On our way again.

9th June 2016.

Rest In Peace Barbra Calabrese.

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Had an awesome experience this morning, took the dinghy over to the right hander and just sat and watched a bunch of ballsy surfers take it on at twelve foot plus. Being in the dinghy up close was a hoot, in the end I got a few photos but it was much better just watching it, unreal. The bloke who got the biggest wave was cooking, so much style, yeww yeww.

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After not being in contact with the world for a month we got some and the news wasn’t good, poor Barbra Calabrese has passed away, Cala, Maria and kids I am devastated for you guys, I can’t possibly think of another word, you know how much I enjoyed your parents and grand parents company. Sorry for not getting down there mate.

We finished all our bits and pieces in Sibolga, said our goodbyes around town, Libra took us out for lunch up near where we stayed with the boat last year, it was really good food, crabs cooked right, prawns and fish to.

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There is a bit of buzz around the town with Rahmadan starting tomorrow, lots of kids out on bikes and the streets are busy, it was a good day to be there, the place is a good example of how all the different groups just get on with it.

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Beng Beng was up to his usual helpfulness, we had a car for four days, did a bit of exploring, found a carpenter to repair the door frame in the dunny, it cost fifteen bucks and doesn’t quite fit, you get that.

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We upped anchor at sparrows and headed out with twelve knots SE and were flying along for four hours but then as is the case up here it disappeared to nothing, engines on and arrived at Nias at 1600, in a bay we have now used a few times, pretty spooky though as the swells roll in, they look like they may break but they never do.

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Next day we moved around into Lagundri Bay, anchored up and got on it, no point hitting town, all the way into the bay I could hear this kid yelling, Papa Papa and within ten minutes we had three of the gang on board. Great kids, so polite and in one year they have grown so much, their English is really good and they use it constantly with us. Cost us a few cokes as usual.

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Next day we hit town, dragged the dinghy up the sand bar at the rivermouth and got to meet the surf school dude, Anton, not sure what or if he gets paid for his lessons but good bloke. I gave him my old mal, Roozen it has gone to a better place, so now we and the dinghy are treasured items, he keeps an eye out for us.

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On the way into town I took the sort of repaired door frame and a boomerang to see if we can get some made for gifts to people. The first place we came to was a carpenter, there you go, showed him what I wanted and he gave me a price of thirty bucks for ten boomerangs and to fix the door. He has now painted them and coated in a clear gloss varnish, I gave him five hungy and he was wrapped. Sat there one day and they showed me the art of beatle nut chewing, doesn’t really do anything but had to give it a go.

Hired a bike from a bloke who I don’t think likes to hire bikes, they are a bit to precious to him but in the end we used it for the best part of a day, went to Teluk Delam and had pork at the Elenshdove restaurant then my coup for the day I went to the fish market along the road, same place as last year, and asked for kepeting and the guy goes “yeah we have”, and off we go, a bucket is produced with three filthy muddies in it, how much, thirty bucks, done, but need a bag, they are big buggers and with nippers as big as my fist. So off they go in search of a bag, one found and the crabs are put in it and handed over, yeww yeww. Does this guy look dodgy or what?

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We went on a tour up from Lagundri and found some nice villages, nice people, where you from? Australia, Ohh, where are you from? Nias, Ohh.

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Up at Rahel’s we got to meet the family once again, Papa and Mama exactly the same, the kids are a bit bigger and its all go. Upstairs though the tenants are a surprise, Luke and Danika are here, last time we saw them was the birthday bash, it didn’t take long and dingen bintangs were organized, not always that easy as power is turned off during the day most days, but Johnny sussed it and a good arvo was had playing of course, arsehole, which I am now shit at.

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We had a 2000 curfew on the dinghy watch so had to go, coming off the bridge pretty fast I forgot about the drop and the piece of reed that the fish mongerers tied the bag up with broke and the crabs went splat, spew but they seemed alive still. Luke and Johnny helped us get the dinghy in and with a bit of luck, we made it out the rivermouth, through the waves in pitch black darkness to Boomerang.

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We were starving so I went to cook the crabs, opened the bag and guess what? There is one big big one, one big one and two pissy little dead ones, pissed myself, bloody fishermen, you cant trust them. The last muddie I bought in Langkawi was thirty bucks for one so still got a bargain.

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Next day we went to the Kings House which is in a village up the top of a hill or mountain, what an eye opener, these villages were built for protection against other villages, in one way and out the same, Johnny was saying the last village war was in 2008 and it was ridgydidge war. Unreal. Spear chucking, wall jumping the whole thing.

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I checked on the Boomerangs, still drying so alls good, had a tour around town, checked the resort that never opened, it is huge and just falling down, Luke said it was like twenty years old.

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Been getting our daily fill of donuts and banana bread from Lucy, have seen most of the gang around town they have all got broken boards due to the swell over the last few weeks, poor buggers but can’t do much to help out. It is classic though, they have all been going out when it is big, they are indestuctible.

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Then we had big Thursday, couldn’t get to the beach and pretty glad we shifted the boat last night. The boys on the charter boat pulled anchor around 1700 so we followed suite.

