Now this feels like Sumba

Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
Trip End Jul 17, 2012

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Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Friday, July 6, 2012

I've settled into life here at Tarimbang. The area is in the middle of beyond nowhere (surrounded on three sides by jungle and one side of ocean), but the camp… er… bungalows are really comfortable and the place is quiet, except for the animals.

And there are animals everywhere! I heard about the packs of wild dogs around, but I haven’t had a problem with them at all. There are a couple of lazy dogs at Marthen’s – they are usually sunning themselves and waiting for us to finish eating so they can get the scraps. There are some super cute puppies around, but they’re mange-y and flea-ridden, so I’m trying not to pick them up.

As I was writing this blog the other day, I heard some odd noises, grunts and almost whispers coming from behind my bungalow. It was a momma pig and her baby. Momma was pushing 100 pounds, while the baby was probably about 10-15. And there are pigs everywhere like that – tied up, in the bushes, behind the hut, you never know what’s rooting around in the forest. There are a lot of chickens and roosters around as well, but after a decade on Kauai, they don’t even register to me anymore.

There are, of course, a water buffalo or two around as well. I haven’t seen any monkeys, but they’re very loud near dark and you can hear them screeching in the trees. Erik saw a large fruit bat this morning as well, so I’m going to have to keep an eye out for that.

I saw a sea cow (manatee) in the ocean yesterday. I saw a large shadow underneath me, and just as I was about to freak, the thing slowly wandered off. I caught a glimpse as it slowly swam away. Really grateful about that one.

There are a ton of frigate birds, as well as some sea falcons and maybe even an osprey.

Erik and Karianna showed up yesterday afternoon. It’s great to see them again, especially now that Karianna has gotten her teeth all fixed up and is very cheerful and has super interesting stories about her trips with Doctors Without Borders.

Erik and I went for a surf in the afternoon, and I got launched on an absolute bomb set. Luckily, the bottom is quite deep, so no worries about hitting reef.

The wave at Tarimbang (it seems bizarre and out of place to call it 'Miller’s Right’) is a super long, fun right way the hell out to sea. It’s about a 20-minute paddle out (at least), and the currents take a bit to get used to. As it’s such a deep water wave, lining up to catch the waves has been frustrating at times, and I got a lot of waves on the head yesterday.

But when you catch one, the waves reel off for literally hundreds of yards. It’s just a super long, fun wall with steep sections and an occasional barrel.

I got up at 5:15 to paddle out at dark with Erik today. I only got one really good one, but it was the equivalent of about four waves elsewhere. Still, I’m not satisfied, and I’m hoping for more surf in the next few days. I may stay an extra day or two here, depending on the swell. It’s cheap (four days here are comparable to one day at Marosi) and the food is good and Marthen is a great host.

Marthen is all heart, really. He dropped some people off at Kallala the other day, at a surf camp over there. And the wife of the woman who runs the place apparently insulted his cooking. She didn’t think that Marthen would actually run the place AND drive the guests around. She obviously doesn’t know him. Anyway, she told her new guest that Tarimbang was cheap because the food sucks. Marthen is still pissed about it three days later – mostly because he’s sent other guests there on numerous occasions, and now they’re talking shit.

The food is really good here – it’s buffet style, with a ton of food and fresh veggies, etc. every day. At Marosi, the food was opulent, and delicious. But like everything else, it was not very Indonesian.

Here, at Marthen’s, it’s more authentic. It’s quaint and quirky and really comfortable. And it feels Indonesian.

At Marosi, the area around the resort was much more poor and rural. This place fits in seamlessly in the community.

After our dawn patrol, Erik, Karianna, and I have just had our oatmeal with fresh bananas and papayas for breakfast, and I think it’s time for a snooze in the hammock I borrowed from Erik.

Maybe we’ll go for a surf this afternoon. The surf is only good on the low tide, and often the trade winds blow it out during the day, making only a small window to surf every day. If not, the reef looks ripe for snorkeling.

Yup, definitely roughing it here at Marthen’s. Then again, there are no mirrors here, the mandi's toilet seat is needs constant anti-bacterial treatment, and the shower is a large basin with a bucket in the shape of a heart. I shaved the other day using feel (which I've done maybe once in my life) and then took photos of my face to make sure I didn't miss anything.  

This is Sumba!

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