Bali Boat Trip with Sonja Hönscheid

a travelogue by Sonja Hönscheid

BALI, Indonesia – The 12th of February 2009 I got a call from my Sponsor Roxy: A Invitation to a Boatrip to the Eastern Islands of Indonesia on the Sailing ship “Sama Sama”. Just with Iballa Moreno, she is a Windsurf pro but a great surfer too and a handfull of girls...

The 12th of February 2009 I got a call from my Sponsor Roxy: A Invitation to a Boatrip to the Eastern Islands of Indonesia on the Sailing ship “Sama Sama”. Just with Iballa Moreno, she is a Windsurf pro but a great surfer too and a handfull of girls (Cathy, Miri, Karin, Lisa and Clara, they have planed this trip , great idea, thanks girls! Also a big thank you to Blue Tomato and specially to my sponsor Roxy). Our Route: Flores – Sumba – Savu – Roti – Timor I didn´t have to think twice, a long dream became true.

On the 11th of April we finally started our Journey…Iballa, the well known spanish photographer Mario Entero and me met at the London Airport to fly together to the other side of the world. At the counter, the shock: excess baggage! What was verlooked at the booking: Malasia Airways just allows 20 kg baggage.The wanted to charge us 60 dollar per kilo, Now we had to show all our tricks and acting skills, to get out of this one…After one hour negotiating and 1.600 bucks less in our pockets, we were finally ready totake off. London – Kuala Lumpur – Denpasar. 930 km/hour, light tailwinds, Indo, here we come! On the landing on Bali it was almost dark, just enough to see the spot “Airpots left/right” , but it was almost flat. The first Moskitos gave us the welcome flying hungry around us. When we had all our stuff together, “Maté” the driver from the “Balicamp” was waiting on the exit. He drove us safely through the absolute crazy traffic, to the camp and there we met the rest of the girls. Some of them already arrived a few weeks before to get used to the rhythms of indian ocean. In the evening we had some tasty Sushi, Bintag (local beer) and we went to bed early, to sleep off the jetlag. Our flight to Flores was going a day later than we thought. The next morning, the swell was tiny, so we could go for a little shopping tour without any bad conscience. That evening was the final meeting before our trip, everyone was so excited… The anouncement of cruising far away from any civilisation, lonely, in a area with deadly malaria, seasnakes, sharks, possibly pirates… was becoming an outrage reality. Wouldn´t there be those the oposite like amazing reefs, empty surfspots, long perfect indostyle lines…

