Easter delivered for a change. Good surf pulled through west of PE - with plenty of frothing PE transplants and even more blow-in's vying for the waves. Seals was pretty chaotic at times. Even St Francis suffered from the mayhem, with crowds of up to 35 ou's at Huletts, including 7 Spawns of Satan (otherwise known as SUP's!)
Saw 3 of them ride into each other and get properly tangled, and take out a coupla ou's around them at the same time. These things are flipping dangerous and really shouldn't be ridden in amongst other surfers. Thankfully most of em were out of towners so will thankfully strap there over-sized floating supertankers back on their roof-racks and bugger off back to wherever they came from.
Still plenty ou's on holiday/leave this week - and they've been rewarded with some craaaaaanking waves at JBay. Tuesday and Wednesday were the berries. Big Dave paddled out with his even bigger board (all 10ft 3 inches) and managed to make the backline. Bloody good achievement considering there's no ways to duckdive that thing and you're facing 8ft lines of whitewater before you make it out. He got dragged proper a few times, washed back onto the rocks, but through sheer persistence made it out. Respect to the baalie.
The wind made performance surfing a bit challenging, more like hang on, ride the chops, and just scream down the line. Still, makes for a good adrenalin rush. One of the lesser ridden beachies in St Francis delivered the good as well, huge one and half overhead A frames pulling through before the wind axed it. The Pipe locals were all over it.
The corner at Seals through up some heaving barrels yesterday, the ou's getting shacked off their pips. And whilst everywhere else cooked, PE got soundly skunked! It got some swell on Tuesday, but the wind totally creamed it. By Wednesday the swell had dropped off to 2-3ft, and still the wind continued it's cross-shore crusade. Wind chops almost as big as the waves themselves creased the faces into an unridable mess.
Frustrating how the bay always seems to draw the short straw when the winter swells come past. We get all the kak weather that accompanies the cold fronts, but don't get rewarded with the waves! Mind you, the charts showed we were gonna miss out on this on. Big swell, but with only a 12 sec period, and a funky swell direction, always knew PE was going to be lucky to get anything from it.
Still, at least a good sign that the swell machine is kicking into life. Who knows, maybe we get a solid winter for a change. The last few have been pretty average.
Travelling's a bitter-sweet dichotomy. Lekker to be away, sad to leave, but then actually nice to be back home. Provided you don't mind the coolish water, average waves...and having to share the surf with more than 2 people.
Online check-in rules - you get to ensure you score decent seats, and don't get squashed in between the sweating 150kg ou with bad BO and the twitchy, nervous looking dude with dandruff and toejam. Luck ran out on the last flight home, Dubai Joeys. Til then we'd each scored our own row of 4 seats to doss - the only 2 peeps with 4 seats each in the whole plane. First class style at economy cost. Lovely.
But as it always happens, luck doesn't last forever - so we ended up suffering like normal mortals on the last flight - being forced to sit upright in our single mangy seats. Factor in plane delays, which didn't help cos our connecting flight to PE was going to be bloody tight to start with. Landed with exactly 1 hour before plane home left! Challenging, specially since immigration can only muster 1 ou at the checkpoint, dealing with 2 plane-loads of peeps.
Welcome back to SA, land of inefficiency and abject laziness. Baggage handlers decided it was teatime, so took em a good 30 minutes to start getting the luggage out. 10 minutes before check-in closes, still no surfboard. Mad dash to get tickets, and wait at bag drop counter. Husband makes it at full sprint with errant surfboard bag a whole 60 seconds before check-in closes. Sprint to xrays - nother long line cos, you guessed it, only 1 counter open. On a Friday, at lunchtime. Made it onto the plane with 2 minutes to spare. Stuck next to chick with screaming baby. Storms batter the airfield. Delayed by 30 minutes. Hurry up and wait.
We made it, turns out the surfboards didn't. They caught the next flight in instead.Turns out they got the royal treatment too. Nice rail ding on the epoxy fish - achieved through a heavy duty coffin bag, high density foam and a rail guard tubing. Only way they coulda got that right was to throw it out the back of the plane. Probably did.
Nice to be home. Missed wearing a wetsuit, surfing weak east swells, light onshores and crowds! Um, not.....
Pretty true, that old adage...."travel broadens the mind." Never fail to learn something interesting on a trip. Got taught a pretty useful Maldivian remedy yesterday.
Garth caught 2 good size wahoo of about 15kg's trawling off the back of the boat. A wahoo's like a barracuda on steroids with the meanest, nastiest, sharpest set of teeth you can imagine. They often bite right through steel traces. Anyhow, got the things on board and the obligatory photo session followed - a double hook up warrants a few shots.
However, things went from hero to zero in the blink of an eye. Holding 2 big-ass fish up for a pic is kinda tricky cos (a) they're bloody heavy, and (b) they're pretty slippery, and (c) you're squished in to the narrow passageway on the side of the boat. So when your arms give out cos your wife is spending too much time stuffing about with camera settings, and you let em go - and as (bad) luck would have it the one ends up sliding mouth first straight back onto your foot - then things get messy!
