December 2016 - September 2017
  • Day351

    Rapture Surf Camp 4.0

    December 13, 2017 in Nicaragua ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    My return to Rapture started with an unexpected surprise. Before I left for Popoyo we talked about me coming back for my last 3 nights before leaving Nicaragua to actually go back home. I knew they had a new volunteer but the deal was I would help out and do some bar shifts. But this was before Josh the owner of Rapture showed up. He changed a lot and made the guys get rid of everything and everybody which or who wasn’t useful to the camp in his eyes. So when I arrived on sunday Johannes told me they had no job for me and I would have to pay for my last 3 nights like a normal guest. After working here for over 4 month and always hearing how well I did my job this felt pretty rough. But in the end I knew that it only would have been a friendship deal to let me work even though they already had someone who would otherwise do the job himself.
    So I tried not to be too upset and enjoy my last few days without any responsibilities.
    It was a weird feeling but I also enjoyed this new situation a little. Just sitting down for dinner letting Simon bring me my food 😉

    On my last day we went surfing to Playa Remanso. It was a fun day and I took a lot of smaller waves pretty close to the shore. One time I wanted to get back out from the beach and pushed my board in front of me even though a wave was coming. The board went straight up and crashed against my nose. I thought I heard it break and almost started crying and laughing at the same moment. How stupid would this be to injure myself on my last day of traveling. But even though it hurt a lot it still felt steady.

    Later that day when we were back at the camp almost all the guests decided to go into town for dinner. As I was picked up around 9 to go to the airport I couldn’t join. So I decided to go down to the beach by myself for a proper goodbye for sunset. I got me a beer and sat down on the rocks watching the sun go down. I remembered how lucky I was that I had the chance to spend a year like this. So much had turned out completely different than planned. But so much better. I had started with the idea of traveling for 3 or 4 month. When I actually started the trip I said I would be back after 6 month. And now I’m sitting on a beach watching my last sunset in Latin America almost 12 month later.
    This was the moment to become sentimental. I took another sip of my beer and BÄHM, suddenly there was super loud music blasting down the beach!
    Behind me they were setting up a stage and a soundsystem for a surf contest happening the next day and they had just started the sound check. So it was the second time that day I was kind of laughing and crying at the same time...

    The sunset was amazing. Probably one of the most colorful I have seen. And even thought the music made it a little absurd it was the perfect goodbye from my little paradise.

    I went back up to the Surfcamp for dinner and met 3 girls that had arrived the night before but hadn’t been surfing with us that day. I tried to figure out their ages as one of them was definitely looking older than the other two. Luckily Simon was curious as well and just asked. It turned out they were mother and daughter + the best friend of the daughter. Jessica (the mum) was super nice and we ended up talking the rest of the night. After dinner we moved over to the deck chairs by the pool as someone said there were supposedly a lot of shooting stars to be seen tonight. Simon joined us and first I didn’t see any as I was always looking at the people while talking. But after Jessica and Simon had both seen a few already I kept my eyes on the sky. And now I saw them. There were lots!
    After the sunset I didn’t expect the night to hold anything else for me but this was amazing! Sitting by the pool, having a really good conversation and just counting the shooting stars 🤩
    Later Yader our driver came to pick me up and bring me to the airport. A thank you gift from the guys - which had given me a lot more time to spend at the camp than if I would have had to take public transport. So no reason to hold a grudge for making me pay my last 3 nights.

    Getting on that plane taking me of the continent was definitely the hardest step of this entire trip. But I was also looking forward to meet my family and my friends again (and cheese and bread and bubbles). And my journey home would still take me a few days so enough time to get ready!
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  • Day347

    San Juan del Sur 4.0

    December 9, 2017 in Nicaragua ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    After my week in Popoyo I wanted to spend one last night in San Juan del Sur.

    For sunset I went up to the christ statue - I had been up over 9 month earlier on my first night in SJDS before going to Rapture for the first time as a guest. Back then I hadn’t known how much my plans for the next month would change. 6 month became a year and the idea of volunteering in a hostel for a few weeks turned into month living my dream of working with likeminded people and surfing every day at Rapture.

