All good things come to an end - or so goes the saying. Stupid saying really - why should they end!? Week 5 is our last week in Indo. I don't like uneven numbers, and tried an arm twist to stay another week to make it 6 instead. Unfortunately wasn't successful, in part due to our kakker-than-ever exchange rate, and also due to pretty mediocre looking swell forecasts. Although mediocre in Indo means at least you still get head-high surf at least!
A week of mainly lefts. Which wasn't so bad actually. Getting to the point where we rather enjoying going backside now. Still bloody useless at it, but not feeling quite so weird facing the wrong way now. Guess it also helps that the waves are stupidly mechanical, so it's kinda like having your own wave pool. Another big plus factor is that there's only 3 other peeps in the water with you. Small crew this week.
As it was our last week we got stuck into a bit of curios buying from the locals. The left is the only spot that has ou's paddling out to sell you stuff from their canoes. My Indonesian, although improving, still isn't at the point where I can do much negotiating. Probably overpaid as usual, but stoked with my wooden surfboard memento nonetheless.
The average day at the resort see's you get up at the crack of dawn, with the boats leaving between 6h30 and 7h00. Then head off north or south to hunt down waves. Most days it means having lunch on the boat, which are rather tasty affairs. Everything from nasi goreng, mie goreng, chicken curry, wraps, lasagne and more.
Plenty of snacks on board as well to ward off the mid morning/mid-arvo munchies. And Oreo's. Lots and lots of packets of oreo's! They're evil lil bicci's. Once someone opens a packet, boom, they vanish into tummies immediately. The Aussies have even got a whole bunch of ways to eat 'em, that includes opening 'em up and peeling out the filling and sandwiching a whole bunch of fillings on top of each other between 2 biscuits.
A number of Oreo-eating competitions evolved. Like how many oreo's in a stack can you fit in your mouth, or just how many in total you can shove in. Managed a stack of 4. Went off Oreo's completely after that!
Ask anyone who's been to Indo about Chitato's. You'll see a longing smile spread across their face for sure. The world's most addictive chips. They proudly claim a 65% potato content. Which leaves you wondering about the other 35%! Guessing it's all MSG. Cos they are the best tasting chips ever. Gotto be the beef BBQ flavour though. Open a packet of these onboard and it's chowed flat in about 10 seconds!
Can get away with eating crap cos you surfing all day, every day. Do mix up the bad stuff with the good. Coconuts are the best way ever to refuel after a long sesh. Best R10 you can ever spend on an energy drink.
Hubby got nick-named Osama-Bob. A combo of Spongebob Squarepants (his nickname) and Osama Bin Laden. Had just had a bit of skin cancer taken outta his temple before we left, so had been told to keep the sun off it. Margot made him some lil lycra neck scarf type thingy's (like the anglers use to protect their necks & faces).
He decided his cap didn't cover the problem area sufficiently, so ended up pulling the neck protector up and over his head - looked a bit like a condom on his head! Took plenty of abuse for looking like a surfing Taliban, but did succeed in keeping the sun off! Will remember to pack the rashie with the built-in hood next time.
Coupla days down at my favourite right point again. Not a helluva lot of swell, but still some head high peelers to get wet on. Nothing wrong with that if there's less than a handful of peeps in the water with you.
Spongebob had waiting patiently for 5 weeks to get his first wave, so finally decided to take him out for a surf. He's a fussy lil critter, cos it has to be small and clean. Cos he can't duckdive! Last time we tried that he popped, and had to be repaired with a but of lilo superglued to his butt.
Hopped on my shoulders for the paddle in, and was then stoked to hook a quadruple-overhead wave. Couldn't wipe the smile off his lil yellow dial!
One of the guys just here for the week was a German chap who was still learning. Lekker guy, who wasn't scared to launch himself over the edge and have a go. Was just the two of us in the water one arvo, when I sent him on a decent size lil set. Got the wave after him, and paddling back out saw him stuck in the shallows with his hand on his head. Oh-oh.
