So, as Jamie McClellan and Phileas say their goodbyes we can get the lowdown on what went down from Jamie:
Phileas arrived during an unusually flat October. One surf in two weeks is all we got. Every wave a closeout. This place can be very frustrating.
Then a blip on the long range charts prompted a message to Graeme. Despite strict instructions, "Two weeks and pass", I let G know Phileas was going to have a little change of itinerary.
Hurricane Gonzalo passed just north of Puerto Rico on the morning of October 14. Tatum's birthday was the next day, so we were going, hurricanes be damned. I had planned the trip months in advance. I finally told her what we were doing 24 hours before we got on the plane.
"Oh, and by the way, there's a hurricane that might hit PR while we're
trying to land..."
We landed in San Juan at noon, grabbed our rental and bolted to the NW coast. The swell filled in that afternoon and didn't let up for days as Gonzalo slowed it's forward speed and grew to an intense category 4 storm. Bermuda got a mauling.
Puerto Rico got 7 days of fantastic surf.
We got lucky.
October is early season for the Caribbean tourist mill, so crowds in PR were thin and mostly local. Light south wind meant the entire north coast pumped, spreading crowds even more. I surfed at dawn every day and again most afternoons in powerful reefbreak surf in the head high to double overhead range. Phileas handled really well for the power behind the swell. We flew in the early morning glass before the wind turned on each day. The afternoon winds caused some interesting cross chop across the long, pulsing walls in Rincon.
We stayed in a treehouse, hiked waterfalls and lived on cafe conleche, fish tacos and coco frios.
It gets harder and harder to leave every time we go.
And so Phileas heads onwards up the East Coast and into the Big Apple, courtesy of Tim Darwish.
To be continued...