    After the sun was down I went back to Casa Oro where I was spending the night. I met some people in the lobby and we went out of one last crazy night out in the party capital of Nicaragua. I wouldn’t say I like SJDS a lot as a destination for traveling, as it is the typical overcrowded party town where backpackers come just for the sake of partying. But after spending so much time in the area I liked it because I got familiar with it. I knew the shops, I knew the people. I guess we were living a love-hate relationship. So I couldn’t leave without one more night of drinks at the beach and dancing to reggeaton and bad party music in an open air bar with sandy feed.
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  • Day340

    Popoyo 2.0

    December 2, 2017 in Nicaragua ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    At the end of my time in Nicaragua I wanted to spend at least some time away from Rapture doing my own thing and not being responsible for anybody or anything else. So I had decided to leave just after a new volunteer (who was also called Simon) had arrived.

    I took the shuttle to San Juan del Sur and started my first day back on the road with a delicious breakfast at Simon Says. I had made a reservation for 2 nights at Nica Waves in Popoyo but when I got there I realized that it was not a really social place and it was a 15 minute walk to get to the beach for surfing. So I decided to make the best of it for now but change location after the 2 nights.

    There was a girl volunteering at Nica Waves and I went for a surf with her one morning and on my second night we went for a night swim under the „super moon“ which was one of these unforgettable moments which makes traveling so amazing.

    After the 2 nights I changed to cafe con leche. It was a little over my usual budget but as the guys from the surf camp had paid me some money for the signs I painted for them I decided to treat myself to this. It’s situated right at the beach just a 5 minute walk from beginners break (which was still my prefered break) and they had the most delicious french toast ever for breakfast!

    The hostel was run by a french canadian guy and for some reason also the guests were 90% french canadian. It was a nice change after Rapture with usually at least 50% germen speaking people. I didn’t really find a proper surf buddy but I actually enjoyed being completely independent in what I was doing as my days at Rapture were usually run by the routine of the surfcamp.
    I usually surfed twice a day and spend the rest of the day chilling in a hammock or by the pool, reading or talking to people. At night I would watch colorful sunsets sitting on the beach right outside the hostel with a beer and have dinner with people I met in the hostel afterwards. The days were kind of uneventful but I really enjoyed my time so I decided to stay here till the end of my week away from Rapture.

    Saturday morning I took the shuttle back to SJDS where I wanted to spend one more night before going back to Rapture.
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  • Day308

    Rapture Surf Camp // Road Trip Managua

    October 31, 2017 in Nicaragua ⋅ 🌬 30 °C

    I never really thought about the medical situation in Nica till the moment a girl popped out her kneecap on her first attempt to surf down at Playa Maderas. She wasn’t part of our group but everybody who had some medical background (from actual doctors to physiotherapists) tried to pop it back in. When nothing worked they realised they had to bring her to the closest hospital in Rivas - which was a 90 minute drive by car. Her ride was just a normal car but the only way to move her was laying down with her leg straight up in a 90 degree angle. So we offered our car as there was enough room for her to lay on the while her friends were sitting beside her holding up her leg. Needless to say the used a surfboard as a stretcher to carry her to the car.
    After this incident I got more aware of the lack of medical help in the area. There are a few doctors in San Juan del Sur but for everything more than a cut or an infection you need to go to Rivas and people told me if you have the chance you should probably consider going to a private hospital in Managua.
    So when our long time guest Hanna who had had 👏 with her knee before told me she needed to see a doctor I recommended her going there.
    I had just put my surfboard on our car to go to the beach with the group but I could see in Hannas face she didn‘t wanna go on this adventure by herself. So when she asked me if I would come with her I waved my board goodbye and put on some pants and shoes (I‘m talking about elephant pants and Birkenstocks here but I hadn‘t been wearing proper close like this in a while so it felt like dressing up for the city).
    Johannes told us the best place would be „Vivians Palace“ as they had really good doctors who spoke Oxford English. Sounded like a fancy Spa to me.
    He called Eric of our drivers and we were on our way to Managua.

    Hanna and I decided to make the best of our spontaneous road trip so when we passed through Rivas I asked Eric if we could make a quick stop to grab some beers. So before 10 am we had our first Toña and Hanna was the DJ playing some proper road trip tunes. Obviously after the the first beer we had to pee right away. I guess Eric did not believe anybody needed to see a doctor but we only did this trip for fun.

    When we arrived at the hospital I realized it wasn’t called Vivian‘s Palace but Vivian Pellas which was just the name of the founder I guess. And it neither looked like a spa nor did anybody speak english.
    I did my best talking to the front desk explaining Hannas situation and after I said private insurance they send us up to see an orthopedist.