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I hit town next day to get my shoulder looked at, pick up the Boomerangs and say goodbye to everyone. I got a pretty amazing massage which consisted of a lot of reflexology, hows my kidneys are a bit flogged but my brain, ears and heart are doing ok. Geez it hurt when he was doing the kidney part of my foot.

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The boomerangs are done, I took old mate to a paddock next door and we tried one out and it came back to within twenty foot, he was amazed. He made one for himself as well so he has a template.

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Said goodbye to Rahel’s family, and got a lift back to the beach, such a ripper afternoon we sat at a restaurant and had a beer or two then the boys from the surf school gave me a hand with the dinghy and back out I went. Just out from the channel I grabbed a red boomerang out and chucked it, it landed back in the boat, the boys, the guys and girls surfing and myself just stared in disbelief, it was on then the boys wanted one, so chucked them one, I wonder if they still have it.

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Have now caught up on all the Tales from the Tinny episodes we have missed, pretty good internet on Nias, read a couple of books, one of them is by a new author to me, Elmore Leonard and the book is called, Get Shorty and it is a ripper. One of those ones where you cant put it down even to go to sleep. Another one called You are Dead by Peter James was pretty good too. One by Chris Ryan was ok but the other one, in his Extreme Series, was the worst book I have read in years. On the television series’s into Indian Summers and Poldark now as we finished Vinyl pretty quickly, that is a good series.

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Got to go, good wind coming and so is Pulau Telos.

 

Holidays are over, those ones anyway.

21st September 2015.

Its time to get up, the time is six o’clock.

Its time to get up, the time is six o’clock.

Its time to get up, the time is six o’clock.

Floundered around in a blur then finally found the bastard and went back to bed.

The Sandy’s anchorage is safe but bejesus it is rock and roll all night long. A huge lightning storm hit around 0330, lots of lightning and it pissed down. The thunder was like in the Telos, it sounded distorted it was so close.

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We hung in there till 0700, knock off time for the fishermen I reckon, they were all coming past yelling and carrying on.

An irritating one foot swell at about three seconds is sweeping into the anchorage from the east, a light five knot SE breeze which is not making things to bad, no sideways action but lets get out of here.

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We had anchor up and everything stowed by 0730, then it was hobby horsing out of the place around the port marker and guess what, it got far worse. To sail our course is impossible, fully on the nose, so Penang it is. The bloody autopilot is playing up or it may possibly be the plotter, that is twice now it has needed to be reset. Along the coast fishermen come over to see you and wave, my standard line now is, Aceh bagus, Jumpa Lagi, which they all seem to like. One boat came towards us and they are very animated, I waved back but they more like waved their arms in a Hati-Hati kind of way, I looked where we were headed and be buggered there’s a little wave breaking dead ahead, all the charts say ten metres, we were in thirty and I didn’t wait around to watch it rise, apparently I did good as the waving and yelling stopped.

We set the sails and sailed between thirty and fifty degrees, motorsailng, doing four to five knots, big time current against us, not much you can do, we aren’t going back.

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Got Boomerang balanced up and sailing, which improved our situation ten fold, pretty ugly conditions, but Penang is not a bad spot. Mid morning we had some favourable wind direction and were just about able to head for the bottom of Langkawi, things are on the up, plus we are up in the high fives now. By lunch it was all ok, heading for Telaga Harbour.

A ship passed us from behind, I had no idea it was there, checked the AIS, amber light solid, normally green or blue, out with the book, not a great deal of info, perhaps bad area, GPS not working, that sort of stuff. So disconnected everything, checked all leads, opened up the AIS, ah shit, it has the burnt electrical smell, now it’s rooted for sure, this is not really going to plan, we are just about to cross the Straits of Melaka, one of the busiest passages in the world, now with no B class AIS, I dragged out the spare and plugged it in but even though all the indicators are correct there is nothing displayed on the plotter, a real case of the thick plottening. Out with the books, laptop and special lead but don’t really reckon I need to be bothering, it is not going to work but persisted for a couple of hours then spat the chips and had a beer followed by a stiff JD and coke, that’ll fix it. Nope. It is getting on now and the sun is going down, turned on the radar just to check. I was checking the screen and noticed these purple arcs, thought it to be waves but then looked around and there are none, oh shit we are almost in the strait, they are ships and it looks bloody busy as well.

