For as long as I can remember, exploring the coastline of Chile has been high on my bucket list. As a kid, I watched movies of surfers gliding across long crumbling waves, surrounded by nothing but jagged cliffs, wild flowers, big skies and the occasional sea-lion.
Arriving in the Chilean capital Santiago, we spent a few days lining up at consulates trying to sort visas for later on in the trip. With the Brazilian embassy taking a few days to complete the visa process, we decided to burn the big smoke and head South to the surf town of Pichilemu.
Any surfer will tell you that this few miles of Chilean coastline is renowned for world-class big wave surfing. The main point, Punta de Lobos is a leisurely 7km bicycle ride from town and is home to a thundering left-hander that reels off down the point for close to a mile. I won’t lie, I was a little anxious on the bus ride from Santiago, with thoughts of towering walls of water disturbing my attempts to snooze. Arriving at the point though, I was relieved to see it breaking at a manageable 3-4ft.
Over the next couple of hours in the cold ocean, fighting the rips and moving water, I managed to snag a few decent waves. Surfing in a 5mm wetsuit and on a borrowed board, it took a little while to adjust to my new equipment but it made the experience all that much more rewarding.
After catching one almost to the end of the point I decided to get out. Walking back along the point to where my wife was patiently waiting and snapping photos of me in the water, I found myself smiling like a child at Christmas. I had achieved a long-held dream of surfing this incredibly beautiful point and now it felt like I had all the time in the world to wind through the rocky crags, dodging cacti and giant seabirds.
Sitting back up on the headland, we spent the afternoon watching the local surfers stylishly carving their way down the seemingly endless left-handers as we snacked on piping hot Empanadas and shared a bottle of wine. We spoke for a while, sharing our excitement at being in such a place, but for a lot of the time we sat in silence, allowing the moment and location to absorb into our being. It’s important to take the time to be silent and listen to nature from time to time, especially when you find yourself in a place as beautiful as Pichilemu, and the rest of Chile for that fact. These places of natural beauty have a way of speaking to the soul, gently reminding me that life is good and that the decision to dedicate my life to travel was a good one.