Closer inspection revealed a nice head-butt to the reef and 3 lil tiger claws across his forehead. Head wounds have the propensity to bleed and look worse than they are, and after deciding I couldn't see any bone he should be just fine to paddle out and grab another wave. Bit 'o blood never hurt anyone! Worked out well cos he scored one of his best waves after that.
I'd been feeling a bit guilty about sending him on a wave that ended up hurting him, but turned out he'd made the wave OK, but had straightened out and ridden it too far up the reef. He was drydocked and saw the next wave coming at him and had decided to dive under it! Never a good idea in ankle deep water! Ended up diving straight into the coral! Did learn an important lesson though, and doubt he'll make the same mistake again!
Had our first arvo off in 5 weeks, cos the wind and waves weren't cooperating. Had grabbed a surf in the morning, but didn't look worth sticking about for the day so we headed back to the resort. Took the opportunity to grab the kayak and the SUP for a quick paddle about the island.
However, neither can be achieved without Larry the Labrador joining you for company. The ultimate water dog. He loves the elevated position that being on the kayak & SUP provides, so he can scope out for fish. Once he spots one he dives off and tries to chase it. Crazy dog!
You physically have to pick him up and drag him off, or try tip him off, the board - as once it's on the sand at the waters edge and ready to go he's on it, and no amount of cajoling will get him to move an inch. he's going with whether you like it or not!
Always so hard to leave when the holiday finally comes to an end. What did help a little bit was that the last few days were pretty scratchy for surf and didn't look like a helluva lot coming. Nothing worse than when you have to leave and you know it's gonna cook in a few days.
Still went out and got a wave the last 2 days, even though it was by far the worst conditions we'd had over the whole 5 weeks. Bit onshore and only chest high. Had to catch a few waves so it could count as a "surf", cos wanted to have surfed every single day of our trip - that made it 5 weeks (35 days) of non-stop surfing. Stoked! But buggered! Shoulders certainly gave in a bit towards the end of the trip, with an achy rotator cuff to contend with.
En route back to the resort after our last surf, decided to scrape the wax off my board and get it ready to pack. Ended up with a good sized glob, so decided to try make it back into a mini block of wax. Plenty of kneading required to get all the scraped buts to merge back together, but reckon it turned out OK. Pretty sure some ou will be only too happy to find it onboard when he's about to dive off for a surf in cranking waves and it's a choice of that or nothing!
Boards packed. Bags packed. Time to say goodbye to our home of the last 5 weeks. So sad to go. Know it's back to PE,and bogger all surf. Eish.
Love outer island travel. Get to try all sorts of odd forms of transport. Like the weird bike contraption that drove us from the jetty to the airport. Boards get there on a trailer towed by a dude on a bicycle. Check-in entails filling in your details on a blank piece of A4 paper at the "check-in counter"
Then it's onto the trusty Cessna for the hour's flight back over to Padang. Flown by a dude from Slummies. Saffa's everywhere these days! He reckons it's not a bad job - get to fly over the Ments all week scoping out potential surf spots, and then zip off to surf them on your days off.
Til next year Telo's.
A whole month in Indo draws to a close. Surfed every single day. For a month. Do I want to come home? Hell no! Swell was a bit quieter this week, but a small day in Indo still beats a small day in the bay. No problem dealing with long lulls when you bobbing about in warm water checking out the palm tree's and talking kak with the other 6 peeps in the water with you.
Crystal clear water gives you time to hang off your board and check out what all cruising by underneath you. Bit like surfing in an aquarium. Some of Nemo's buddies, lots of angel fish and parrot fish, and all sorts of other colourful dudes I couldn't identify. Also get to suss out the gnarly bits of coral you could soon be landing on.
Worked out a neat trick, that if you just touch your nose to the water it means you close enough to take away all the surface glare and it's almost as clear as wearing goggles.
