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Punta Del Diablo | Part Two

Part One can be found here...

Sat in the tranquil, flat sea, the fin has disappeared and not a single set is on the horizon. I curse the perfect setting, the lack of any other surfers and think if I had just been surfing a regular busy break, my chances of being eaten would at least shift in my favour. But no, I had to be selfish, I had to seek solitude and a gluttony of endless waves just to myself. And there it was again, a flash of grey in my peripheral vision. Realising I was screwed either way, I figured I might as well make it work for its meal. A tiny set appears on the horizon, that's all I need. I spin round, nose towards the shore and paddle like crazy.

I expect at any moment to be snagged from below, a tug on the leash if I'm lucky, or my foot, not so much. I feel the lift on my board, I paddle harder, my arms already feeling like noodles, and just about edging in front of the breaking wave, I tuck in and just ride it straight, all the way to the beach. The feeling of sheer jubilation, I had not felt this good on a wave since the first one I ever caught. Hitting the sand, life had never felt so sweet. Limo comes running up to me, assuming he was equally as relieved to see me reaching the beach.

Dropping the board, I turn round to the lineup and I finally see a clear picture of what was hunting me; several bottlenose dolphins. Playfully enjoying the now totally empty lineup. I would be feeling embarrassed if it wasn't for the overwhelming sickness still gripping me, the fear and adrenaline still coursing through me. Now presented with the somehow even more perfectly serene and idyllic setting, I should jus paddle right back out. But I didn't care, I was done.

The morning routine in Punta was something I could feel pretty content with living the rest of my life by; a walk to the only shop in town with Limo, traipsing through patches of jungle, multicoloured birds taking flight into an exploding firework of colours every time Limo would attempt to chase them down. Picking up a bag of yogurt, some fresh fruit, bread and dulce de leche balls, which in turn would be the start of a beautiful Latin American love affair.

Every week or so, a bus trip into the nearest town would be needed, and Chuy was the closest. The strange border town is split right in the middle; one side you have Uruguay, the other Brazil, complete with different currency and prices depending on what side of the street you're on. Seasoned experts would know which side of the street would be best for what you're after. Anything electronic; go to Brazil, fresh food and produce; Uruguay is your best bet. Dealing with this many people and the haggling markets drained me more than it should, but the bus ride back and the welcoming sight of Limo at the shelter would make everything alright once again.

Barely having only spent two months in South America, I figured I'd peaked already, Punta Del Diablo was everything you could want; a simple cabin, a dog, empty surf. But the day had arrived, it was time to move on. The bus to Brazil was scheduled, and not a single part of me wanted to leave this place. I had found a home, everything I needed and I hadn't seen a single tourist in over a month. An endless summer with empty lineups and as many dulce de leche balls I could stomach. The walk to the bus stop was a long and stifling one, 11am and the temperature was already in the late 20s. Limo, leading the way as usual, watching him chase the various fauna all I could think of was how the hell was I going to be able to say goodbye to him.

We got to the bus stop, and right on cue, Limo sits down in the shade of the bus shelter and waits for me to depart, assuming a return later in the day. Dropping my things, I say goodbye to him one last time, which was just about one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. The bus hisses to a stop, clouds of dust swirl around me as the doors open. I step on and take one last look at Limo and Punta Del Diablo as I have no choice but to continue through South America.

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