Logan Landry, Buzzy Stattner, and I were looking for any place to go during the most slow and sometimes depressing season here on the East Coast. Summer is no time to be at home in Nova Scotia for three impatient goofy-footers, and staring out at "Lake Atlantic" every day was wearing on us. We needed to get far away from it. We hummed and hawed for a few weeks about where to head out to in this big, crazy world before we finally pulled the trigger and decided on a place we had heard was a goofy-footer's paradise: Peru.
Logan had been once before, but he mainly stayed in the Southern part of the county. We knew we should try something a little different, so we decided to head to the far north and see what we found. After a long 24-hour commute to our South American destination, we finally arrived, only to realize that our Spanish was not as good as we once thought, and this area of South America was also a little more remote than we imagined. Through sign language, broken Spanish, and our efforts at drawing the shape of the rental car we wanted on a piece of paper, it all worked out, and we piled into exactly what we needed for this expedition, a solid 4x4 pickup.
We then set out through a busy town with our Peruvian GPS: an old map that showed pretty much nothing except a straight line heading north. We somehow followed this line appropriately and managed to get out of town. After driving through some of the most barren landscapes I've ever witnessed, we arrived at our destination, an old oil town from the 1920s that looked abandoned. It was littered with remnants of broken buildings and reminded us all of a place straight out of some post-apocalyptic Hollywood movie. We walked around town looking for a place to stay and ended up meeting our friend Luiggi, who not only had a great place for us to set up shop, but would also become our guide for the entire trip.
The town had looked so empty at times that it was almost eerie, but it actually turned out not to be a ghost town. And when the solid left-hander in front of the local surf lodge that we stayed at was working, it became apparent this small town wasn't much of a big secret either. We could not believe how many people were surfing in this small desert community.
After a few days, we had come to terms with the fact that this was probably actually one of the busier spots we had ever visited in our lives. So in true Northeast fashion, we set out through the wild-west-looking terrain in search of new setups. We ended up finding several different waves in the area that were equally as fun and not nearly as crowded as the left-hander in front of our home base.
We continued to surf different waves and explore the area for days to follow. Then, about a week into our trip, tragedy struck. The ocean went flat. Completely flat. The boys and myself have been in a lot of situations in far-out destinations in the world where the waves decided to disappear, but this was by far the most out there any of us had ever been during such an occurrence. The old oil town was beginning to look, smell, and feel more like a different planet every day. Logan, Buzzy, and I were officially suffering from what we called "desert fever." However, it wasn't all bad. During this five-day flat spell, we managed to entertain ourselves with rallying our rental car in the desert, becoming better friends with the locals, and, of course, increasing our red wine and beer in-take.
After a few days had passed, the waves were slowly starting to pick up, and with promise of a solid swell coming at the end of the week, we stuck it out, and during the last two days of our trip, managed to find just the waves we had travelled so far to get.
Of course, I would love to tell everyone that we flew halfway around the world, scored for three weeks straight with no one out, and got some of the best waves of our lives. But that simply didn't happen. It’s funny when trips turn out like this, because even though we didn't score that perfect trip, it makes you really appreciate the little things about travel, like the people you meet, and the places you see. And more than anything, it makes you appreciate the waves, crowds and setups back home. Even if we do often refer to it as "Lake Atlantic."