Cloudless skies meant some hectic glare at times, so glad we worked out our "saffa string" concept a few years ago - which means we can surf with our peaks on and not have to worry about them washing off and having to swim over the reef to fetch em. Simple - just 2 fishing clip swivels joined together by a short length of string. Clip one to the hat, the other to either the label in your rashie/Tshirt if it has one, or just a tag you've sewed on to it.
Just make sure you get decent clip-swivels, cos the cheapie one's break after a while, which means a swim-in to fetch ya hat. If they game-fish grade they're good enough to hold ya hat on even in a solid whipping.
Smaller swell and a change in direction meant we could surf one of the most scenic spots in the chain. Looks like BurgerWorld in the Ments, but it ain't. Breaks in front of a jungle covered headland, with a big pinnacle off to the side. Pretty as.
Fun wave too, nice peaky takeoff that then races along close to the rocky shelf. Needs a combo of wind/swell and tide to work well, but when it does it's a jol. First time in 3 years we've had it breaking this good.
Bumped into our mates on the Ratu Motu (ex-Indies trader 4). They had the bosses daughter and her mates on board for a Friends and Family trip. Lekker if your dad owns one of the best surf charter boats in the world! Captain John popped over to where we'd anchored to say Howzit, and next thing was hightailing off the dingy onto our boat. Turns out as he was heading over he'd glanced back at his motor - and saw a seasnake sticking it's head out at him!
Tied up to us and grabbed a gaff in the hope of being able to lure it outta the outboard, but the slippery visitor was nowhere to be seen. He told us later that it had just shot out the impeller pipe later that day!
It was a snakey day, cos later on we spotted a big 'un a few metres away from the boat. Swam around us a coupla times eyeing us out, whilst we eyed it out just as much. Discussion was had about what to do if it decided to slink up the anchor rope....
Everyone regaled each other with stories about how they were the most venomous snakes in the world....but couldn't bite you cos had such small mouths. Supposedly can only nip you between your toes and fingers. No-one wanted to test the theory!
Suddenly the paddle from the boat to the line-up wasn't a relaxed affair. Now you looked for a buddy to paddle with and kept swiveling your head around 360 degrees to see if it was following you. Every time you came back to the boat for a break or drink invariably someone onboard would tease you about just having seen the snake.
Turns out the old adage of "Don't cry wolf" proved true - the girls who'd been teasing everyone about the snake were paddling back to the boat - and next thing one of them spotted it a few metres away from them - never seen anyone paddle so fast and climb up on a boat in record speed!
Had surfed the right point one morning, and despite being super clean it was small and lully, so the surf guide decided we should mission up round the headland to the beachies, which are serious swell magnets.
The hiccup with these beachies is that they're unlike any beachie you've ever encountered. Mutant would be an apt description. Coming out of deep deep water and then unloading onto the shorey. The outer reefs chop the swell up into lil A-frames, so these peaks come through all over the place. You sitting looking out to sea and see a lekker wedge coming at you, no problem, paddle for it - then look down and see that there's about 6 inches of water in front of you! Board and back-breaking stuff when it gets a bit bigger.
So we pull up behind the break and cruise the backline, and for all intents and purposes it looks about 1ft. Rule #1, never judge a wave from the back! Then we see a set unload and the whitewash just explode sky-high...hmm, OK, maybe bigger than 1 ft...
The surf guide and the lone booger on board paddle over to have a squizz. Some of the others reckon they'll take a swim in to the beach to check it out from shore. Having a healthy respect for the beachie through past experience I decided to skip the swim-in. Turned out to be a good call.
Only 2 of the 3 made it in to the beach, with one hapless peep getting annihilated in the shorepound and just stuck in the impact zone cos of the gnarly currents.
Transpires that the peaks were about 8 - 10ft and just detonating in about a metre of water. Huge barrels, but not many makeable. The surf guide reckons it was the heaviest beachie he'd ever surfed, and he's the sorta guy who's super comfy in big, heavy surf - he counts big Greenbush as one of his favourite waves!