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The first one was a beauty, came up behind us, had him sussed, called him on the radio to no avail, he tooted his horn as he went past. From then on it was game on, I was wondering when I was going to get tired, not tonight that was for sure, they started coming at us from all directions although most were heading east to west or close to it, at one stage we had one slow down to give us room and then they all started doing it so you couldn’t just run up the front work out which way they were heading by their nav lights then back to the wheel to make adjustments, reckon they were thinking what’s this stupid prick up to. A couple of hours and perhaps fifteen boats I was rooted, me brain was fizzing, even had the doubts coming on, but they stopped for almost an hour, what a short lived fantasy that was, the bastard things then came at us like there was no tomorrow. At one stage I called on the VHF, all ships, all ships this is sailing vessel Boomerang we are at such and such and heading on course 082 degrees to Langkawi, can you please avoid us, not one of them replied, but they definitely saw us with every light on our mast on. About 0200 they started to slow down, thank god for that, hooked into a couple of beers to settle the nerves. They were still coming but one at a time now with heaps of gap so even allowed myself fifteen minutes nap with the phone on my chest, It’s time to get up, the time is 0230. Back to life check the surroundings and have another go, added up to a couple of hours in the end, plenty, when you know, just make it to daybreak and it is bedtime. The crew doesn’t want anything to do with nighttime and ships, don’t blame her either. You don’t realize how much you can miss something till it’s gone, the AIS gives you the ship that’s bearing down on you’s name, once you call it they are obliged to answer but if you are calling someone, like merchant vessel x 3, this is sailing vessel boomerang x 3, they don’t give a shit about you. They don’t need to give a shit is probably closer to the point.

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Well the sun rose, I have sussed a comfy posy on the chair, the morning is startling, beautiful clear sky, an ocean that is so calm and blue as blue, nice, last night was horror, today is like you won and here’s your prize. We had the current with us and engines just tonking along to get 6.3kns, the risk of shipping has gone so iPad is showing the way, given up on the other gear and the autopilot is manageable but needs constant attention, we are going a bit fast as we don’t want to get to Telaga to early, although Jen did suggest the fuel dock, that is a good option. Dropped one engine off and lost a knot, it can stay off.

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Saw a whale today, I thought I saw one about half an hour earlier and was thinking, as these Thai fishing boats, ones with the net between them, I imagined what would happen if they caught a whale and there you go one pops up and we both, sitting up the front sipping Anchor beers, saw it, be buggered hey. Yesterday I saw a pack of dolphins, they were going off up front, heaps of them, that was pretty cool too.

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We have sat and watched the horizon for the expected 0 – 5 knots of WNW breeze, not happening, so time for a snooze, good one to, woke ready to go which was good as the wind has arrived, ten to fifteen knots at 120 degrees and all is good.

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Had a funny thing happen, a boat came over for a look, cut me off to start with, then they just took off, the strange thing was all the dogs barking on it, guess it was someone’s navy but not sure whose.

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The going was good so I had another snooze but a storm was headed our way, Jen give me a shake around 2300 as the wind had come around on the nose at twenty knots, it then moved to beam and eventually back to 120 degrees, so much for taking our time, we were flying, by this stage all the squid boats are packing it in for the night and heading for cover, we just ploughed on Langkawi now a glow on the horizon. About 0200 and it has passed but the lightning show we got was superb, full horizontal stuff, looked like it was joining the clouds together and then the occasional direct hit on the ocean, spectacular, our conditions continued to improve and I set about getting the fenders and ropes ready. As you come into Telaga there are some bamboo posts that are bunched together at the top and a few metres above the sea level, it might be a FAD not sure, but I know they are there and approximately where they are so I was looking out for them, you wouldn’t want to hit it as it would skuff up the gelcoat pretty badly. I quizzed on whether I had passed them and decided that I had and moved up front to tie off a fender, this is when I saw it, it went sailing past and all I could do was just watch it as we missed it by a couple of metres, just goes to show after all the crap with the electronics, the ships and the weather when your lucks in it is in.

Dropped anchor out the front of the marina as it was pretty calm by then, I had a shave for my appointments with Imigrassi, Harbour Master and Customs officials in the morning and hit the sack, slept in in the end but we were safe and sound in berth A34 by 0930. Had Cath and Gary help with the ropes, then we helped another boat come in and finally kicked back for a bit. All things considered it was a good sail, 250nm as the crow fly’s, not sure how many miles we actually did, in forty three hours, pretty much the standard.

All the paperwork over, with no dramas, we were welcomed back by the Imigassi boss and the Harbour Master, that to me is way cool. Came out of there with a spring in my step. Up to the Marina Office, cleared with them and we are back home.

BRING ON THE OCKWOLD’S, sorry Ockwells..

The Rangas would like to thank, Hubert, the lone sailor, party organiser and constant backup for ciggys, lighters and red wine, The Sandy’s for I am not sure what, but it is always good fun when you guys are around, Fred and Rosie, our live entertainment and a constant smiling face, The Persians, what a big effort to get there, Bailey and Erwin and Uncle and Goddy at the Floating Surf House, BengBeng for services done under extreme corruption, Dr Libra Christian for being our mate, Firman for his driving skills, Allie, Anaren and Nabahan for the Udang Kipas, Mangrove Jack, taking me diving and just being good dudes, Marcus for the fins, Mick for the JD and Ballantines, perfect timing, Paul the photographer for my Barrel shots, Uni and the kids at Lagundri Bay you are rippers and we really hope CaptainR’s is there next year.

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We travelled approximately 2180 nautical miles, we used 1620 litres of fuel, we made 13000 litres of water and including getting the boat ready up in Thailand, six grand, we spent right on $15000 over five months for everything, to do a 12 day charter is close on five grand each, lets say four, so looking at it that way, I saved $35000 dollars and Jen got hers for free. Geez with calculations like that you may as well just go surfing, eat lobsters and drink heaps of piss.