    The doctor led us in his office which did not look like a doctors office but one of a historian with a desk crowed with books and family pictures. As his english was as basic as Hannas spanish it was on me to communicate with my not much less basic spanish.

    As Hanna was studying to become a doctor herself and knew about her knee situation pretty well she was pretty uncompromising about what she wanted.
    Her knee was swollen due to an infection but she didn’t believe that anti-inflammation-medication would help and wanted the doctor to drain the fluid. As I‘m not a doctor and I didn’t even know how to explain most of the stuff she told me in german or english this whole conversation was probably pretty ridiculous. But with a lot of hand signs and draining noises I managed to explain the situation to the doctor. He would have preferred to work with medication first but Hanna got really annoyed when I told her. Even though he (luckily) didn’t understand what Hanna was saying he did get that my „She would really prefer to drain the fluid right away“ (again with supportive hand signs and noises) was more than a request.
    So he showed us around the book shelf behind his desk to the treatment part of his office. Here it got even weirder. There were all kind of prosthetics standing around and when he opened a wardrobe to wash his hands in a wall-hidden sink I was hoping for Hanna to ask for the medication instead of the huge syringe he took out to pull the fluid out of her swollen knee. But I guess her urge to get back on the board was bigger than her fear of non-sterile medical equipment 😬
    In the end Hanna payed him 100,- in cash and we were back outside where we found a place for the worst mexican food ever and more beer and tequila to celebrate our achievements (Hanna celebrated her normal-sized knee and I my ability to make people understand what other people want in spanish).
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  • Day299

    Rapture Surf Camp // Playa Hermosa

    October 22, 2017 in Nicaragua ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Once I got more confident with surfing, Playa Hermosa took over Playa Remansos place as my favorite surf spot! I had some of my best sessions here and also loved the setting and even the drive here (driving myself through the little rivers crossing the road or chilling on the back of the pick up).
    My absolute highlight was definitely when a group of whales showed up for our sunset surf session. The picture looks unreal but nope, this actually happened.
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  • Day289

    Rapture Surf Camp // My first Surfboard

    October 12, 2017 in Nicaragua ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    The use of the surfboards were part of my deal. But as I was to choose a board after all the guests had picked a board I sometimes had to change board every day. So when I knew I was coming back to Rapture for another 3 month I tried to find my own board. Just a week before flying back to Nica I saw an add on facebook for a board exactly like I was looking for. 6‘8“ long with a lot of volume for a decent price. I wrote the girl and she was staying at the hostel just down the road from Rapture!
    I talked to Johannes (one of the owners of the surfcamp) and he went to check it out for me and brought it back to the camp.
    Obviously he was also interested in keeping the board for the camp. So when I got there a week later it was already rented out to the guests 😅
    But as he fixed some dings for this reason I didn‘t complain. The girl who was using it was staying 2 more days so for my first few days I got back into surfing on a 7‘2“ I took from the camp till I finally went for my first session on my first own surfboard 😍
    I fell in love immediately. Due to a lot of volume the board was really forgiving and easy to catch waves on. But due to its shape I was still able to turn it.
    The only thing I hated was the ugly huge logo on both sides. And I always had to look at it while sitting in the lineup waiting for my wave. So I figured it’s time to get creative and painted a big blue triangle over it. Now it was really my board!
    I learned a lot now that I was surfing constantly the same board. I remember the first time I managed to turn up on the face of the wave and then go back down purposely! I was so stoked.
    And even though I still had really bad days when nothing seemed to work, I still managed to get more confidence and just go for it.

    Unfortunately taking the board home would have been ridiculusly expensive on my flight so I had to leave it behind - probably one of the hardest good byes...
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  • Day282