Two nice puncture holes straight through the toe and bleeding like a pig! Hmm, off to the medical kit to see what we had. In the meantime the chef disappeared back to the kitchen and came back with some coffee granules. Packed em all around the toe - and guess what, stopped the bleeding quick as! Can't say it'd be the first thing I would have thought of, but worked a treat! You leave it on for about an hour, then gently wash it off. A nice coffee flavoured cut. Luckily didn't need stitches, as was none to keen to practice my sewing skills.
Packed it full of bactroban - good stuff that, kills pretty much anything - and fish teeth are right up there with dog bites for being full of bugaloo's. So there we have it kids - stuff some coffee granules into a bleeding wound and you're all sorted! Who needs first world medicine!
Nother good thing to know is that toothpaste works a treat for getting rid of an itch - like when you get attacked by squadrons of mosquito's - as often happens in the tropics. Just dab a blob of toothpaste on, and there goes the itch. If you even land up in Indo, you'll be glad you know this trick - cos darn, the mossies there are like flipping budgies...
Til laterz...off to some meetings with government officials now. Have to work sometimes, not all fun in the sun n surf.
Travelling light does not enter Millerlocal vocabulary. All the toys must come with. Clothes and other kak are incidental, but got to have plenty boards and fishing stuff on holiday. Specially when you’re headed to the middle of the Indian Ocean. Epicentre of the wave and fishing universe.
First up, you gotto make sure your toys arrive in one piece. No Andrew Lenton or Dennis Ellis just a phone call away when you’re out here. And there’re limits as to what your 50ml tube of Ding-all is going to fix.
So pack those babies proper. Rule no. 1: Never can trust those airline staff. Nothing like taking your frustrations out on one of those nicely stickered up Fragile items to break the monotony of an otherwise boring day. General rule of thumb is the more Fragile stickers you have, the more your board gets drop-kicked from A-B. Seri-aaaas. I’ve seen ou’s dropping boardbags out the cargo hold onto the tarmac below. Thwack. “Take your Fragile sticker and stick it up your...”
Me, I take no chances. Foam nose and tail guards. Check. Aircon insulation tubing secured around the rails. Check. High density rubber foam taped onto the top and bottom decks. Check. Into heavy duty coffin boardbags, with towels packed either end. Check. Try stick a hole in that now, you bastards! I dare you!
Sure, it takes a flipping age to pack it up like that, but worth the effort.
K, so far so good. Packed and ready to go. Step 2. Trying to make weight allowance. Yir, here’s a challenge. I travel with the equivalent of a mobile surf shop. Monster coffin bag stuffed with 3 boards, propvol with leashes, booties, fins, wax, gath helmet, flippers, mask, snorkel, rashies, hats, ding repair kit, fishing boxes stuffed with rapala’s and jig’s, and whatever else can be squeezed in.
Oh yah, and my pillow. End up with a kak pillow and your neck gets stuffed ‘n screws up your surfing. Luckily it acts as an extra nose guard. Boardbag ends up at 20kg if you lucky, probably closer to 24.
Now times that by two when you travel with your significant other. Suddenly your domestic weight allowance is stukkend and all you have is 2 boardbags. Add the fishing rod holder, a big PVC pipe, at a further 8kg’s, and a bag for clothes n books (way more books than clothes!) at another 20 odd kg’s, and you best be taking your best smile and charm with you to the check-in counter! Cos at this stage you’re a good 30kg’s over-weight for the domestic flight between the two of you!!!
Plus you hope no-one tries to weigh your carry-on luggage, cos your camera kits and books come in at about 11kg’s, and hub’s one with 2 huge Shimano reels in ain’t much better at 12kg’s! Try look nonchalant with 12kg’s on your bag!
By the way - try flying Emirates if you can – best international luggage allowance at 30kg’s each. Schweet. Plus if you can scam well, you can often end up with a row of 4 seats each to doss on. Straight to the very back to rows 47 and 48. Just claim those seats and glare the shit out of anyone that even thinks of trying to sit in one! Pack all your stuff out over them, put the arm rests up, stretch your legs across. Own them. They will be yours!
Word to the wise. Always a good idea not to book your boards straight through to your final destination from PE. Rather just book em to Joeys, go pick em up and schlep them across to International Departures. Mission I know, but better than your boards taking a detour. The international check-in peeps just seem to make a better job of getting your board to where it’s meant to be.
Speaking from experience. Happened to us when we went to the Caribbean a coupla years back. Jeesh, now there’s a mission of a place to get to. Joburg to Paris, then across the Atlantic to St Martin. Always a kak feeling when you’ve travelled for 24 hours straight and finally make it for your 7 day sailing/surfing trip....and your boards are nowhere to be seen. “Oh sorry sir, I think they were left behind in Paris. Someone forgot to put them on. Don’t worry, we can have them here in 5 days.” At which stage husband threatened to jump over the counter and moer the ou. Seemed to work. The boards got to us 2 days later.
Yah, travelling ain’t for sissies! Least the fun starts when you eventually get to where you’re going....