14 April:

We flew with “Riau Air “ to Flores. I personally have to say, was extremly thankful
being back on the ground again. My fear of flying plus those completely dull wheels of that plane, almost made me kiss the floor. Iballa was faster and gave that big Komodo statue a kiss, that welcomed us after arriving.Komodos are the biggest reptiles in the world, very rare. Next to Flores is Komodo Island with a National Park, were a few from those huge lizards hang out. After organizing two caps – boardbags on the roof just got held down cool with one hand- they drove us to the harbour, were we already saw “Sama Sama” from far, our home for the next ten days. Klaus, the skipper, appeared in a Dingi just after a shortwhile to pick us up. Unfortunately no surf that day, the first closest spot was Sumba, the plan was to drive there in the night. The forecast looked promising so we all were pretty relaxed.The boatcrew consisted in Klaus our skipper, surfer, great cook and the three locals Luding, Wayang II and the Captain Wayang I alias “Ronaldiño”. Iballa nicknamed him because she was sure that he is a further relative to the Futball star. After a strengthening lunch with Klaus home-baked bread, we left to a close little island to do a bit of snorkeling. While the other girls jumped in the dinghy to the get a lift, Iballa and me jumped bravely into the sea. “That is so close, let´s go for a little swim”. The sea looked so calm but that was just a illusion… There was a heavy current, as we put our goggles we saw the unending deep blue under us. We started racing towards the island, out of breath we joined the others to enjoy the sealife we got offered: corals, fishes in all colours, blue starfishes, … I made my first contacts to the jellyfishes, which unfortunately got our constant companion on this trip. We anchored in a big bay, having dinner and waiting until midnight for the upcoming tide for our 12 hour journey to Sumba. Even brushing teeth on board was a amazing experience, surrounded by lights, from above the stars and the Plancton in the water, which with the smallest movement started shining. On my nightly walk to the toilet, for one moment my breath stopped…The boat was running, no one on the helm, the Captain sleeping next to it. I looked for a while thinking what to do, until I heard a: pieeeeppp! “the autopilot. Without words In the morning everyone was awake very early, excited to see the first waves.. Arriving at Sumba, de first spotcheck at Pero. Normally a long heavy left, but the swell wasn´t big enough. Two hours drive away, the next one and it was worth it: Wainyapu, a perfekt left, good size with a light sideoffshore wind. No human/surfer soul around, from the water a view on a huge palmtree forest, in between a little village. After a long session, we got back on board, hungry!!! Luckily Iballa caught a big tuna on the way before. New power and a weaponed with a new layer of suncream, we got back into the waves, which with the lowtide got much more hollow and fast. After another fun surf, Klaus showed us on a map all the spots still to come…Already the first sessions gave us the feeling that this is was going to be an unforgetable trip. The next day the swell got a bit smaller, we decided to visit the village while waiting for the water to go down. The dinghy drove us the hole way up to the beach, were the habitants of Wainyapu already were waiting for us. The most of them chewed on “betel nuts” what make them looked like they just downed a bottle of ketchup. Those nuts are true-color, they grow on the Areca palmtree, the chew it with siri and lime. Apparently it has an refreshing and stimulating effect. They showed they modest village composed by two or three sables with a few skinny chickens, an agressive bull and some big stunning graves. After our visit we jumped into the sea, the waves were small, but perfect…This time, we shared the waves with two locals from Nihiwatu, one of them explained “it´s just two hours on bike from here”. Next spot on our imaginary wish list was “God´s left” a private wave cause of the resort next to it. “But no problemo” Apparently yes, just getting close to, a well stuffed dinghy send us away….What a disapoinment, but Klaus promised even a much better spot. “Wainokaka” a right for a change, with some fast hollow sections… Iballa already had a big smile on her face. We paddled as fast as we could to the peak to catch some waves before it started to get dark, again on board, a few cups of freshwater over the head, Jellyfish bites and sunburned treated, we enjoyed the sunset in a peacefull mood. Still in a very deep sleep I heard Mario whispering “the surf´s up, it looks amazing” In a second we jumped out of bed in our bikinis, suncream shower, banana and go! Wave like out of a machine, amazing landscape of big palmtrees in the back, that´s indo! Iballa got the wave of the day with a sick tube, yehaaaaa!!!! Hours of surf later it changed from paradise to seewage feeling, as the tide got up we were floting in what the river spit to sea. Time to move on. “Tarimban” was next on the list. On the way there we took a one night brake in small bay with a noname wave, but nothing special that day. From one second to the other a big cloud built up and dumped big water right over us. Luding, Wayan I and Wayan II jumped on board, started to collect rainwater in big cans,put soap all over them and let the rain take it off. The normally more shy guys, started dancing and singing…Iballa and me didn´t think twice to take part at that washing orgy, I never had so much fun taking a shower! In the night just a little movement of the boat, predictet us what was waiting for us the next day.

18 April:

The swell droped, to rise our mood Klaus made us some pancakes for breakfast.
After that we started to Tarimbang. Another right, in the backround huge white rocks which made the place very special. The swell was pretty small but we decided to give it a try. While waxing the boards we saw a bigger set coming in. We surfed with one lonely japanise guy. he seamed to be quiet happy to have some company because he was grinning the whole time. I waited on the outside peak with Klaus, we were pretty lucky and cought a few bigger ones. The same day we went on to “Menkudu”, a small island in front of Sumba. We saw the waves already from far away and were prepared to jump of the boat as we got there. It was quiet difficult to catch a wave cause they seem to come from every direction, but realy good when you got one. Fast lefts. Iballa and me were sitting on the peak when we saw two fins coming towards us. We expected the worst until we saw that it were dolphins. Later it was a whole group jumping just in front, so close that they almost landet on us. It was such a great experience!

