Next Stop: Mentawais Surf Charter

Trip Start Aug 26, 2008
Trip End Aug 17, 2009

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Where I stayed
King Millennium Boat

Flag of Indonesia  , Sumatra,
Friday, February 27, 2009

After an easy and comfortable flight from Taipei to Jakarta, and then from Jakarta to Padang, I was met by a representative of my surf charter at the airport. I loaded my boards onto the truck and was driven to the harbor of Padang.

Indonesians drive on the left side of the road and use their horns liberally to let each other know when they are nearby. Overall, the traffic speed is fairly slow, so though it appears very confused, the chaos stays accident-free for the most part. Gutted minivans painted with garish color schemes and adorned with body kits, massive spoilers, and fake cold-air intakes are everywhere, honking at every available pedestrian, hoping to pick them up and make a few extra Rupiah. There are also a large number of mosques, and the evening call to prayer was resounding through the air from their loudspeakers as we drove through town.

After meeting the other passengers at a very nice hotel near Padang harbor, we were taken to the boat and boarded the King Millennium. The boat was a 50-something-foot indonesian single-hulled motor yacht. The top deck was covered by a tarpauline and was used for unwinding after a session or prepping to go surfing. Boards, towels, boardies, and fins were stored up top, lashed down against foul weather. One could sunbathe atop the roof of the pilothouse--or jump off, or search for a cell phone signal--by climbing over the railing.

The deck level was occupied by the anchor and winch up front, a board-storage area aft of that, the pilot house and crew quarters aft of that, the main saloon aft of that--complete with two big benches, a table for meals, and a tv/dvd player. A small galley adjoined the saloon, where the ship's cook made uncomplicated but large-portioned filling fare. Aft of that was the stern of the boat with a lowerable platform for boarding the dinghy for trips to islands or to distant surf breaks. The ladder to the upper deck was also located at the stern.

Belowdecks, a set of stairs led down from the main saloon to the passenger quarters. There were 3 rooms each with a bunk bed, and one large room with two bunks. I was quartered in one of the bunks in the largest room--a very nice space with plenty of room to spread out my gear on the top bunk. The passenger quarters were air conditioned and tended to roll less as they were closest to the bottom of the boat.

In any sort of swell, the King Millennium rolled like a drunkard. I only became queasy once in very heavy swell right after a long surf session and heavy meal of egg-topped ramen.

The surf was incredible, with great pointbreak setups around every island. The waves were absent for the first 4-5 days and we stayed at Burgerworld, groveling in Chest-high surf with occasional overhead sets. After that, things picked up and we headed to Nipussi, Hollow Trees, and then the amazing world-class left-hander of Maccaroni's, where we spent a full surfing day cathing endless left-handers.

I hit the reef three times at different spots, suffering small cuts to my hand and back, and scraping a few ounces of flesh off on Macaroni's reef from my right leg. I kept the injuries clean with iodine, and avoided infection, having a great trip in all.

After 11 days on the boat, we headed back to Padang and I made an early-morning transfer to the airport. My return to Taipei was uneventful, though I was glad beyond words to be reunited with my wife after such a long trip.  
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