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  • Writer's pictureDawnelle Salant

The One With All The Surfers

For our last day we return to Cacimbo do Padre, but this time I bring my camera and zoom lens. I’ve never fancied myself as a sports photographer, but standing in the water and shooting surfers flying through the waves is as exciting and rewarding and shooting flying birds. I over hear someone in English pointing out the surfers saying third ranked, fourth ranked which makes me think that these are the professional surfers practicing for the competition. There is a huge group of surfers right next to us, and as others surf in they cheer and clap when they catch a really good wave. Before each one goes out, they do a series of stretches on the sand, and wax their boards. I feel like I’m part of some elite behind the scenes surf club. I can’t imagine how they learn to do the things they do. I also can’t imagine how they don’t get hit in the head by their boards every time they go down. Sometimes all we see is a board popping up from the giant waves when the surfer goes down. These are some talented athletes. I wade into the water to say my silent good-bye to Noronha, and I’m in knee high water when a wave crashes into me and knocks me down. I can’t even stand in these waves and those surfers are out there controlling their bodies and their boards against the power of the water. I brush the sand off of me and walk out of the ocean one last time. Fernando de Noronha has revived me, refreshed me and relaxed me. I marvel at how far I have travelled in just over a month. From the southernmost continent to a tropical island in the Atlantic Ocean. My swimsuit has now been in 2 degree water and 29 degree water. I feel very privileged, and somehow accomplished. I am chasing my dreams and for once, my dreams are in reach. 

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