Salt Water Remedy - Kai Satu XI (Mentawai Part.II)
Updated: Nov 30, 2018
Round two... Broken boards, medical emergencies, rooftop Bintang's, tsunami alerts and some genuine Barry time.
Day 3 on the Kai Satu, and “unfortunately” a decent swell moving around was the catalyst for another shit night sleep and after a big first day in the water, with some very stiff and sore bodies for the 05:30AM alarm. A mushy, high tide, didn’t provide much interest so we again relocated.
Arriving into PLAYGROUNDS for a mid morning session we hit up A FRAME with options to go cleanly left, or flirtatiously close to danger, aka right. It was a killer little session that saw some drama with a Lachly Munro losing a board across the reef when his leash snapped to be washed up on the adjacent Snake Island. See ya buddy, that’s a big swim!! Amidst that drama saw a clean up set that took out three of us, myself included and proved to be a serious struggle with the extremely lacking paddle fitness. We coped wave after wave on the head and were losing ground to the reef, significantly.
Drone footage below thanks to @margarita_salyak
Once order was re established, Mitch Coe took off on a screaming left hander only to be rattled on the exit by his board whipping back into the side of his head. Straight away from a good 40-50m we could see him holding his head delicately, blood streaming down the side of his neck and behind his ear. He wasn’t too phased in the end, more disappointed. Dan, Rusty and myself went with him to Kandui Resort where thankfully there was a US doctor, Tom on a rotating surf holiday and he went full scale medical bush bash, laid him out on a broad timber table, disinfected, jabbed some local anaesthetic (twice because the first didn't seem to have much affect...) then punished in 7 non porous staples to the melon. A few pills for the road and a story to be told, he was diagnosed with a 24hr time out. It was pretty uncomfortable watching your buddy go through something like that in a very sketchy location, but what’s a photographer as a mate for good for?
After some food it was back on for round two with a low to rising tide at 4 BOBS, low wind with a hand full of humans still out. All the boys charging with some serious 4-5ft right hander swell rolling through on the set waves onto a reef where I could stand and shoot in parts. Lach Finn and Nathan Doherty going toe-to-toe for wave of the day while I got kook of the day for deciding to not look at my camera gear closely before I closed it in the water! The camera still locked on manual focus (which you can’t adjust in the water).
Staying overnight in PLAYGROUNDS warranted some calm seas as it was quite protected thank fuck, a decent night sleep!! 05:30 alarms for a sunrise session back out at 4 BOBS was all to ourselves, glassy and no wind but a rising to high tide only gave us 2hrs of power.
Looking for something new we took up the anchor and set out for HIDEAWAYS with a handful taking to a stretch and "yoga" session (Dan also being a Yoga Instructor in Bali) with others using the time to repair some reef damage to boards.
Arriving into HIDEAWAYS for a later morning session before the tide became well to low, it was no more than a technical take off into a waist deep left handed reef. Only 4 of them in the line up was definitely the time to be there as boats after boats arrived all afternoon into the sunset. At its peak we totaled 24 bodies with some absolute shredders carving wave after wave and taking the majority.
Docking up to into TELESCOPES for first light the next morning wasn’t a promising swell direction so took an hour boat ride back to SCARECROWS (central Mentawai). The wave was another tidy yet bigger left hander keeping the goofy footers happy (CJ & Mitch). All the boys reaching into the 27 strong quiver for bigger boards finally. Plenty of water moving around on a rising tide made for a serious aerobic workout, just to keep in position. Lach Finn getting heckled by the lone Indo local in the line up for having a red board claiming red was for locals only.
Swell getting un-ride able so we relocated back to TELESCOPES and awaited low tide. In the downtime we sent a boat with myself, Margarita, CJ, Nathan, Dan and Rusty over to 'A Perfect Foundation', Located in the small coastal village of Mapadeget in North Sipora they established the first Education and Conservation Centre in the Mentawai Islands in 2015.
Unfortunately the school was closed with the teachers/owners away overseas which we didn't know but Dan still took us for a stroll around! For such a remote location and an Island that looked so desolate and abandoned from the boat I was so surprised and happy to see the amount of infrastructure and families all around the island to welcome us.
Back on for an afternoon surf with swell picking up, 4-5ft left handed telescopes didn’t last too long with impeding crowds arriving with the news of absolutely banging waves. Annoying, but to be fair we were overrun by absolute guns (again) dropping super deep inside and making through each section leaving minimal scraps for the lads. No harm in a rooftop bintang, sunset session watching some awesome barrel riding!
It was at this point that I looked over my shoulder and saw Milsey staring at his phone & photos of his beautiful 6-week-old baby girl, plus messages from his wife. While having a ripper time away he was obviously and understandably struggling to leave them at home. It hit really hard to see how life has changed for so many of us since high school and how stoked we are to all be on a trip like this together, safe, stoked and healthy!
Another prime time morning in the Kai Satu the crew was up pre dawn to have the boat ready for sunrise at TELESCOPES, breakfast was skipped with the swell picking up to 5-6ft overnight, a mid tide with off shore winds...are you kidding?? Barrel city on the inside section!! We had it all to ourselves for a good hour until a few boats made tracks for the break and joined us. The stoke short lived with an absolute 3 wave BOMB set that Margarita shooting the below shot from the boat roof, calling it 8ft + coming at us from unexpectedly super wide off the reef, totally wiping out the whole line up, everyone coming up for air to cop another on the head broke us right down. Not what we were expecting!
I found myself battered and exhausted swimming with my camera and housing this morning, scared of losing all together or shattering the glass on the reef below. Amazingly, no damage to anyone or any boards, just badly egos and a killer story time at lunch.
It was at this point we learnt of the 7.4 magnitude tsunami off Sulawesi. Although it had no physical affect on us in our location, it has had detrimental affects on families, infrastructure and local villages with 10-12ft walls of water engulfing shorelines, homes and business’s and we send our love and thoughts to all affected and all those helping in relief efforts at present and to continue!
"2.4 million people have been affected by this disaster. Over 2,000 fatalities have been confirmed, more than 1,300 people are still listed as missing, and more than 200,000 people have been displaced." 'World Vision 2018'
For donations to assist the relief, World Vision have set up an online portal accessible here.
Dan back to his old tricks again; “lets leave here and head to SUICIDES", because that sounds like a bloody great idea... Still only 10:30am and for the more experienced riders, some carve able right handed, draining little runners out to the shoulder but still battling the strong tide in the line up. Milsey with some board damage and Lach Finn getting an unexpected Indonesian Reef Tattoo when his leash became tangled on the coral holding him under, rag dolled across the reef! He took it, got cleaned up and straight back out, absolute hell man covered in more limejuice and betadine than skin.
After all agreeing to venture deeper south for some exploration and new waves we were soon regretting it with the voyage (10+ hrs) commencing late in the afternoon.
Captain actually calling it quits coming into low light. The sea was ANGRY and throwing us all over the boat we took refuge in a near by, secluded fishing bay.
Until the finale, Part III
Peace out for now!