Serendipity led us to spend Thanksgiving on the Pacific Coast with friends at a surf camp in Santa Catalina. It was amazeballs.
High tide came to within 20 feet of our front door. The harvest moon rose over Brahman cattle in pastures separated by living fences. Lightening bugs lit our way as we wadded across the estero for sublime ceviche and passion fruit sorbet.
And then there was the surfing itself. We took lessons with a wonderful teacher named Davíd and all stood up on our boards no problem. The break was the friendliest stretch of ocean I have ever encountered. I did something janky to my elbow on that first day and spent the rest of the trip watching people slay it in the surf, progressing by leaps and bounds each day.
Midway through our time in Santa Catalina, we ventured out to Coiba National Park on a lancha. The place was a prison until recently which ironically helped preserve it as a relatively untouched tropical beach paradise. Created from the same tectonic hot spot that formed the Galapagos Islands, the region is noted for both its marine and terrestrial biodiversity.
We saw dolphins, flying fish, sea turtles that were a meter across, white tip reef sharks, eels, monkeys, iguanas, and scads of fish along the coral reefs that ringed the islands and boomers off Coiba.
In a miraculous farewell, we were called out of our room while packing to see around eighty baby sea turtles emerge from a nest not three paces from our door. The tide was low so an immense expanse of hot sand separated them from the surf zone. We shuttled them to the water, marveled at their small perfection, and wished them long life.