 

 

 

Its a good life but some times it’s not right.

25th August 2015.

Farewell Fonz we are going to miss you.

Geez we usually look forward to getting internet and phone coverage but this time it sat us on our arses. Our good mate Les, Barrow Island name Fonzy, has been killed in a motorbike accident, horror.

I first met Fonz on Barrow Island in 1991, a bearded, cruisey sort of bloke who was interested in what you had to say and had only good things to say himself. The environment of Barrow Island was one of his loves, the way he got going when he talked about it, although in his low key manner, even Harry Butler could be upstaged.

On Barrow Fonz was often our photographer, he would find his way out to the spots and sit there in his truck or grader and film away. One epic time we had T-Trees going off, Robo and myself out, Fonz sitting on the roof of the grader getting some of the best Barrow footage I reckon that was ever taken. It was a perfect day, we all knew it. After I left Barrow I kept in touch with Fonz through the grapevine and for the last few years Fonz and Amanda and one of the times, Shantelle, came and sequested our tinny, the first two days was spent cleaning it, crab season was usually on so it more times than not stunk with the occasional missed crab or a chicken wing gone septic, I am sure that our dinghy loved Fonz, he even got new numbers put on it, the dodgy texta numbers were getting a bit hard to see. It was good to see it being used and appreciated, he and Amanda enjoyed Augusta, it can do that to you, not much happening but plenty of time and space to do it, but you need a boat.

Fonz loved bike riding on his Harley, he even shipped it to America and rode around the USA, he had some funny stories about that trip, one being chased by the most vicious dog on earth and others about how many people he met just because of the Western Australian number-plate on his bike. I am pretty sure that was only part of it, he was such a likable bloke, shit we are going to miss you mate.

Amanda and the girls please know we are thinking of you guys.

We left Padang and made it to Tabekat Bay just on dusk, anchored up and kicked back. Tim caught a sail fish on the way, 40 kgs, then released it, we got nothing, all our lines are rooted, they have all twisted up so will need to get that sorted. We made our way over to Tanahbala and hit monkeys straight up, got some waves, the first ones since we left, don’t know about the Mentawis, probably just not mentforme. Next day was bigger and a lot of fun and then it was off again, heading north, this time we went through the cut between the islands, it is not much shorter but it feels like it is, such a nice sail and cruise up the channel, anchored in a pond and slept like a beauty.

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We stopped at Sopika to say seeya to Mark and his boys but he wasn’t there, visa run, another thing we noticed that wasn’t there was the big Indo boat that was anchored up out the front of the surf camp, thin as the tide dropped it started to appear, about a foot of the bow broke the surface, the bloody thing sank, it is a big heavy prick of a thing, reckon it may become a reef.

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We hit Telos Town, had a feed at Warran Raza, topped up the phone and had a beer, Jen got a bit of stuff as well. Later that day the local fish market came to us, the snappers were so fresh and we got three for fifty thousand, cant go wrong there, had them filleted up in no time. Good feed.

Next morning we left for Nias, great current with us, got the headsail out and we sat on seven and a bit knots most of the way. We stuffed up, we crossed the Equator and didn’t even realize, dickheads, we missed out on having our last bottle of champers, now we will have to wait for next year to crack it. Although Kazza and Muzz are coming soon, chances are it will be scoffed probably on their first day.

We pulled up into Lagundri Bay, dropped anchor, had a few beers and carked it, swell tomoro.

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It picked up over night and out I went in the morning, first wave was ok, even though I dropped in on a bloke, the next one was a ripper, but four weeks of getting pissed, eating bacon and eggs for brekkie every day and bugger all surfing, had me way to late on the takeoff, got to my feet but just crashed and burned at the bottom, just about ripped me head off, then got the rag doll treatment, then wore the next one on the head. Paddled over to the boat feeling a bit like the Coyote after one of his many misadventures with TNT. Got me act together and went back out for a few more but called it quits once the wind came in, geez my neck is sore.

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Next day was Baileys birthday, we hit the local BBQ pork restaurant, bloody nice babi and juices. This is possibly the best pig I have eaten, the skin was like give me more, we had four serves.

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On the way back we stopped at a roadside fish market for a butchers, I opened the door and what do you reckon was hanging from a nail in front of me, five muddies, two good size but who gives a shit, a muddie is a muddie. Not much else took me fancy so off we went.

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We got back to Rahoul’s place, then went for a walk which wasn’t real long, made it to Uni’s place and once they all realized it was Baileys birthday it was dingin Bintang king browns all round. It was an excellent session, Uni actually met the first surfers to ever come to Lagundri Bay, they had wooden boards and were scared shitless of the locals and the locals were scared shitless of them too. These couple of blokes lived on bananas and coconuts for their stay, but surfed the place with style by the sounds of it. I asked Uni when this was but he could not remember a year, not that far back. It was a great story, he needs to get it down proper as it is local history.

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We went for a walk up the point and got hammered by the kids, I had been wondering where they had got to but once they saw Papa and Mumma walking towards them, with the birthday boy Bailey, who is a bit of a celebrity around here, it was on.