One absolutely massive set came through and those of us on the boat thought we were about to catch a ride over the falls, so quick up anchor and moved further out. Huge whirlpool formed by the current that pulled back from the beach after the set, pretty freaky to see. The guys got back beaming but buggered. Sand in every orifice they had. So bummed we didn't get any shots front on, but getting in to the beach with a camera was impossible. Pity.
Had a few fun days at the most consistent left in the region, so slowly overcoming my complete uselessness at backhand, and have progressed from complete kook to semi-kook going backside. Going straight down the line has been replaced by a few mid-face wiggles. Long way to go still...
A few early arvo's back from the surf saw the "golf course" getting some action. Hubby had made a small 6 hole "course" for fun. Quite official-like with pars for each hole, flags in each hole (pole with a triangular bit of paper sticky-taped to it!) and a photocopied scorecard we made up.
Clubs were limited to a 9 iron and a chipping wedge per group, so "putting" was a bit of a challenge. More so considering the absence of greens, instead just random fluffy, bumpy grass. Further challenge was provided by Latitude Larry, the resident Labrador. Who took great delight in running off with the balls at every opportunity. Gave him his own one to chew, but he still preferred to steal everyone else's.
Another week behind us and only one more to go before having to head back home. Eish, could quite happily just stay here indefinitely!
The Indian Ocean isn’t known as the Swell Factory for nothing. Another week of really fun waves, ranging from head high through to well overhead. Winds were mildly onshore for a day or so, but just enough to ruffle it up slightly. The reefs handle the onshores pretty well anyhow.
Not a fan of the onshore at home, but if the water's a balmy 25C or so, no worries. Or should I say “Tidak Masala”
Been trying to learn a bit of Indonesian whilst we here. Every day the surf guide gives me 2 new words to learn, so have a bit of vocab going now. Actually an easy language as languages go. Interestingly there are a fair number of words that are Afrikaans, well Dutch I guess.
The Dutch had a big presence here back in the day, so some of their words have been adopted. Banana in Indo is a “piesang”.
One of the waves down the east coast is a super fun left and right peak which the ou’s reckon is similar to Trestles – just with no-one out. Has quite a sandy reef as well, which means you can go for close-out manoeuvers without having to be too worried about getting cheese-grated.
Waters always slightly murky there as there’s a small creek which runs out next to the break. The surf guide swam to shore to get some shots from the front, and on the way back out had a small reef shark swim about him for a closer look. Just a small dude, but enough to remind you they’re out there nonetheless.
Loving surfing in my “jeans” – keeps the sun off ya legs and stops the reef from chowing your legs too. Lost count of the number of times new guests have looked at me strangely, and then politely asked why I’m surfing in jeans!
Actually wettie leggings made by Billabong. Just 1mm, so don’t make you hot at all, and are super comfy to surf in. No more boardie rash, wonky boardie tans and no cuts on ya legs. Triple whammy bonus. Def gonna be buying more when I get home.
Bit paranoid about the sun these days after Garth had a bit of skin cancer cut out, so the less sun exposure the better methinks. Plus when you out in the blazing equatorial sun for a month and a half you have to be safe rather than sorry. Must have carried at least 4kg's of sunscreen over, and have used most of it.
Also always surf with our caps, as helps heaps not only to keep the sun off your face, but to help with the glare - which can get pretty full on late arvo at some of the spots. Feels like it's frying your eyeballs. Our "saffa strings" do the job to keep our hats with us - just 2 fishing clip swivels and a small bit of string in between. Clip on onto the tag of your rashie or shirt, the other onto the cap, and off ya go, hat can get washed off but still attached to you. No annoying trips over the reef to fetch it.
Was a good week for the premier left in the region. Coupla cranking days out there. In the process of trying to overcome my aversion to backside. Never ever go left at home, so no idea what to do! Like driving a car but there’s no steering wheel! Serious kook-alert.
