Peering through the dense veg on top of the cliff that overlooks this bay, I often expect to see the Black Pearl anchored in the channel. Out the back, only Captain Jack Sparrow sits on the peak, taking his pick of the better lefts. I imagine paddling out and saying g’day, only to get sent in by an in-character, mascara-smeared, Johnny Depp. Why? This joint just absolutely drips Caribbean style. Jungle spills down jagged limestone cliffs straight into offensively turquoise waters and two Spanish shipwrecks surge with the passing sets. You’d almost be tempted into sifting through the many caves in search of treasures long forgotten by the pirates whom did the pillaging many moons ago . . . almost. Understandably however, you seem to find yourself too busy plundering the all too precious treasures of a crowdless peak.
Surf spots worldwide tend to have pretty average if not outright daggy names (see Lances Left, North Beach et al). Not this place. La Preciosa (feminine, of course) means ‘beautiful’ and it is beautiful. Although, according to the two local Dominican rippers, cousins Tripa y Junior, its more like ‘the beautiful place’ in a sense that implies its beauty is precious. So given the thick Euro crowds of close by Cabarete, it’s quite surprising that only a handful of the real Pirates of the Caribbean frequent the bay—Los Rusos, The Russians! In fact, most days Maddy and I are the only non-Russian speaking people surfing. So instead of Capt Jack Sparrow ruling the waves, it feels to me more plausible that Vladimir Putin would be dominating the main peak, insisting that he sits deeper than anyone, back-dooring only the bombs and crushing any resistance from the foam ball with the iron will of a dictator. This is all whilst some his higher profile political prisoners take photos—Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda TolokÓnnikova is on the GoPro.
Perhaps part of La Preciosa’s camouflage is that she needs as straight a north swell as the North Atlantic can deliver, to really lift the lid on her treasure trove and allow the turquoise gems to flow freely. And as with all properly stocked treasure troves, one sweet peak isn’t all La Preciosa conceals within her jungle cloaked walls. Bigger and differently angled swells see a series of rights and lefts appear deeper in the bay. Even one of the ship wrecks plays its part to break up the swell lines, just in time for them to reform and spill onto a shallow limestone reef, another precious addition to La Preciosa’s loot.