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I nullified the hoardes by letting a few know that there was a free feed and a drink and a book and a pencil if they were at the boat 0900 next morning for a bit of work, washing Boomerang. It turned into every kid was coming, they were frothing. Next morning the first guys swam out at 0800 and wanted jobs, got them starting at the top, they got to it in a flurry, had to get them to be a bit more subdued as I wanted some gel-coat left.

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By 0900 there were thirteen of the little buggers all going Pappa what job for me, papa want cloth, papa is this good, geez I looked at Jen and thought this is a bit to much like having apprentices running around out of control. They actually had a ball, parts of Boomerang I am sure got washed over and over but Dutchy and his mate gave the whole boat a covering in wash and wax and she is gleaming.

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I then had to take them surfing, another workout for poor old Pappa, they all wanted to go on the first run, then we went to Uni’s joint for Mie Goring and a drink. I handed over a bloody great jar of dinosaur eggs, bubble gum in the shape of eggs, these were a real hit, the smallest one in the pack was sitting sheepishly at the end, mouth shut which was unusual, asked him to open up, he had four eggs and a great big wad of gum stashed in there as well. At least he didn’t have to share them with the big guys. They ranged from seven to fourteen and they all swam or paddled out just to do something different, plus a good feed and that’s what they got, huge plates of mie goring vego and a drink. I also handed out some exercise books whilst we waited for food, had them drawing moons, stars, earth, Boomerang, their houses and of course waves. Tell you what it shut them up. They all pigged out and it was over, we said our goodbyes and they all shook my hand and that was that, they all went their way and a couple came and helped me do the dinghy. Then along come Lucinda, she wants to see Mumma, so Frapa, short for Frapachino and his brother Ary, called Harry Potter, had to come back out. These kids are unreal and I need to think of something good to bring next year that they can all get into, they all surf like demons so something down that line would work for them I am sure.

We left next morning, the surf was pretty good but I just needed a break and we headed around the SE corner and up the east coast to a spot we all anchored in when we first came to Nias from Sibolga.

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This place is good holding in six metres but this time we had a two metre swell running, spent all arvo wondering what happens if the swell picks up. They were ominous just coming at you, needless to say they didn’t break. We lucked in also with a fishing boat, he come past for a look and I yelled out if he had ikan, fish, he shook his head and held up two filthy udang, prawns, we bought the lot, cooked them up and scoffed the lot, best prawns I have had in Asia.

The night was spent up and down as the boat went up and down, at night with the full moon blazing away it was heaps more spooky as you could sort of see the swell coming but then it was on you, they were seventeen seconds apart, I counted heaps, so a good swell is happening.

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We left at 0600 and headed out into a stormy looking day, managed to dodge most of it and were anchored up seventy miles away at 1745. We actually got good wind for the last twenty mile, so made up a bit of time.

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I had Being Being under contract, fuel, paperwork and shopping, this is just after the fuel contract was finished, we amazingly achieved this all in one day and now we are ready to get going and at 0400 that’s us, well done crew and of course Beng Beng.

Sibolga does it again.

21st July 2015.

We left Calm Bay around 1700 and headed for Sibolga, after saying  our goodbyes to Frederick and Rosie, we will catch them at Telos later on. We had a good sail for a few hours, but as it does up here, it was soon calm and the Yanmah’s were put into action. Pretty uneventful night and as the sun came up we were heading into Sibolga.

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This is the first time we have stayed up past the power station and we took our time getting up there, which in the end was bloody lucky, just out of the blue I looked over the side and holy crap, coral bombies, hit neutral then reverse and come to a halt, then the noise you don’t want to hear, sort of a scraping crunching noise, into reverse and the noise again but we safely made it back out to deeper water, think we missed a waypoint somewhere along the line, lucky.

We made it up to the anchorage with no other problems, anchored up with forty metres of chain in four metres of clear but dark water. Our anchor grabbed big time and it was time to get our arses into gear and get to Imigrassi for our visa extension. Our social visa gives us sixty days, then four lots of thirty days, so you must extend before it runs out otherwise you get hit up for overstay which was what happened to us last year, not a good experience in fact it gave me the shits, literally. When we got there our paperwork was not correct and we were missing a copy of our agent, Ray Lesmana’s, Indonesian Identification Papers. Spewing, but Beng Beng was standing there and said we can use him as an agent and we can get it done straight away, cost us seventy bucks each but it was done and dusted so an excellent outcome.

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After that we went into town, had a bit of a shop then some lunch at an all mens restaurant, Jen and Pen stood out, but whilst this was happening a very strong storm hit, all I wanted to do was bugger off and check the boat but it soon passed, it was pretty furious and the water out the front looked ugly. I felt confident with heaps of chain out and bridle attached but still had a lets get out of here and get back to the boats feeling. Finally all the food and drinks were finished and off we went back up to the anchorage. Coming around one of the last bends we could see Boomerang and Investigator but no Persian Sands, horror, Pete went white, got to Pak’s house and bolted for the dinghy where we could now see Persian Sands floating but close to shore, dumped Pete aboard and hooked up the dinghy to her bow and started towing her into deeper water, no damage, although I reckon Pete aged a few years, the old saying, something like, better off having your chain in the water than in the locker hit home. We let out another forty metres and Pete and Pen re-anchored with heaps more in. Luck was surely with us on that day.