Have to say this is the ideal wave to do it on. Really mechanical, and really long. If you’re a goofy or love backside you’d go ape for this spot when it’s on.
Plucked up the courage to take off on a mid-sized set, only to see it start to bowl ahead of me…so chickened out and straightened out like a nerd…..and saw it barrel of down the reef whilst I headed for a flogging. In retrospect should have at least had a go at making it seeing was gonna get tumbled regardless.
Had a day at the sucky right reef close to the resort. Always cool to sit and watch village life go by from the line-up. There’re a bunch of huts right in front of the surf spot, which breaks really close to shore, so in between sets you can sit and suss out everyday life. Like pigs wandering along the beach. And piglets. And chickens. And roosters. And lighties with half-boards. Not sure if you win the coin toss you choose the front or the back half though?
It’s one of only 2 spots in the whole island chain that have a few locals. Must be hectic to have to learn on a wave like this, but guess you don’t know any different so that’s what you do. Turns the kids into insane barrel riders, that’s for sure. They all look so relaxed in the shack, and somehow never seem to hit the reef when they wipeout, just pop up smiling and laughing. Wish I could share the “charge and laugh” attitude, instead of my scared shoulder hop approach at this spot.
One of the island chains famous spots is called DC’s, short for Depth Charges. A crazy shallow super fast barrel. Guaranteed to part your skin from your body if you fall. So don’t fall. Dude got concussed and half scalped out there this season and had to be airlifted back to Singapore. Definitely for chargers only. It needs solid swell to break, and showed its face mid-week. We drove past en route down the coast and stopped and mind-surfed it for a bit. Nice from far, far from nice. High tide only, and even then you only a rail-catch from disaster.
Finally got to surf a spot called Le-Ba. It’s a great lil right tucked away behind an island, so the swell has to refract right round the island, hence needs good sized swell to get in there. Sucks up on a ledge and for all the world looks like it’s just this big closeout ahead of you, but it just holds up right the way through, peeling off at pace along the edge of the island.
Had my Superman rashie on that sesh so the ou’s made the call that every bail out had to be a Super man – so got the “up, up and away” look going. Only "air" I'm every likely to do!
Cos is definitely a bail out at the last minute spot as it suddenly just sucks dry on a rock shelf as it hits the beach. One of our crew got dragged over it and bounced along it, and on paddling back out said it was not something he’d recommend!
Another lekker week in the islands, gonna be hard to leave this place. Could happily just stay forever! Well, at least until the winter swells start showing up and scaring the kak outta us!
Week 2 saw plenty more waves arrive. The solid swells that hit PE and Jbay just before Christmas took just over a week to make their trek across the Indian Ocean and hit Indo. Yebo yes.
Been really lucky with the weather this time of year as it is the monsoon season right now, but it’s been calm and sunny. Bonus.
Got a few lefts in this week, which always find a bit challenging. I don’t think I’ve ridden a left since I used to surf Fence back in the day, when you could still park in the harbour and hop over the breakwall onto the dunes (and then climb back up after a surf with your fingers crossed that the skelms hadn’t smashed your window and diefed your CD’s outta the car).
Have serious kook-status when it comes to lefts, and generally avoid them like the plague. However, there are some super friendly one’s out here so am trying to overcome my aversion to backside.
One of the wave magnets in the area is a reeling left called Misho’s, or Churches. No guessing what the take-off spot is marked by! Just line up the correct palm tree with the church spire and you’re good to go.
There’s a take-off spot on the outside, followed by a 100m high-speed run before it hits the inside bowl and bends round the reef for another 100-200m. Given my complete inability to pump backside I lurk on the inside bowl and go from there. I reckon if you were a goofy footer this would be one of your fave waves for sure.
It’s also home to the persistent curios sellers you’ll ever meet! No sooner have you anchored up than the ou’s on canoes are out there trying to interest you in shells or hats or wooden handicrafts. They don’t hassle at all, just politely ask you every 5 minutes if you’d like to buy something….in the hope that maybe in the 5 minutes that have passed since they last asked you, you may have changed your mind!
