty of it, with a number perfect looking pointbreak setups with perfectly groomed sand bottoms just waiting to come alive when a big storm started spinning in the North Atlantic. The camels thought it looked pretty good too.

Upon arrival at a campsite near Dakhla, we were immediately befriended by the neighborhood expats and recreational residents - a mix of wandering motorcyclists and windsurfers. Five days of waiting for waves seemed to mush together in a smoky blur of evenings filled with wild boasting from some big fish living in this small pond and a perpetual game of one-upmanship centered on which country had invented the best stuff. England, Germany, Poland, and the USA were represented. They said McDonald's doesn't count.

We met more overlanders coming north and south. The Belgian couple in this super kitted-out land cruiser had just finished a year long trip all the way around Africa!

Dakhla sits at the end of a massive 40 km long sand spit peninsula and is separated from the mainland by a shallow channel. Since the peninsula is less than 2 km across and often has a steady wind from the northeast, it makes for an excellent ocean playground with windsurfing in the channel and points for surfing on the other side. After a week of killing brain cells the swell finally arrived and it was time to find what all that potential Id seen a week prior could churn out.
I motored northward to find a point that I could see on the map, but couldnt see a road to it. The reason, of course, was that there was no road, just some tracks leading off of the highway in vaguely the direction I was after. It seriously looked like riding into desert oblivion. Its moments like these that I question what in the world Im doing out here. It just feels like the maddest thing in the world to ride across a mud flat towards a massive dune field in the distance in the middle of the Sahara desert on a motorcycle with a surfboard. Lots of fun of course, until things start to mess up. When I hit the dune field, things started to mess up.
The deep loose sand made for difficult riding and I proceeded rather gingerly since I wasnt wearing my boots and I really didnt want to fall and break my surf rack again. I seem to have a problem of leaping before I look on two wheels. I just figure, keep your momentum and youll roll on through the tough part or sail right over a gap. Sometimes that works and sometimes it just gets you in over your head rather quickly when the terrain only gets worse up ahead. This time happened to be the latter situation. After grunting and sweating my way along in most ungraceful fashion for 500 meters or so, I found some Land Rover tracks that made riding easier and eventually saw a headland and whitewater appear over the dunes Id found the surf spot! Within a few hundred meters I got a full view of the shoreline. The waves sucked.

Riding back out to the road earned me even fewer style points than the ride in, and this time I had a full escort. As I turned around in the sand, seven feral dogs darted from a fishing shack in my direction with canines blazing. I kept my cool and waddled along with this raucous pack nipping at my wheels the whole way. I hoped that these dogs were as docile as the others Id already met, but nonetheless I now had another reason not to dump the bike. I kept telling myself: this is the adventure part of the surf adventure.

With one wave hunting fail under my belt for the day I continued north to one of the points Id scouted on the trip south. Looking down from the cliff I was dumbfounded to see ruler edged perfection wrapping its way around the point. Holy crap. It was time to go surfing.
First I had to find a way down to the beach. The only way seemed to be the steep sandy track that the fishermen used to drag boats up off the beach with tractors. Going down was fine, but given my recent sandy trauma I really wasnt sure that I would be able to make it back up the steep slope, but I also didnt feel like leaving my bike out of site at the top of the massive cliff. There was nothing to do but go all in, so I slid down the track to the beach.
I rode 400-yard long, 5 ft. reeling waves all day by myself. Wave after wave I rode to the beach, hopped out, and walked back up the top of the point for another. On one of these rounds I helped the fishermen carry one of there boats up to the beach, which made me feel a bit less of an oddity that had invaded their world. There was no reason not to try to go big turns because if I fell off, there was usually an identical wave to the one I was riding right behind it that I could easily paddle into. Not sure how me going big on turns looks in real life, maybe a bit like a guy throwing pizza while swinging wildly back and forth on a slack line. But I sure looked good in my imagination. The whole thing just seemed unreal. After 5 hours or so, exhaustion started to set in and I felt as though in a dream floating from one ride to the next. In my euphoric haze, I thought: this was why you come to the middle of the Sahara Desert with your surfboard and fall all over the place in the while being attacked by feral dogs.


As the tide began to come high, and the hard, packed sand was inundated, the thought of escaping the beach on my moto started to weigh on my mind with each wave I rode. What looked like an armada of identical blue fishing boats appeared on the horizon, done for the day they headed for the beach. By the time I was finally able to stop myself from paddling out for just one more wave, the dry part of the beach was completely crammed with fishing boats and the hard packed sand was covered by the tide. As I sat with my board loaded up and the engine running I thought about the fact that the cost of those last few waves was that I now had to ride my steel framed bike through the fantastically corrosive saltwater. I waited for a lull in the sets gunned the throttle, bolting across the soupy wet sand the receding wave uncovered and made it to safe ground in front of the steep sandy trail up the cliff.
The only way that I would make it up the slope was fast, so there would be no foot paddling to keep balance. I got the best run at it that I could with the small area of sand left dry, got to second gear, stood on the pegs, leaned back, let the front do what it wanted, and steered my way up the slope from the back wheel. I let out a shout when I edged over the top of the cliff. After all the fun that the ocean had provided, the beach dealt out the final thrill for the day.
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Old 12-08-2013, 12:24 PM   #149
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There's no way you could top an epic session like that...unless you go back tomorrow.

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Old 12-08-2013, 02:35 PM   #150
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Truly fantastic and engaging report, you've got a great writing style, thanks for the update
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