    Rapture Surf Camp // Tropical Storm Nate

    October 5, 2017 in Nicaragua ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    During my first weeks back at the camp Nicaragua was hit by tropical storm „Nate“.
    It was already quite windy and raining a lot the night before during dinner time so we had to move the tables closer together to avoid the rain coming into the restaurant area which had only a roof but 2 completely open sides.
    But when I closed the bar and went to bed everything seemed normal. I woken up during the night when the storm started getting stronger and stronger. We had closed all the windows but through an open part above the windows which was only covered with a mosquito net the rain still came in and reached the first row of beds (mine was one of these). I knew there was nothing really we could do but I didn’t really go back to sleep for most of the time. I actually saw one of the trees in the jungle right outside our window falling down and I heard a few more further away.
    Around 7 I got up to check out the camp. Luckily our buildings were really robust so nothing really happened here. But a tree had fallen on our water pump and electricity lines from SJDS. So for now we were out of running water and power. Everything was wet and covered with leaves and dirt from the jungle but other than that no harm was done.
    Lots of trees came down in the jungle, a few had fallen on our road and a lot of the other roads were also blocked or flooded. This meant no chance for our staff to get to the camp by motorcycle. So Johannes went to pick them all up and bring them to the camp via a backroad above our camp (from here you can walk down) while José and I started preparing breakfast for the guests (luckily we cook with gas).
    Once the staff showed up everybody was getting to work right away. It was amazing to see that even the guests helped cleaning away the mess the storm had left us with.
    The wind was still pretty strong and it was raining on and of. We could see massive waves down in Maderas. It was pretty obvious there was noch chance of surfing today.
    After some of the guys had cleared the trees of the road Johannes drove to town to go shopping for the next days (we weren’t sure if the storm would pick up again) and took some of the guests with him. I stayed back with the rest. There wasn’t much to do and as everything was still wet most people just went back to there beds. The only other place that was pretty well protected from the rain was the bar. So after a quick nap we decided to do the obvious - start drinking!
    I poored everybody a shoot and honestly the second we put our glasses down after taking this shot the power came back on! We tried the same thing again and again to get the water running but this wouldn’t work.
    After a while we saw Johannes coming up the road walking. Two more trees had fallen on our road again and he came to pick up the chain saw so he could bring up the car which was parked down the road with his shopping and our guests.8
    After dinner everybody went to bed quite early. But as the forecast was saying the storm would pick up again we made sure everything was secured for the night - first of all our surfboards 😉
    Luckily the night was a lot quieter and the next day the weather was almost back to normal. But as the ocean was still to crazy to go surfing we made another tour into town to give our guests a chance to get out of the camp. This time I was driving and it was shocking to see what the storm had done to the roads and the small houses alongside of it. Also the view of the beach in SJDS was devastating. The bay is usually really quiet with some fishing boats laying on the beach which is lined by a few restaurants. Now the water went up all the way to the street and the fishing boats had been crashed against the restaurants.
    On our way home we went down to Playa Maderas to take a look at our home beach. It was covered with rubbish. So we decided to organize a beach clean up the next day.
    So the next morning I took all our guests and lots of bags back down there. Everybody filled up a bag and as lots of other groups had the same idea the beach was starting to look a little better.
    After this we made our first attempt to get back into the water. We went to Playa Remanso as this beach is the most protected and waves here are usually the smallest. But they were still to heavy for most of us. I actually managed to paddle out with Melina but after I had to ditch my board a few times to dive through massive waves crashing right onto me I realized there was no chance of surfing for me. I took a wave to carry me back to the beach and actually managed to stand up in the white water. It was definitely the heaviest white wash I ever surfed 😅
    The next day was a sunday which is usually surf-free. But as we hadn’t really been surfing for 3 days now we took our guests back to the beach. While Johannes went with the more experienced ones down to Maderas, Lorena and I took the beginners/intermediates to SJDS. I had never seen proper waves here but as the swell was still pretty big it was actually a lot of fun.

    Within just a few days life at the camp got back to normal. But you could still see the damage Nate had done to the area along the roads. So we decided to use our social media reach to get our followers and former guests to donate money for a local organisation. Lorena did a beatiful short video which we posted on our facebook page.

    https://www.facebook.com/Rapturecamps/videos/1915010555193270/
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  • Day265

    Rapture Surf Camp 3.0

    September 18, 2017 in Nicaragua ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Coming back to Rapture felt a little like coming home. It was strange to suddenly be the new girl again that no one knew. But the guests were open like usual and I got to know everybody quickly. Most of the staff hadn‘t changed and they gave me a warm welcome. I also got some compliments for my spanish. So I guess I did improve a little.