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Next day the Persians had to hang around for Customs, we went to the markets and got some  fruit and veges, had a bistik babi at Papa’s, and found all the bits and pieces we had on our list. Pretty easy now as we know most of the shops that we need and back to the boats for a early night. The Sandy’s rolled up and started their trials and tribulations with Imigrassi, horror, but after a couple of days they were free to go, sort of anyway. We all finished our shopping, the Ranga’s loading up the most by far, not to many supermarkets between here and Padang which is about five weeks away. We is styling. Our fuel arrived around 2000 and was all loaded aboard by 2230 and now we just had to wait for the food BengBeng was getting us from Medan, 2kg Australian fillet steak, 2kg bacon, 2kg cheddar cheese, ham and some salmon which ended up being a piece of fish not slices of smoked salmon as was expected, I don’t like either of them anyway. I reckon it was a bargain and after trying a couple of steaks we were very happy indeed. It rolled up at 0130, we picked it up at Mama’s jetty then went to bed as we were meant to be leaving at sunup.

Just before sunup the Sibolga squirts turned up, all I can say is HORROR. I promised my mum there will be no more toilet stories so thats it, wish it had have been as easy as that though. Have a real aversion for squid for some reason, perhaps thats what got me this time. That is a scorecard of 4 for 4.

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We left and headed the sixty odd miles to the closest point on Pulau Nias, a motor sail which had us parked up in a big muddy bay a bit more than half way down the island. Safe as for the night.

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Motorsailed to Lagundri Bay early next day and anchored up here as per Larry’s instructions. The surf looks good but geez theres a crowd. We were visited by half a dozen of the local kids on surfboards, I shortened all their names to help me remember them, Dutchy, Mick, Alex, Frappa which believe it or not is short for Frapachini, Cappa same again and Lucy an eleven year old surfy chick who has style and guts in bucket fulls. I am Pappa and Jen is now Mamma.

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A bit of a party on Persian Sands for everyone, the Rangas were a no show, still squirting, just lied back and listened to the cricket, go Australia. Next morning Dave rolled up with his board and got me into action, we both went out with feelings of trepidation with the crowds, the waves and the fact that this is Lagundri Bay, one of the best waves in the world, I had the extra worry, would I shit myself?

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We paddled over, I got one straight away and by the time I got back out Dave was away too, then a beauty came through and I just paddled through the crowd and found myself going alone, tucked in half way down the face and got a nice open barrel to the end, I was hooting, the photographer in his boat was hooting, I was also shaking like a leaf with a shit eating grin from ear to ear, I just got a barrel at Lagundri Bay, frothing siiick. I could have just gone home then, what a sweet wave. We got a few each and I went to the boat to take some footage, probably shouldn’t have bothered, pretty crap at it and just next door is a photographer anyway, his name is Paul and has ended up being a ripper.

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Big On The Bay Of Plenty.

2ND June 2015.

Back in the Bay of Plenty, although there aren’t many waves but there are plenty of people.

Sibolga was good fun, fair few hangovers and put on a few kilo’s, pork, pork and more pork will do that to ya, Papa’s bistik babi reined supreme, sweet and sour pork has always been a favourite of mine.

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Jazzie has left the Investigator II and headed back home to Austria, I reckon she had a ball but hard to tell as she doesn’t say much, I was meant to do a cook up of turmeric mangrove jack for her but Libra, sorry I should call him by his name tag, Dr Libra Christian, had other plans for us and we were taken to the Sari Laut Seafood Restaurant, what a feast, started with these black shells, kind of like an inch long spiral in some grey juice, not the most attractive dish, but once you get over that and suck the molusc out of it your mind is made up, filth. Each and every one of them has had the skinny end clipped somehow, this lets you suck it out. We then had garouper fried as we call Thai style, and a local favourite fish baked on a BBQ, steamed green veges, battered chumi chumi, baked prawns which although you had to peel them were very well cooked. Got me buggered why prawns in Asia come with shell on, it is heaps easier to shell them before you cook them, plus you have the burn factor for your fingers, who knows. It was an unreal feed though, one of the dipping sauces, which had an unknown condiment in it was hooting, don’t know what it was but geez it was the best sauce I have had in a while. Bit like kaffir lime leaves in a Thai curry, you have to have it or it just becomes an ordinary curry.

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Libra was like an excited kid, he loved taking us out, wouldn’t hear of us paying for tea, then took us home to meet his mum who had apples peeled and quartered for us to take back to the boat, after that it was down to the farmasi to collect all our gear, malaria test kits, active malaria pills, antibiotics and all sorts of other stuff. Libra drew us pictures and wrote out instructions for everything, he is definitely a good mate, we hope to repay him in kind next time we see him.

