Monday, June 2, 2008

Travel Story: The Shaseks in Troncones, Mexico

Judy Shasek has some sort of shark karma - luckily, shark karma that doesn't involve getting bitten. She was circled by a shark while swimming in Florida this year and then vacationed in Troncones, Mexico (on the Pacific Ocean in the state of Guerrero, MX) last week during a string of shark sitings. Judy and Ed Shasek sent these 2 emails to our land-locked Stand up Paddle Bend (Oregon) group this past week.
Hi SUP of Bend (first email)

We went to Troncones Beach in Mexico yesterday. It was a 45 minute cab ride from our resort - along the way Santos the cab driver taught us a lot of Spanish, including the word tiburon - which means SHARK!!!!!! We arrived at Troncones and caught up with some hard core surfers (3-4 times out each day) but they were all on the beach. No one was out on the break. Why-we inquired.. look at this link

Three sightings of sharks had occurred that morning chasing everyone out of the water. They suggested we go to a different beach with better surf, called Salitas Beach. It is one of the best long board breaks in the world. It is a point break with long lefts. Our cab driver had waited for us so we hopped back in and began the 30 minute drive - along the way we traveled mostly on dirt roads learning the words vaca (cow), mango (the fruit) and calla (fighting rooster) - we taught Santos many important English words as well.

The first thing we saw at Salitas beach was Jacquiline's restaurant - 20 plastic tables and chairs on the sand with a tarp over, and cages with huge cock fighting roosters. Our cab driver recognized the bird immediately as a champion. Along the beach we saw no one in the nicely formed surf except for 8 caballos (horses). They waded and swam the whole time we were there.

Walking toward a green sign that said "Zurf Shop" we ran in to a nice young woman from Phoenix. She chatted about her morning surfing - apparently several sharks were lolling around and looking up at the surfers and freaked them all out and no one was in the water. She was still wide eyed hours later as she told us about it. She thought it was only right that she tell us since she wouldn't go back in the water herself and we were heading toward the Zurf Shop.

We met a lot of hard core surfers who have been surfing there and they were using the thatch roof Internet cafe or playing ping pong - many had tattoos and were quite fond of the F word. Luckily only Ed experienced that. Judy stayed on the beach with a nice couple from Marin County, California (Mitch and Erika). The surf dudes told Ed that there had been three shark attacks in 3 days and after seeing the sharks this morning it wasn't worth it.

Ok - now think about it. What would you have done. You are an hour and 20 minutes from the resort after traveling gravel and dirt roads and paying $50 one way. The next thing I knew Ed is walking toward me with a surf board. he said "screw the sharks and paddled out." I simply picked up the video camera and pulled on my surf booties to document whatever was going to happen. The water was crystal clear and warm, with a rocky reef bottom but no urchins. It was knee deep 800 yards out. Ed - to his credit- did not go out to the second break (well just to the edge of it ) where the sharks had been sighted.

He paddled for his first wave, made a left turn and surfed it in to the beach. He paddled out again and now there was a second surfer (quite an expert) with him. The tattooed surfer asked him if he knew about the shark attacks. He told Ed not to paddle to the outside break and to keep his legs on the board (read attached article)

Ed took one more wave but about halfway in to the beach, wiped out and cut his knee on the reef. He was bleeding, so he decided to come in and give me the board for my turn. Inexplicably I happily paddled out and took 3-4 waves. Amazingly I caught the waves and had the best surfing I've had in 40 years (can you believe it is 40 years???) Mitch and Ericka (from Marin County) thought we were quite the rock stars. We learned it was Mitch's 40th birthday so we opened out cooler and shared a few beers before calling it a day.

We hooked back up with Santos who had made friends with the owner of the champion cock fighter and we learned it was going to the US (we were that not illegal in the US??) Santos shrugged and told us about his cows and his soccer team all the way home.

Upon reaching the resort we took a dip in the pool with our maragritas, chatted with various club members about our day them showered and went to the wine tasting. We learned the history and culture and passion of the wine makers in Northern Mexico from Yesenia the hotel's sommolier. She was entertaining (sadly, Judy was still in "la turista" and sipped guava tea)

Looking forward to kayaking today, will update later.

Ed and Judy
Hi SUP of Bend- (Second Email)
Ed and I just got back from Z-town and surfing at Troncones, Mexico (actually the shark attack all but closed down Troncones so we went to La Salidita.),0,1059238.story
The surfers there were all out of the water too after spotting three sharks right near them on the outside break. We analyzed the situation and the fact we were only going to be there that one day and had some fun surfing the inside break.

We recommend that the group reads Gerry Lopez's book, SURF IS WHERE YOU FIND IT- it's one that kept both Ed and me engrossed throughout two long travel days and lots of plane delays. We both started loving waves and salt water at the same beach in Florida as toddlers - and the stories hit the ocean-spirit right on!

See ya Friday!
Ed and Judy

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