    For the first few days I worked with Lena who had been volunteering here over the last weeks. She showed me everything that had changed and was super enthusiastic. Lena left after a week together but besides her there were other people working with me during my almost 3 month.
    There was our photographer José from Brasil who was the first to make use of the new yoga deck - even though I never saw him doing yoga 😉
    For a few weeks his friend Lorena joined the team and made amazing videos for the camp. She was a great surfer and I loved to stay around her in the line up to learn from her.
    In October Simon from England became our new surf guide. He had been working at Rapture Portugal over the last few years. He took over a few of my bar shifts and made my job a lot easier. He was a great colleague and got me addicted to cinnamon buns.
    In my last weeks we got an additional photographer. Stephan made some footage with the new drone we smuggled into the country via Costa Rica. (The smuggling of the drone is another great story but probably nothing I should put in writing).
    I met so many great guests during my time and can only say thanks to all you guys for making my time so special.

    I think I can say for the three month I was living my dream! Working in a bikini, surfing everyday and hanging out with great people - what more do you need?
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  • Day263

    Back to Nicaragua

    September 16, 2017 in Nicaragua ⋅ ⛅ 33 °C

    After almost 9 months of traveling all the way from Mexico down to Chile and Bolivia all by bus, car or boat I took my first flight to get back to Central America. I flew from Lima to Bogota where I had a 7 hour stopover over night to sleep on a bench in the airport. From here I first went to Costa Rica for another quick stopover before finally getting to my beloved Nicaragua.
    I had never been to the airport in Managua but I felt confident being here just knowing this is Nica. I ignored most of the taxi drivers offering me rides to wherever I wanted to go and just asked one where the bus to the market leaves from where I could catch a bus to Rivas. Obviously he first wanted to take me there but when I insisted on the bus he pointed across the street and a few minutes later I was sitting in one of the familiar old American school busses cruising through Managua.
    It felt so good to be back! I took the bus to Rivas where the people tried to fool me like usual saying there are no busses to San Juan that day. But I just laughed and told them it's not my first time here. So I made my way from Managua to San Juan in about 5 hours paying less than $3,-!
    Johannes picked me up in San Juan del Sur and I was back to paradise ☺
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  • Day259

    Lima

    September 12, 2017 in Peru ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Lima was kind of the last stop of my big trip of exploring Latin America. From here I was heading back to Nicaragua where I would spend most of my time in the Surfcamp working and surfing.
    I checked into the Pariwana Hostel which belonged to the hostel I stayed in Cusco. It was a bit more expensive but I knew from Cusco that it would be worth its money. After a shower I headed out exploring my surroundings. The hostel was in Miraflores, a modern district of Lima. I made my way down to the coast passing by lots of fastfood restaurants and tourist shops. The view of the ocean was mainly grey. The sky was covered in clouds (and smogg?). But I watched some surfers out in the water and got more and more excited about heading to Nicaragua soon. I thought about paddling out, but why renting a board and a wet suit when I knew I had my surfboard waiting for me in 3 days in a place where I could surf in a bikini?
    There was a fancy shopping mall at the oceanfront and I wandered around here a little. I found a photo exhibition showing pictures of people from Peru. The pictures were great and you could fantasies about the story behind every person easily while looking at them.
    Later I met up with Sarmad, the guy I went bungee jumping with in Cusco, in the bar of my hostel. We had a few drinks before heading out for what everybody recommended for Lima: eating the best ceviche! We went to "Punto Azul" and had an amazing dinner with 3 different kinds of ceviche as a starter followed by a tasty seafood rice.
    The next day we went on the free walking tour to the historical center of Lima. The tour was nice and informative but not as much fun as the once I took in La Paz or Quito. I guess it always depends on your guide.
    After chilling out at the hostel for a while we went to the second attraction everybody had told me not to miss when in Lima: Circuito Magico del Agua - a park full of illuminated water fountains.
    It was kind of cheesy but still nice. And we had a lot of fun trying to get to the center of a water fountain with different rings of fountains starting and stopping randomly. Unfortunately I started running 3 times the moment the water started. So my shoes and pants were soaked afterwards (and it wasn't warm in Lima). We took lots of nice and funny pictures before heading back to the hostel for dinner and drinks.
    The next day I joined the free walking tour of Barranco the bohemian district of Lima. It was nice to see this side of the city with lots of streetart and nice little shops. I met a group of people on the tour and we went for a craft beer brewery afterwards for a beer. We split up for dinner and I went with just one girl to a bar near the hostel that had amazing sandwiches with good italian ham and cheese. Something I hadn't had in a while.
    The next was my last day in South America. I met Sarmad again over lunch and went down to the coast afterwards.
    After an early dinner of ceviche and rice with seafood (this time in a more affordable place) I caught my shuttle to the airport and was off to Nicaragua.
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