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Old Edy the tuk-tuk bloke from Mama’s is starting to get a bit greedy, caught him ripping us off, so he can get stuffed. Mama, although a bit pricey to use her jetty, at least looks after your boat and it is always there when you get back plus she is a beauty. Then you have Beng Beng, he is a ripper, if you need anything, taxi, fuel, a tour you name it he can do it. We had four hundred litres of diesel delivered to the boat and then pumped aboard for about a buck a litre, about thirty cents more than the petrol station but no sore back this time and as he says, Beng Beng not cheap, but at least you know the price and it doesn’t fluctuate from minute to minute. He took us up to the tunnels, where the main road to Medan is cut through the mountains, reminded me of a decline in an underground mine, it is big enough for the trucks to get through but only just. Further up the mountain is a monument and what used to be a flash hotel, pretty run down now.

We upped anchor on Sunday morning and headed for Pulau Karrang where we anchored up and just hung out for the arvo, had a good sleep so a night passage was possible, solo sailor and all, come 0200 I am trying to get Hubert’s attention to get him out of bed. It was a hooting moon and as we were travelling pretty much due west we would be following it down. One hour later Jen has joined me in whistling, yelling, using our horn thing, unbelievable, 0330, I have jumped in and swam over to Investigator II, stomped up the stairs and across the deck, finally got some action, bit of yelling from Hubert, who I reckon thought he was being boarded by pirates or something. Just told him to get up, then dived back in and swum the twenty odd metres back before he could get his hands on me. Bit spooky but it had to be done. We finally got going 0400 and had the moon for an hour or so and then it was pitch black till the sun come up. Motorsailed at 40 degrees in 12 knots of breeze all the way back to the Bay of Plenty and anchored up pretty much in the same spot as last time at 1500, pretty bloody good day if you ask me.

Surf has been nonexistent pretty much the whole week we were gone, everyone is a bit stir crazy, and they all bolted to other spots, guaranteed to bring the waves back on and it has been pretty good with a couple of pearler days. Had my best surf on the right yesterday, pretty well buzzing by the time I got back to the boat, got some beauties and lost no skin, doesn’t get much better than that. Captain Morgan and his mate the Frog reared their ugly heads later as we toasted Bondy, one of Western Australia’s finest, some think otherwise but winning the Auld Mug and bringing it to Freo is legendary, he was responsible for the best summer I have ever had, Oh that was party time, hard to top it. Cheers Bondy. RIP.

Killed the pig on some fish from a couple of young fishermen, 100000rup, couple of coral trout, and three checkerboard snapper and to seal the deal a cuttlefish chucked in. Eating like kings.

Went for a spin up into Calm Bay this morning to get some text messages sent and spotted a couple of coconuts in a short tree, got two of them with the paddle but the swell was battering the dinghy so I shot back and picked up Hubert and what follows just goes to show how lucky we are.

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We got back up to the bay and we were just seeing if the phone worked when all of a sudden coconuts started falling out of a tree right next to the short one I wanted to attack, we both focused on the tree, there was a big long tail swaying from up in the tree, we both went, must be a monkey, bloody big one too, put it this way my coconut hunting wasn’t going to happen, who knows what a big monkey would do to this white arsed farang, then a few fronds came down and as we were just staring in disbelief at the monkey a little bloke appeared and waved to us from about twenty metres up, we pissed ourselves. He was coming back down and I said stop and he did so I got a photo of him. The tail was his rope thingo for climbing up the tree, had us though. Ended up going in and flashing some cash and coming away with half a boat load, he even went up another tree and got me five hooting big young greenies, bargain. So loaded the dinghy up and we were just sitting in it checking old mate out up another tree when, crash and splash, a dirty great coconut tree fell over and landed about ten metres from us, then all the coconuts started floating and we just scooted around picking them up, easy as you like, now the boat is chockers with the bloody things, unbelievable. I had checked out getting a chainsaw in Sibolga to just chop a tree down but no need for that around here. Poor old Beng Beng couldn’t believe that we were going to chop down a coconut tree, I countered his argument with how well they look after the joint themselves, didn’t really get it though and nor did we get a chainsaw. Pretty lucky hey? Saved ourselves a hundred bucks.

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The Bay of Plenty is chockers, fourteen in one surf camp, four in another, then either Sereti, Southern Cross or Bohemia Baru roll up so there is another ten plus the four or five of us, the right sorts them out though, heaps of carnage on the reef, saw so many people yesterday stuck up on it with no real relief going in or back out, you are just going to be cut to ribbons which is not a good look, especially if you have only just arrived and your frothing.

Dindo’s turned it on today, good to be back to the safety of me old favourite wave, my arms are rooted, got so many waves, twelve people out but half of them were gaying out, bit like me on the right sometimes. Overheard this tosser going on about the reef and how shalla it was, geez it was high tide in the middle of springs, he didn’t last long, back to his room for some male action I reckon.

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Caught the biggest squid ever yesterday, it’s tube is 10mm thick, still bloody nice, we have had a couple of meals from it and still got half the tube and the flaps left, although I am coming round to not bothering with the flaps, chewy as. The new Thai jig is a winner, it just sends them off their heads, they don’t gin around or anything, just dart over and grab it and stuff it down their guts, you don’t really need to pull they do it to themselves, got to love them Thais. I would take a photo of one but then everyone would know, stuff that.

