Archive for the ‘Indonesia’ Category

After breakfast we went to check the surf more in hope than expectation. Cahn, our surf guide and the crew of the little yellow boat took us on a lap of the local island checking all the breaks to see if there was anything worth surfing. There wasn’t so I went back to bed and had a nap. We hoped things would improve in the afternoon as the tide rose and a because a little pulse of swell was also expected. There is a break here called Suicides (due to the extremely shallow water above the coral) that armed with my surf helmet I was aiming for, however the surf just wasn’t showing enough there to warrant getting in so we returned to our favourite wave at Telescopes.

All the other surfers have now left the island so apart from Cahn and I there is just one new guy from San Francisco called David, who joined us in the boat today. The chest high waves on offer were smaller than I have surfed at the break before but as we all piled over the side of the boat it was the most idyllic scene. For a start there was nobody else out which is rare enough at Telescopes, then you factor in the perfect double rainbow that we were surfing under and add a healthy dose of setting sun over the ocean. The waves were so clean it was like surfing on polished air and I caught loads of really smooth rides before getting out to enjoy a beer in the boat as I watched the last of the sun dipping below the horizon. A pod of dolphins arrived right on queue to top off an awesome session.

It was not quite as perfect as the session I had in Mo’orea but came pretty close, even if there wasn’t a boat full of Hawaiian girls surfing in thong bikinis here. As a consequence you can understand that I was basking in the glow of it all upon returning to our island. Obviously it was dark after the sun had set, but the grounds at Aloita are beautifully maintained with the paths being constructed from the local coral sand, set between lines of upturned coconut husks. I have walked, staggered and run down these paths in the dark more time than I can remember without any incident so was just strolling barefoot back to my bungalow as usual.

I had arranged a massage for later in the evening and I was perhaps rushing down the path in order to have a shower beforehand, chatting with David about how perfect the surf had been for his first session. However only having arrived at our island resort set on the edge of a jungle from San Francisco the previous evening, he was clearly more aware of the potential dangers than me, who has become a little too used to them over recent months. “Is that a …” he started.

He didn’t finish the sentence in time because I was already walking through the snake he was trying to warn me about. The whole thing was immediately wrapped around my foot and I inadvertently hoofed it along the path. I completed this a fraction of a second before I did my own version of the Riverdance in an attempt to get the thing off my foot!

As any of you would be if I kicked you down the road, the snake was not best pleased about getting treated this way, and it’s first reaction was to go into a strike pose before deciding which of David and I needed to die first! We were lucky that David was carrying one of his surfboards at this point because he was able to use it to fend off the very angry snake which repeatedly stuck it’s teeth into the board bag. After a tense minute the snake decided to retreat and slithered off into the undergrowth leaving myself in particular in an understandable degree of distress, which David later described as looking like I had seen the Devil himself.

It was so dark that it is very hard to be specific about the details of the snake. We obviously did not want to get too close to it but David believes it was brown and in excess of three feet long. However knowing how many deadly varieties there are in this part of the world I’m not sure I want to know. I later asked the resort if they have any anti-venom on site and they don’t. In fact there is none kept locally at all so I am currently considering myself very, very, very lucky.

I still went for my massage once I had calmed down a bit, but went to the spa room with more than a cautious element to my steps and with more lighting than Blackpool Illuminations so I could see everything coming!

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The swell has completely dropped so we went in search of anything at low tide this morning.

The rest of the guys I have been surfing with have had to head home so it was a skeleton crew in our yellow boat.

The planned trip down to the playground didn’t materialise because the wind had switched around so the best of a bad bunch of the local waves was Scarecrows.

It wasn’t cranking by any means but at least offered glassy waves over the reef. For some reason I couldn’t catch anything for the first hour but eventually bagged a hat trick of fun lefts in the morning sun.

One more for the scrapbook!

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As usual the animals here are not the sort of thing you might see in North Wales.

Our boat was being chased by dolphins the other day and we had to take evasive action to avoid running over a turtle the same day.

At Telescopes there is a shoal of black and yellow fish which hang around your board in between sets. We also see flying fish almost every day.

Massive groupers and gorgeous blue fish jump out of the water all around you in every surf session. It is not surprising then that seafood is on the menu at Aloita almost every day. Marlin, tuna, mahi, etc. It is gorgeous.

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Thanks for all the kind messages from everyone. Think it is probably the first time people have been feeling sorry for me all year!

Antibiotics have worked their magic. Well it is either that or the witch doctor I visited in my dreams last night. He was a voodoo surf practitioner who told me to take two waves and call him if there was no improvement!

Following his advice I caked my leg wounds in Sudocreme and got back in the water this morning as a result. The swell has dropped so after a boat safari we decided to get back in at Icelands again.

Mellow take offs and cruisey lefts were on offer, although I hadn’t realised how shallow it was until I bailed out at the end of one wave. I soon discovered I was tickling the reef every time I stuck my arms in the water to paddle.

I caught four or five lovely rides though and was stoked to be back in the water, especially because there were no fresh dings for me or my board which like its owner is sporting a few new scars as souvenirs of its time at telescopes.

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Have not done much for a couple of days. The scrapes I got from the reef a few days back have gotten infected and became a bit gammy.

As a consequence have been laid up with a fever, necking some of the penicillin I brought on tour with me, drinking lots of water, keeping the wounds dry and applying lots of antiseptic.

I have also been enjoying my Game of Thrones DVD box set to pass the time.

It seems to have done the trick though so I am hoping to be back in the water tomorrow.

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I am spending so much time out on the water here, either on the sea taxi or on my board that I can no longer walk in a straight line on dry land for long. I am developing arms like Popeye because of all the paddling I am doing and my skin is as dark as it has ever been on this trip.

As a result of the outrageous tan and the addition of some fine looking facial hair I am starting to get worried about the next immigration desk I encounter. I will look nothing like my passport photo and am wondering if I will have issues getting into the country.

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We are all too tired to take on Telescopes again so opted for a more mellow break that is adjacent to our resort. The waves were about shoulder high on the sets but where the waves would break was unpredictable, which made catching the ones you wanted a tad frustrating.

The current swell is supposed to be peaking tomorrow and everybody knows they will need their energy to make the most of it so we didn’t stay in longer than two hours, preferring to hold back whatever reserves are left for what will most likely be the biggest waves of our stay here.

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Ordinarily I would be wanting to find a new break on this trip but the waves are so good at Telescopes and the water so unusually crowd free that we can’t resist going back for more. This wave will not be breaking at all next week so we are making hay while the sun shines.

I lost count of how many gorgeous peeling lefts I bagged today. The water is so glassy that the take-off, the wave itself and indeed the paddle back out afterwards are a delight. The ride was so smooth and went on for ages across the reef.

There was just our boat visiting the break this morning meaning there were only six people playing in the head high waves, when during peak season that number is more likely to be closer to fifty. As a result nobody wanted to get out. I only threw in the towel in the end because I could barely lift my arms out of the water from three and a half hours of paddling.

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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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