Watching a sunset on the East Coast is easier said than done. The sun sets in the west, however the ocean is generally to the east, so finding a good vantage point to check out the dwindling daylight is key. I thought that this would be one of those easy things to do during a boring week so I could check something off the list: Drive up some hill, watch sun set, go home. Nothing life changing, Easy peasy. Luckily this adventure was way more than that, unplanned, not well thought out and wonderful in its randomness and spontaneity.
So I have this friend who I hadn’t seen in 8 years, let’s call him Juice for the sake of some semblance of anonymity on the interwebs. I met Juice back in 2001 when we were both riding the Red Line from Braintree into Boston pretty late on a Sunday night. Normally I don’t strike up conversations with strangers on the T late at night (in fact, generally I advise against it), but he was carrying a surfboard and since there is no beach near the Braintree train station I was curious about what the deal was and what his story was. I struck up a conversation and the rest was history. Anyways. He moved to Californina around the time that I moved to Seattle and we kinda lost touch. Until recently that is. I’ve been on the lookout for surfing buddies & his name popped into my mind, so I decided to see if his cell phone from 8 years ago still worked. Shockingly it actually did, and he was east coast bound again, and he was looking to reconnect with adventuresome folks like myself. Funny how stuff works out like that.
Fast forward a few months. After some misfires on hanging out, I gave Juice a ring last Tuesday morning & was like “Yo. The fun time waves of awesomeness are here. I wanna go surfing. Let’s do this.” And then he was like “I’m in, but it’s all about making a trip out of it and going down to the Cape. Screw a day trip to New Hampshire. You drive and I’ll provide stimulating conversation and knowledge of the Cape geography where it relates to surf spots and illegal camp grounds.”
It was relatively early in the day, so I figure we could make it down to the Cape’s National Seashore and into the water by 4pm, and hang out in the water for a while. But I had forgotten how time flows differently around Juice, and how stuff always seems to take forever. When I got to his place he was still working on packing & he was very meticulous about it. (Somewhat randomly, I was also thrown off my game by the huge fricking beard that he had grown since we last saw each other, but that’s neither here nor there.) I just wanted him to throw his gear in my car so we could get moving, but it didn’t quite work out like that…. Although looking back at it, that’s probably for the best, since we ended up camping under the stars, so all that random shit like blankets and bio-degradable hand soap totally came in handy. My board was very excited, because it was the first time that it got to spoon with another surfboard on top of my car….
Anyways, so we finally get to the beach around 6.30pm, but then drive to 3 different beaches to find the best conditions. Finally, it’s about 7.20 and its starting to get dark, so we settle on the last beach, Nauset Light Beach in North Eastham. We throw on our wetsuits and carry our boards down the stairs to the beach, passing about 5 other surfers who are done for the day. There are only 2 other surfers in the water & then they too call it a day a couple waves after we get in the water.
It’s solidly dusk, and Juice and I are alone with our boards out in the water. (Well, alone if you don’t count the Gray Seals that were hanging out with us, swimming around us and popping up every now and then to see who we were and what we were doing in their ocean.) You can actually see the waves on the horizon way better when it starts to get dark, which is pretty cool. Looking towards the shore, the sun was setting over the sand dunes. It was a bit cloudy, and all of the fluffy white clouds had become neon shades of pinks, purples, oranges and reds. It was really magnificent. And then the lighthouse on the beach came on and added a whole different level of beauty to the setting. In fact, the sunset was so beautiful, that I had to keep forcing myself to turn around & keep an eye out for good waves to surf. It definitely wasn’t my best surf session because I was pretty distracted & in sensory overload. But, it was definitely the most beautiful view I’ve ever had while surfing. We ended up surfing till it was so dark that we could barely see the beach anymore & then we decided to call it a night & figure out the eating/drinking/camping situation. It was really a remarkable sunset. The view, the location, the vibe. I couldn’t have imagined a cooler situation to just sit & watch a sunset.
Thanks to Juice for taking so long to get ready that our surfing at sunset was a necessity, his senior surfing expertise & advice and also for the awesome company.