We always end up buying a few things from them as a way of saying thanks for letting us surf your front yard. However, we normally hold off until the last week of our trip, cos Indo logic differs from Western logic…..in that, OK, we’ve bought something now, we’re done, is interpreted as: “Great, they’ve bought something, now we can sell them even more stuff!!”
I reckon these ou’s would make the most epic tele-sales dudes ever, they just don’t take no for an answer, just keep smiling and asking you if you’d like something, no matter how many times you politely decline. Tele-marketing companies should come over here and recruit ‘em for sure!
Most islands in the chain have lil villages on, and the only way to get from A to B is by boat, usually canoes or small panga boats. Amazing to be miles out to sea making a crossing between islands and go past a dude on his tiny dug-out canoe with a paddle, just cruising along in the middle of nowhere.
Gunwale clearance doesn’t seem to be a big concern over here, most boats only have what looks like about 10 cm of freeboard above the waterline. There’s an extensive system of waterways between many of the islands which are like huge canals – they don’t get any wave action whatsoever and look more like big rivers.
The calm waters mean they’re popular “highways” for local transport, but given how close above the water the sides of the boats are it means the resort boat has to come to almost a dead stop and putter past them really slowing to avoid swamping them with boat wake.
That lurchy lil right goes by the name of Ranga's. Have got a love/hate relationship with the place. It has the most mechanical barrel, but it scares the crap outta me as is super ledgy, fast and shallow. You have to take off deep, make the drop and pull in straight away, else it's a visit to the rock garden.
Guys get the most amazing waves there - I get to see all of em close up cos I'm always sitting out on the shoulder, too chicken to go deep to the proper take-off possie. Arg, hate being a wussy!
I just scuttle in and try get the teeny one's, which also isn't the safest approach cos have about 30cm of water under me there. Thankful for my Billabong Surf Capsule wettie leggings cos feel a bit safer reef bouncing in those!
They confused the hell outta everyone cos the ou's were trying to work out why I was surfing in my jeans! Took a bit of convincing to explain they were actually 1mm wettie leggings!
Walked out the bungalow late one arvo to see this rather interesting sight….a massive barge carrying logs that didn’t look particularly seaworthy! Back half totally submerged. Overloaded? Nah! Wouldn’t have liked to see what would happen to it in gnarly weather!
Middle of the week and back down to my fave spot for some perfect right peelers. Had a few days of good size, but as luck would have it, the shot of my biggest wave was all blurry. So used to that happening now, just laugh it off. The camera-gods have a good sense of humour!
Just so lucky to have the surf guides taking pics, cos normally I'd have to sit in the boat and shoot if I wanted to get some. Gotto say the guides here are top-notch, get you into good waves and take plenty of pics, and are all-round lekker ou's.
Christmas on the island is always a jol. Did an early morning get-up to go hunt down some waves, and got lucky with a few brekky barrels. Well, not me, cos am allergic to barrels, but everyone else got shacked, even hubby.
Then back by 11am cos he had to play Santa Claus for the mini-groms. The last ou to lay Santa musta been a big-thighed lad cos the inner seams of the Santa suit were split from knee to groin to knee. Which woulda provided a tad un-nerving for lil peeps to have to walk up to Santa to get there pressies and get an eyeful of gonads in the process. Day saved by a pair of red cycle pants which did the job perfectly of preserving Santa’s dignity, and not terrifying the kids!
An arvo of Christmas Olympics – a bit of golf, coconut jukskei, snooker and beerpong, followed by a huge Xmas dinner, fireworks and everyone ending up getting chucked in the pool fully clothed rounded off a good day.
And so ended Week #2. Hopefully Week #3 brings more of the same. Can never get tired of warm water waves!
And yip, this is a week overdue, but been surfing all day every day and getting home knackered so no time for blog posts!