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Today we drove 50 miles down the coast to Mompiche. Mompiche is a place-not a town, not a village, not on the map-Maria and I had visited about 13 years ago. I had learned of it when I lived here before, talking surf spots with a guy at the gym I used to go to.
Back then is was only accessible by boat. We took a boat from Muisne that day, through mangrove swamps then out to open ocean for about a twenty minute ride. Mompiche is a large, sweeping bay with a perfect left point break with a wave that sweeps easily 300 yards on a small day, probably much more on a big day. The boat left us at the shore. The area was pristine, with only a few small beach cabins at one end of the beach, and no sign of anyone there at all. I surfed that day and we snacked on crackers and some mangos the two urchins who accompanied us on the boat picked from the trees nearby.
The road along the coast was completed about six years ago. Another dirt road was built sometime thereafter down to the beach, as the coastal road often goes far inland rather than actually hugging the coast. From the turnoff it was about 3 miles down to the beach. You wouldn’t actually know it was the turn to Mompiche but for the sign advertising lodging.
Now there is a small settlement growing; a few restaurants, mostly catering to the gringo backpacker clientele, a few cheap lodging places, some poor houses here and there. Trash has started to accumulate, and the lack of order is noticeable. Stickers of popular surf brands dot the windows of some of the lodging places. At least a dozen fishing boats were up on the sand, fish heads and fish guts littered the beach. This is the end of the high season for the beach, but at least a dozen cars were also parked on the beach. I can only say I was disappointed to see progress had arrived here.
The surf was flat, so we went for a walk along the beach and collected a few seashells. A man with a beach restaurant offered to take us in his boat out to the point or to the “Isla Bonita”-the pretty island-somewhere nearby. He also advertised for lunch by showing us the prize jumbo langoustines and lobster just caught that morning. But it was no longer the prized, pristine beach of the past, so we soon got in the car and headed back to the beach house, where the novelty of the unexplored has long since worn off.