We left Cardiff at 5:30am, quick 30 minutes to the Border and it’s a whole different world. We stopped to check the first beachbreak south and found gorgeous shoulder high, glassy peaks breaking in the thickening fog. We knew the water temp had dropped significantly at home and we knew it’s always colder down here.
Suited, we walked down the cobblestone street as light poured through the old archway. Yeah, it was cold. June ice cream headaches with stunned fingers and toes. But the bending bowls! Oh those bending bowls. A reinforcing south swell was joined by a touch of NW windswell to provide hollow rides all along. We warmed a bit chasing the peaks in out of fleeting rip currents as a thickening fog swallowed the coastline. Wind picked up side offshore and we departed, heading south. A vibrant fogbow illuminated the beach as we meandered south again.
With no plan for the rest of the morning, we picked a random spot on the map and headed down a winding road scribbled across the prominent peninsula. Reaching the end of the road, we found a beautiful cove, a small town and a long street market. And lastly we found the star of the show: La Bufadora! An impressive blow hole, tucked into a fold of the coast. Every surge of swell entering the Cove focuses into a small crevice in the cliff, blasting water and rainbows hundreds of feet into the air.
We drove to our rental just in time for a siesta before some glassy waves in front of the house at sunset. There is something very special about checking the surf from the roof deck then walking out of your abode, to the sand and into the Ocean without ever losing eye contact with the sea.
We had a delicious dinner at one of the fine local restaurants on the cliff with some proper Mexican hydration the locals called Tecate. Followed by astrophotography on the deck, we slept well.
We woke at dawn the next morning and groggily checked the surf. Glass. Not a single breeze or breath of wind. Chest high peaks with a few bigger sets graced the sandbars out front. Of course the water temp hadn’t come up so we gutted up for the chill. But once again, chasing fun peaks kept us warm. As the sun rose over the hill, a deep fog settled in. All of the sudden we weren’t just witnessing a fogbow, we were inside the fogbow. Vibrant colors refracted out the fog and we hooted in excitement as the combo swell kept producing glassy bowls.
We hadn’t seen another surfer since we’d been down but out of the fog a guy paddled out and caught a couple fun waves. We started chatting and it turned out that like Swell Lines staff, the guy is a special needs educator in North County San Diego…cheers to summer vacation!
We moved to a different rental down the beach and when we arrived, the very sweet owner, Cathy greeted us with her squad of delightful Mexi-Mutts that she rescues. She showed us around her gorgeous house full of amazing stained glass and stone-work. She also offered us a unique amenity that more rentals should offer: puppy time with a new litter she recently rescued. Everybody could use some puppy time in between sessions of tube time.
The sun was high and the peaks remained glassy so we went to the beach out front. After a solid round of beach paddle ball, with a nice sweat going, it was time for a swim. Air temperature in the mid-80s…water temp feeling like mid-50s. Rising tide pushed the wave energy inside and provided more fun, invigorating waves.
Get out of the sun, siesta time. Then towards sunset, we were watching the waves thinking about an evening swim. But the sky was cloudy and the wind was up a bit onshore. It didn’t look enticing. Then a set of wave clouds formed over the horizon. We had to go swim and just to add a little spice, we only wore trunks. Even the deep bone chill was worth the few barrel visions and fun waves we caught before heading to dinner still shivering. A shot tequila warmed us from the inside while enjoying a Radiohead sing along on the deck of the rental while the Ocean sand backup.
The surf remained glassy and fun the next morning before we packed up and headed north. A record-breaking one hour border wait and we were home with wetsuit rashes, fatigue and a joyful haze. Another successful, simple adventure across the border…we should do that monthly.