Sunday, January 28, 2007

Powered by the Pacific

Photo: Pacific Ocean.

The Pacific Ocean is a fantastic ocean. In May 2006 I sailed across her from California to Hawai'i and she was good to me with favorable winds, peaceful crewmates and plentiful Mahi Mahi (sure, we limped into harbor after three exhausting weeks but it was an epic trip). All shores of the Pacific from Asia to the Americas have given me perfect, uncrowded waves in the unlikeliest of places. And this month I bounced from Chile's always-wooly Pacific to my original home in northern California's wintertime Pacific, and back again.

I returned to California for my Chilean summer vacation in late December after 6 months of coastal activism in Chile. Every time I return to California it's notably more crowded, more stressed and more traffic. But I still love California because it's home and it's beautiful. I still struggle with wanting to live there versus staying in Chile, because it's really nice to feel comfortable every day with one's own culture and people. But Chile calls, strongly.

During my stay in California, Save the Waves Coalition had its annual Board of Directors retreat on a hidden stretch of the North Coast. Except this year we also had all staff members in attendance, as well as two great film makers and Laguna Beach's very own James Pribram, also known as the Eco Warrior (Darn, I wanted that title!) of Surfers' Path Magazine. The filmmakers in attendance were Sachi Cunningham, (a green surfing goddess), and The Great Lakes' very own Vince Duer of Unsalted. We had almost 20 people in two big houses overlooking a very blue and very cold Pacific Ocean.

We argued, cooked, talked, interviewed each other and generally got into one another's heads between really good surf sessions (the weather cooperated in a strange way). Pete of our Board of Directors lost his longboard on a set wave, got dragged over the rocks as I watched from my shortboard, and then he tried to scale a slippery cliff at the never-before-surfed wave in front of our house; for his efforts we joyously christened it Pete's Reef. My resolve and dedication for Save the Waves Coalition only grew from this weekend encounter, and now more than ever I firmly believe in the mission and vision of our small grassroots organization.

Now I'm back in Chile. It's really hot and everyone is on vacation, making Santiago quite nice and peaceful. Next week I'm off on another coastal tour of activism and education via public bus during Chile's busiest coastal summer season, so stay tuned to this blog for more epic adventures from the Americas' Southern Cone.

I'd like to thank the Pacific Ocean for making this blog possible.