Surf, Think, Repeat


Jeffrey’s Bay has a Rastas feel to it, especially when staying at Island Vibe.  Most people extend their stay or end up returning back to visit their newfound family they have made with the staff and other travelers.  My first night there, I had an amazing  private room with a balcony overlooking the beach (I lived in the dorms the rest of the time).


I settled in and made my way into town to find a place for dinner.  After looking at the very limited options, I decided on a Mexican restaurant.  I had just ordered some food when a group of people about 4 tables over invited me to join them.  They were a lively bunch of locals who told me the ins and outs of the town.  When I was ready to head back to Island Vibe, Eric and JC offered me a ride so I wouldn’t have to get a cab.  We hopped in the car, and some some street vendors came over trying to sell us necklaces.  Eric made me pick one out.  JC helped me pick the prettiest one.  I thanked Eric for the random act of kindness and put it on.  They dropped me off, I thanked them again, and I said goodnight.  Once inside, I realized I didn’t have my phone.  I hurried to the reception desk and had them call a cab.  The cab driver picked me up and drove me back downtown.  I ran into the place I met them, and they were gone.  I ran into a few surrounding bars and restaurants to try to find them.  They were nowhere.  I found Eric’s car, and the back window was rolled halfway down.  I reached in and unlocked it.  The alarm immediately blared.  I stepped back, looked around, and decided to look in a few other places.  After looking all over, I realized I had no choice.  I had to break in.  I went back to the car, unlocked it setting off the alarm again.  I crawled over the seat where I found my phone on the floor.  I crawled out, locked the door which stopped the alarm, looked around, and went back to my cab driver who had been waiting for me.  I guess I can say I have officially broken into a car.  I’m pretty hard core.


The next day, I decided to sign up for a 3 day surf program.  Why not learn to surf in a place that is famous for it?  I walked up to the surf shack and asked when I could start.  Two surf instructors, Weiner and Mitch, informed me I could start in about an hour.  I came back at the time of the lesson, got my wet suit on, and headed for the beach.  Mitch went over paddling into the wave, balancing on the board, and eventually popping up.  When we were in the ocean, I was very selective with the waves I would choose to practice on.  Mitch would encourage me to take a wave, and I informed him that I have to feel it.  I have to be one with the ocean and feel the wave I should take.  He said, “Oh, you are one of those.”  Yes, yes I am.  I stood up my first day surfing (not very well), and it felt so good when I would catch a wave.  Let me just say, whoever invented wetsuits is a genius.  I have never worn one before, and they are amazing (Just don’t pee in them.  That’s gross).  That afternoon, we went out to surf again.  We weren’t in the water too long before someone spotted a great white shark in the bay.  We had to get out and decided to go longboarding instead.  It reminded me of snowboarding and made me crave the snow as I carved down the street.  I can’t wait to go when I get home!


The next couple days involved more surfing, longboarding, getting to know the other guests, and getting to know the staff.  JC picked me up one evening to show me around J-Bay.  He took me to where the big surf spots are and a good place to watch the sunset.  We saw dolphins making their way across the sea as the sun fell and the moon rose.  I love seeing the moon hanging above waiting for the sun to fall.  I’ve seen the moon at almost every sunset along the coast as if it’s waiting patiently for the sun to leave before taking over the night sky.
Evenings at Island Vibe involved cooking dinner, listening to the waves, making friends from all over the world, and having some very thought provoking conversations, usually with Mitch.  He would ask me questions I have never thought about and didn’t know how to answer (which is weird because I usually have an answer or opinion for everything).  He challenged my thinking, and I like that.  I’m usually the one pushing the boundaries of other people’s minds, asking far out questions, discussing random things, and trying to get inside their minds.  It was refreshing to be on the other side.  He also showed me some amazing music that I can’t wait to download when I actually get a strong enough Wi-Fi connection… still trying to download Elf.  🙁
The Sunday I was in J-Bay, I checked out a church there recommended to me by a couple at ASM.  It was a great church, and I made connections with a few people there.  I talked to the worship pastor about my travels and he told me about his.  He also said, “I’m not saying you should stay for sure, but there is something about Jeffrey’s Bay where people find what they are looking for.”  I’m not sure I could see myself living there, but it opened my mind to the possibility.
That afternoon I went surfing.  After about an hour in the ocean, I felt a tickle around my ankle and then a deep burning.  I got stung by a blue bottle jellyfish.  I asked Jelly, another surf instructor,  what to do and she said to see if the lifeguards have anything for it.  They poured vinegar on the burn to help with the pain.  After that it’s just a waiting game to see how the poison will affect you.  It can cause really bad cramping and affect your glands.  The tentacle wrapped around my ankle leaving what looked like a blister ring that wrapped around like an anklet.  I cramped up a little, but by the time I went to bed that night the marks and burning were both gone.


I was heading to Hogsback after J-Bay, and the shuttle that goes there couldn’t get me on the day I wanted.  I decided to stay at Island Vibes for a couple more nights and enjoy the beach and the company before heading to the mountains.  On my last day, we went longboarding again.  This time is was a larger group of people and we were all taking turns going down the street.  On my third or fourth time, I felt my board starting to wobble as I picked up speed.  I panicked and went tumbling off scraping my hand, elbow, and knee before landing on my back.  When I went to stand, I realized I rolled my ankle as well and it started swelling.  Dang it.  (Me?  Crash?  I think we all knew where this story was going).  The girls ran over to see if I was ok, and Mitch helped clean my wounds.  At least I have some battle scars to remember Africa.