july 2013: indonesia: mentawaii islands, nias

July was a month of sweet dreams. Very sweet dreams. We spent one week at our favourite anchorage in Indonesia and three weeks at our other favourite anchorage in Indonesia.

MENTAWAII ISLANDS

ANCHORAGE. One of our two favourite anchorages in Indonesia is called “The Playgrounds”, which confuses Willow because at this place there are no kids, no swings, no slides. There are, however, eight surf breaks. This is one within paddling distance of where we anchor Zinc.

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…This is another.

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LIFE. We lived life leisurely. On this uninhabited island, we built cubby houses and sandcastles, snorkelled, jogged, collected sea shells, and long-jumped off fallen coconut trees.

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…We fed, and fed on, fish. These fish liked to eat watermelon.

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…We visited “Chad’s floating house”; it was floating three years ago when we were here last.

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PASSAGE FROM THE MENTAWAII ISLANDS TO NIAS

SAILING. The conditions on the 207 nautical mile passage between our two favourite anchorages went from ideal to difficult to ideal to difficult to ideal to difficult. Here are a few photos taken during the ideal parts. We set off under blue skies.

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…The next morning Willow and I enjoyed breakfast over glassy seas.

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…That afternoon Willow and Karen played on the slides.

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…Karen always goes first.

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…And we baked a cake and sang “Happy Birthday” to Uncle Adrian who is in Australia. Willow is convinced he heard her singing; Dale ate his piece of cake.

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BOAT KID. This is “Baby Winch Handle”. She is the sister of “Baby Mooring Rope”. We’ve heard about the imaginative play thing…

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…and we’re absolutely certain this is normal behaviour for a boat kid. Right?

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NIAS

SURFING. Dale and I ended the month completely surfed out.

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…Dale had the best day of surfing he can remember. He thinks it was even better than a day he had in Pohnpei back in 2006. The photos below don’t do the conditions justice. It was an incredible day, even for Willow and me in the peanut gallery on shore. Poor old Dale, though, he really did a number on himself. He’s diagnosed himself as having a severe case of osmosis caused by the nine hours he was immersed in salt water. Almost a week later he’s still shuffling around flat and exhausted.

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…I set three personal surfing records: 1. Longest surf session (three hours). 2. Most surf sessions in one day (three). 3. Most consecutive days of surfing (six).

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…It was all too big for Willow. She didn’t mind.

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ANNOYANCE. It was a wacky month: Brazilians called me onto waves; Australians and Japanese snaked and hassled me. It was with one of the Australians whom I had my first altercation in the surf. It was a beautiful morning — glassy, three foot, plenty of waves. He was an excellent surfer; he’d just had a couple of days of riding smoking barrels. I was cruising on my 8 foot Yater; I’d just had a couple of days of sitting on the beach. I was on the shoulder out the back when a wide one came through. It was way past my ‘turn’, and one of the local kids who comes to my ‘crafternoon’ sessions called me onto it: “GO MAMMA WILLOW”. So I heeded the cue, paddled hard, and took off before anyone else had started paddling. As I was riding along, though, I noticed a guy on my inside. I went to pull off the wave, but he was already screaming and swearing at me — F@##$%KKK!!! F&*^*KKK!!! F#$%^KKK!!! He kicked off, throwing his arms in the air as if I’d ruined for him a six foot heaving barrel (and not a fat three foot roller, which is what the wave was). I was cross. I was cross about being snaked. Again. But mainly I was cross about being screamed and sworn at on such a beautiful morning. I paddled back to the line-up and gave the guy a serve for screaming and swearing at me. He screamed and swore at me some more about how I’d dropped in on him, then he huffed and paddled to shore. Ouch. A few days later, the guy and I found ourselves in the line-up together again. We ignored each other. Then he called me onto a wave. And I said, “Thank you”.

Now, I never drop in on anyone intentionally and I always pull off a wave if someone is on my inside, even if they’ve snaked me, but Dale has been in my ear lately telling me to keep riding if I’m up first. This Japanese guy and I came to a kind of understanding: he’d snake me; I’d drop in on him. We shared numerous “party waves”.

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ANCHORAGE. We were rapt to have our good friend, Keith on Surf Machine, keep us company in the anchorage. We’ve only seen a few cruising boats this season and none for over a month. Willow is confused, she thinks Keith’s boat is called Washing Machine.

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LIFE. We spent the days on shore. As always, it was pleasurable…

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…and entertaining.

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…Willow had a ball.

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VILLAGE KID. Willow was a village kid again.

SAMSUNG

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LIFE. Little Jeunesse and Alan visited Zinc for a play date. They started a rumour among the kids on shore that we don’t have a TV on Zinc. For days afterwards, we had random kids we’d never seen before expressing their condolences regarding our TV-less existence. (For the record, we do have a TV on board Zinc; we keep it covered to protect it from the salt air, but also because we very rarely watch it.)

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VILLAGE KID. Laudia is two and a half. Willow is two and a half. Alan is six. Willow has always preferred to play with older kids; nevertheless, we thought Laudia would be the kid at the beach with whom Willow would play the most. We were wrong. It was Willow and Alan who were inseparable. They became really great friends.

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…But gee poor old Alan copped a bossing…

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…and a hiding.

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ANNOYANCE. Our mission to Asu was frustrated by the weather. We planned to leave at 2am on a morning that turned out to be the only stormy morning of the month. These fellas helped us work for half a day to prepare Zinc to leave. They bought us chocolate and beers. They read bed-time stories to Willow. And they spent a rocky night on board Zinc. Only to be told the next morning, “Repack your bags boys. We’re not going anywhere.” We felt terrible. They accepted our decision with good humour (or so they represented to us) and they took a car and a ferry to Asu instead.

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LIFE. Each afternoon, to return home to Zinc, we would walk across 100 meters of shallow reef to a keyhole.

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…Dale and Willow would swim to the tender, while I stayed standing on the reef holding the bags.

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…Between sets, Dale would drive to the edge of the reef where I would gracelessly launch myself and our bags into the tender. The exercise would be more, or less, challenging depending on the prevailing tide and swell. Regardless, every time we would laugh about our near capsize as we planed across the bay toward our beautiful, albeit sometimes rocky, home. Life is good.

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2 thoughts on “july 2013: indonesia: mentawaii islands, nias

  1. Brilliant, entertaining and beautiful – as always!

    You really ought to check out making this adventure into a book or a film at the very least. Timeless

    xx

    k

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