19 April:

The next night, captain “Ronaldiño” drove savely through the rough sea to Dana, another island next to Sumba. For the most of us was a sleeplees night, the boat was moving heavily until the dawn…From time to time dolphins jumped next to the boat, it looked like the accompanied us the whole way. Dana is a small desert island, sorrounded by white sand, turquoise clear water, with a huge cliff in the shape of a camel head and full of turtle shells. Klaus said it´s from the fisherman which sometimes come to the islands for a few days; it´s their favorite on the menue. After surfsession, Iballa, Luding and me went on a little fishing tour, for the barbecue at night on the island. After a while we almost gave up already but then finally we caught a “ medium size but big power” fish. We had to mobilize our last energy, but ist was worth it - it tasted really good.

20 April:

In the same night we went to “Savu” – a calm journey. When we had breakfast the next morning “Lambo” came by, a boat full of french surfer “boys” came by. Some of the guys jumped in and joined us. “By the way, je suis Patrice” - olala!! But no distraction, we still had a mission. In Savu we wanted to refill our stores (food, water, etc.) but the most important was to visit Franz Lackner, catholic priest. He is about 70 years old, 28 years leaving on Savu giving the local people development aid. Klaus sometimes stops there on his journeys to bring him money from donation collected by organisations like “ Rotary Club / Melburne” , “Balicamp” and “Surf Air”, he also brings him some tools, this time he got a pneumatic hammer for water supply. On top of all he also got a big fresh tuna. We listened to Franz interresting stories , he has many, many.. until it got so hot that we fleeing back to the “Sama Sama”. Today was no surf, too small, but Klaus decided to show us the spot there, which by the way is one of his favorites.We got to a little bay on both sides perfect reef, with a bit of imagination…. better not to think about it to much, I wished we could have surfed it…. Klaus baked us a chocolate cake, that way we got distracted. Shortly after it we had our personal “ Pirates of the caribean” in the Indian ozean. Some of our group went with the dinghy to the land. Just Mario, Iballa, Luding and me were left, relaxing on board. Then those two very strange guys on a small boat apeared-there was just missing the pirate flag with the skull on it. Mario didn´t think twice and had a survival plan: “ Iballa and Sonni if those come aboard, you call for help on radio set and I grab the big knife from the kitchen”. All of the suden they left when Mario took his huge camera lens out (to make some evidence pictures just in case), for sure thoes pirates mixed the lens up with a cannon barrel.

21 April:

It took us the whole night to get to “Roti”, apart from just a few flying fishes which jumped on board and tried to get off again, it was a quiet journey. That was our final destination so far, we probably were staying there until leaving, waiting for the redicted bigger swell to come in. I loved that place, a long left with some hollow sections. You couldn´t watch the wave for long without grabing automaticly your board and jump in to surf it. Here we surfed with quite a few people , but all very relaxed and friendly. Different nations and all ages, also a few vip´s like the owner of a world famous fast food chain. Most of them stayed in the island resort, little huts on the beach or privat holiday houses. it looked like a few of them know the wave that good that they would be able to surf it with the eyes closed. The waves very really amazing, I finally could use my 6´6 board. Our “motto” was: “Surfing, eating, sleeping and more surfing”…
In beetween some interchanges of cooking recipes. Iballa showed the guys how to make a real “tortilla española”. We also made friends with with some more sea species:
A corius seasnake tried to get a board, luckly she didn´t make it. I got in contact with a huge jellyfish – aauuuchhhhh!!!!- Iballa was laughting untill she got attacked to.

Our last session at Roti was so nice that it felt a bit hard to leave this place..
In the night we left to Timor were we had to catch the plane back to Bali on the next day. The next morning we had two diferent “tortillas” variations for breakfast, also a icecream, Klaus made it even more hard for us to leave. After saying goodbye we went to the airport. Just before our depature they changed the front wheel of the plane in front of us. I did not feel confident at all, but neongreen little piece of cake in the airlines lunchpackage put on my table after the start, changed my attention. After one and a half hours we were safe on the ground in Bali. Not much swell again, it wasn´t meaned to be. Anyway after all that surfing we were kind of exhaustet. Iballa and me went to “Bodyworks” a wellnes beauty oasis the next morning, we got a hour and a half thai massage, mani/pedicure, wellnes drinks… we got out like new. Then we had to pack for the next day to leave back home. We got bad news that one day after we left a surfer got attacked by a shark in Roti. Apart from that story, this boatrip was unforgettable for all of us, with some of the best waves I ever surfed. Perfection Indo- it could have been a little bit bigger on some days.

Maybe next time…

Aufkleber sce minimal Jeff Johannson

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