Six waves that will keep you enamored until the end of your days

Photo: Glaser

In the age when the oceans belonged to explorers and conquistadors, a pirate named Andrés Drake made his way down the Mexican coastline attacking ships, hunting for riches, and generally acting like a real asshole. In very characteristic fashion, the band of scallywags kidnapped a beautiful young woman from the village of Santa María Huatulco and held her captive as they continued on their dubious voyage. As the creaking hull sliced through tropical waters, the girl’s fate looked dire.

But then Drake pulled into an uninhabited bay to lay in wait, hoping that a Spanish galleon might cross the horizon so they may give chase. It was in this pristine bay that the crew got sloppy—or sloppier than usual, that is. Ale was swilled and eyelids grew heavy, and suddenly the young beauty was gone. She had snuck out on the deck while her captors were stilled in their stupor, and she dove over the railing into the warm swells without making so much as a splash.

The arrival of sobriety coincided with a wave of panic through ranks of the crew. Drake ordered his men to take the skiffs ashore and scour the beach for the most beautiful hostage he had ever taken—and he had taken many. They searched tirelessly across the beach and into the jungle, and all for nothing. The woman was nowhere to be found, and for the rest of their days, the crew would call her La Escondida—the hidden one.

To Andrés and his gang, the Mexican coastline was a fine place to plunder, and plunder they did. But every time their travels brought them near Bahia de la Escondida, the obsessive captain ordered his men to search the beach and the jungle just beyond it for the lost beauty. She stayed hidden.

About 400 years later, people are still drawn to the same stretch of beach, now called Puerto Escondido. Although heavy tubes drill surfers into the sand time and time again, something continues to call us back into the maelstrom. —Todd Prodanovich