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Learning to Surf!
Undiscovered Nicaragua

(Kassi Miller)
Today, we set our sights on learning to surf! The breaks in front of Monty's are fairly small, great for beginners. Ian and I head out with surf boards and Monty for instruction. He gives us a quick 30 minute or so tutorial and we head into the water. Ian is up and standing on his board within 10 minutes - not surprising. I quickly figure out this is a great way to re-injure my previous torn ACL and head back to the lodge for a sea kayak.

In an hour or so, I've got the surf kayaking thing pretty well figured out. It's great to feel the boat as it catches the movement of the water and starts hurtling forward at a quickening pace. The key part is not tipping the boat over as you turn out to paddle back through the surf. At the end, almost every time, I eddy out too hard and end up with sand and salt water in my nose.

Ian comes out to join me after awhile and I soon notice that he has exactly no surf kayaking ability. This makes me insanely happy as he's at least a thousand times better than me at everything else we try. He takes a beating on the waves and ocean floor and heads back to the lodge.

The afternoon is spent reading books, playing the guitar, drinking beers and walking on the beach. Later on, we walk down the beach a half a mile to the turtle rescue organization. A Swiss group has been working in the community for the past several years to save Olive Ridley turtle eggs from being poached and sold in local markets. We are there to help them make it to the ocean with a little help. There are several thousand hatchling turtles waiting in buckets for us. We plop them down on the sand and point them toward the direction of the water. Some are off and ready to go! Others get turned around or only take a few tentative steps. What's important is that they imprint to the sand, to remember that this is the beach from which they came and to which they will return from thousands of miles in their adulthood. Then, it's our job to walk them through the surf, buckets of turtles over our heads, to the safety of the water beyond the crashing waves. We bob through the waves, jumping up to keep the turtles from falling out of the buckets, until finally we are treading water beyond the breaks. We release the turtles from the buckets and suddenly there are thousands of 5 inch turtles swimming in the water all around us. In just a few minutes time, they are gone and I say a secret prayer to the universe that at least some of them survive and live to return to this beach.

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