We have been back in the Bay for two weeks now and have spent some cash in the last few days, the freezer is chockers with fish, chumi chumi and lobster plus we have the dive bag hanging off the back with half a dozen crays in it, old mate Danny the fisherman came over and just for a look I checked out his catch, sitting on top were two three kilo filthy mangrove jacks, so we had to have those as well, cost like five bucks each, the Sandy’s went hunting the other day for hours and no result, pretty unusual as they usually do well, but they probably used five bucks in fuel. Last month we spent one million out here but we splurged in town for a week with food and fuel and going out on the town in good old Sibolga. Still this place is pretty good for curbing my money spending problems.

The Bay has turned on, there are four charter boats, one full of French hasslers and another five Canary Islanders, it is a bit of a nightmare but after being snaked twice and almost dropped in on I started my own campaign of revenge, in the end one of the them, called me a wave hog as I snaked him back, rode that wave with a big smile through to the end, that will learn him.

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Hooting waves, four to five foot for the last three days and off shore, it doesn’t get much better than this, lost a bit of bark on the right but considering what could have happened, I’m happy. Had so many filthy lefts that it is hard to remember the best ones, no injuries or aches and pains at the moment just the occasional hang over, usually when the Frog comes out. Had a beauty with Bailey from the Floating Surf Camp, he sunk his canoe and lost his paddle, sunglasses and shirt trying to go home, unbelievably he found his paddle in the morning fishing. Got to show him a technique for emptying his canoe, you just rock it side to side and in stuff all time it will be empty. That frog, I can’t find the last bottle but not really trying to hard.

Had a bit of a lull for a couple of days, Sandys have just come back from Sibolga, scored a carton of Bintang, some butter and some avacado’s so we are styling.

The whole anchorage went to The Gator for fish and rice and stuff, very good night, Hubert is a pretty good host, the boys from Valhalla had a ball, they are just about out of everything so it was good to see them hoovering up the last bits of flesh in the heads and bones of the fish which Rosie had cooked to perfection. Frederick, not Freddie anymore, supplied the tunes with his guitar and the place was rocking, Faezy was in hooting form, she had “shit on the liver” when they arrived but a bit of Jim Beam Black and she was on the attack. They have made a movie of us, I will try to add it to the blog if it is not to long.

Woke to the formidable thunder like crashing of waves at Gunters, which is where the locals came up with it’s name. The crowd was bearable so went out got three, the crowd came back from The Dream and then I got a rag doll flogging, blurr, then wore the next couple on the head, found myself up on the reef but floating along and it was time to bugger off out of there. Said to Hallas, “getting to old for this”, it was pretty bloody big, with some waves getting up there. Sitting on the boat I had jelly legs, last time I can remember having them was back in the motocross days after a big race at Manjimup.

Kicked back and read some more of this pretty average Michael Chrighton book, State of Fear, just wish it would end, have read a couple of rippers though, Thai Gold by Jason Schoonover is a goody and Rat Run by Gerald Seymour was a beauty.

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Went back out to the left in the arvo and had a ball, got a few rippers, as big as I have seen it, big long walls that had not a ripple on their faces. It was just three of us out as the charter boats are all at Treasures, Gosh rolled up and made it four, just terrible way to spend your afternoon, fully sick and frothing. Sereti rolled up and soon it was ten and time for a Bintang. The pulse was pretty much gone and they were left with smaller, fewer waves and a crowd, so good to be on the spot and suss the swells as they come and go, happens all the time.

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The anchorage is crowded with eight yachts in it, she is pretty well packed, the place is getting popular and the charter boats are also piled in here this morning, should have been here yesterday though, reminds me of a song, “wish they’d all go back to town, what do they expect to find, sure as hell ain’t peace of miiiind, deep water.”

The crew just asked what the date is, no idea, what day is it, no idea but when she asked what the tide was doing, high tide soon, shows our priorities as they stand, will need to do a burn off and get rid of the cans and bottles as well today, getting a bit messy around here.

The swell has died in the arse, got a few waves yesterday by myself, just so much more enjoyable with no crowd, you don’t seem to get as worn out when you have got the place to yourself. It is Sunday the twenty first of June by the way, The Sandy’s buggered off to Treasures, we went and made a couple of calls home and even got to send and receive emails and download the latest seven day forecast on Buoyweather, which is not that flash surf wise, might have to get the hooker out and try and shoot a fish. The Persians are getting ready to leave Thailand and reckon they will be here at the beginning of July, so by then we will need to do our visa extension, we pretty much lose ten days out of the sixty because of Ramahdan but that’s how it is. It will all work out in the end.

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Hit Treasures for a day but ended up going and checking out cobras and some other joint, Frederick got a couple of beauties, Hubert and I, kitted out in goggles, snorkel and flippers swam over to where the waves were breaking on the reef and as they approached we dived down and watched them roll over you, I have seen it on films but never really like this, it was siick.

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Anthony, a pilot from WA, was left in charge of Boomerang to get us home, fair few Bintangs and JD’s involved, he got us back with no problems and allowed us all a bit of a kip and that was another week down in The Banyaks.