Archive for October, 2013

Have been surfing my socks off, enjoying fantastic food at the resort and a Bintang or six.

We keep going back to telescopes because the wave is so good. I caught two absolute screamers this morning with the crew from Aloita whooping and hollering as I charged the liquid monsters for Halloween. I have been flying across the top of the reef along well overhead walls all morning.

The motto of the day is fall shallow!

You should be advised reports are likely to be similar to this for another ten days. I’m loving it here and reminding myself that this was always a surf trip.

Hope all is good in your worlds.

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It is a great part of the world to be hanging out and I am being so well looked after.

The only drawback is the mosquitoes. I am slaying many with my electric tennis racquet but have to say that the honours are even thus far!

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The swell has picked up and we made an early start in the boat over to this break.

Diving over the side I was expecting amazing things from this perfect left breaking wave.

My enthusiasm was somewhat dampened at first however when my surfboard’s leash got ripped off my leg and I had to swim over the reef and nearly to the shore before I caught up with it. One marathon paddle back out to the line up later the same thing happened on my next wave. Not happy!

However after another flogging on the inside and long paddle back I decided to charge the break and at least go down swinging. It seemed to do the trick and I caught a hat full of perfect lefts.

The long paddles had somewhat worn me out so after two and a half hours in the water I decided to catch one more before getting out. It was another great ride but when wiping out I got slammed on the reef leaving a considerable chunk of my shin attached to it. It will be my first Mentawai tattoo! There was quite a bit of claret but I cleaned it up with a chunk of fresh lime so I am good to go back for more of the same thing this afternoon.

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There is an enormous swell on the way but we thought we would sneak a mellow session in before it arrived. The wind was on the waves but as the sets rolled through it cleaned up.

The whole posse in the water got taken out by one set which suggested the swell has arrived.

The wave is a right and I finally bagged a few on my forehand including one delightful ride which went on so long everybody thought I was surfing back to our island. Loads of fun before getting out under a gorgeous sunset. Great end to a great day.

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We surf here on successive days. The first session was mostly ruined by the wind cutting up the swell, but the second was four five feet of beautifully peeling lefts over the reef.

At times it is very shallow and because the water is so clear you can see the rocks sand and fish you are surfing over.

Lots of fun in the baking sun. My tan wont need much topping up after my stay here, that is if I haven’t turned into a strip of crispy bacon by the time I leave!

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The surfers on the island have been split into two groups and mine consists of a Chilean guy called Jo, an Australian girl called Andrea, three Germans called Carla, Nico and Lucas as well as my good self.

After breakfast we have so much fun at this break. Despite my painful derriere I am on fire and tear down the line all morning.

I had forgotten how close to the equator we are and got a tad scorched in the morning sun. The left side of my face is a tad raw and I will look more like Casper the friendly ghost for the next couple of days as a consequence due to all the zinc I will now have to wear!

I don’t mind though because I caught so many great waves.

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As soon as the fast boat had made the journey from Sumatra to our island we had breakfast and were then taken straight out to this break whose name translates to the sleeping wave.

Things were a bit manic as everybody piled over the side and was desperate to bag their first wave here.

I did bag one that somebody blatantly dropped in on me and then spent most of the rest of the session going over the falls. Twice landing butt first on my fins nearly creating a new crack in my backside! That I didn’t damage the fins was a miracle.

I got out tired and more than a tad tender, and then spent most of the rest of the day kipping in my little bungalow.

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This is the name of the place that I am staying in on the island of Simakakang. You can walk all the way around it in a tad more than an hour. Www.aloitaresort.com

Sadly the internet connection here is awful and I am even having issues accessing my own web page. (I am in the middle of the Indian Ocean after all!)

So for the duration of my stay here it looks like posts such as this without pictures will be the best I can do. I will post the pictures to add colour to my narrative later.

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Mentawai-islandsThe Mentawai Islands are a chain of approximately seventy islands and islets off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia.

I am going to be staying on one of those islands, which is actually too small to fit on this map, but is actually located between Sipura and Pagai North.

I have given myself more than a week here and may well stay longer than that if I like it.

Mikumba-MentawaiThe reason for that is of course the waves that are available here. Warm water, clean perfectly peeling waves and blue skies near the equator. What more could a surfer ask for?

It has been weeks since I last surfed in Japan so I am chomping at the bit at the moment just to get my board in the water again. I am now just hoping that the airlines have not put too many holes in my stick during all the flights since then!

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map_of_sumatra After an early start in Singapore I have an eighty minute flight to Jakarta which finds me back on Javanese soil for the first time since G-Land. Largely down to the unbelievably efficient Changi airport it was a painless trip. It also meant I crossed the equator again. 

However I don’t stop for much longer than the time it takes me to get another Indonesian visa, because my next flight takes me on to Padang in Sumatra. I have ended up flying about a thousand miles on two flights just to get a hundred miles across to the west side of Sumatra which is a bit wasteful, but it was out of my hands. It is the second overnight stop before catching a boat to the Mentawai Islands tomorrow.

Padang BuildingThe first thing I noticed upon arriving in Padang are all the wonderful buildings.

There are so many style like the one you see here, with the roof eaves arcing exponentially upwards.

The whole of this area got absolutely hammered by the Boxing Day earthquake and Tsunami of 2004 so it is good to see so many magnificent structures still standing.

WP_20131026_032However that doesn’t stop the Axana hotel in Padang, where I am staying for the night, providing me with earthquake survival tips when checking in.

Definitely a first and given how many hotels I have stayed in around the Pacific Rim of Fire without getting anything, I can admit that it is a tad alarming that this one thinks it necessary.

sumatran_tigerThere are other natural threats around here for me to consider though, albeit in dwindling numbers. The Sumatran Tiger is listed as critically endangered because there are only 400 left in the wild. It looks like it may go the way of both the Balinese and Javan Tigers that are now extinct, which would be a massive shame.

One of the sad facts of the world is that there are already more tigers in captivity than there are in the wild.

Saying that though I didn’t fancy my chances much if I bumped into one on the way back from my beer run to the shops! 200kg of danger that I wouldn’t want to mess with.

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