No Fear and Unloathing trip, Part 5: Ashmore Reef to Savu Island

(Part 1 here)

(Part 2 here)

(Part 3 here)

(Part 4 here)

Before we get to the travelogue, I’d like to spotlight a recent Surfline feature, Gerry Lopez commenting on his most favorite wave in the world, G’Land. You know, I was in the same general area as Lopez in 70s but I never set eyes upon the Lord of The Bukit, probably because I wasn’t surfing the same waves he was. He was the prince of heavy water, and me, having not even seen a surfboard until I was in my teens, I was still mastering the beach breaks, venturing out to Kuta Reef (where I did get to know Mike Boyem). But Lopez’s aura was everywhere. Anyway, pictures of G’land have been printed and posted in their tens of thousands, and millions of words printed and pixelated, but listening to Lopez narrate on how it was and how it is today, you (or at least, surfers of certain age) realize something. It’s partly Old People Nostalgia For How It Was syndrome, but there’s also a fundamental difference. And that is, the adventuring into the unknown only comes around once, can only come around once, for those who want to seize the opportunity. Lopez and other surfers of the era were the fortunate sons to be at the right place at the right time. Most surfers under thirty don’t know what that feeling is like: even if you are surfing a remote spot to yourself (and thanks to surf resorts, where is there even a remote spot anymore?) you just don’t know when a charter boat will come up over the horizon or a convoy appear over the hills. The unknown is known and charted, the creature is comforted, the adventuring is booked in advance.

ashmore to savu

So. From Ashmore we motored the 120 or so nautical miles to Savu, to see what we could see. The pictures below are taken from other times but gives a general idea of some of what small Indo boat motoring is like. Bedding drying after evening rainstorms, butterflied bottom fish salted and drying.

bedding on deck

drying fish

Remember that sailfish we sort of accidentally caught at Ashmore? It was a waste to throw the carcass away, so the crew fileted it into strips, which they sundried. No matter where they hung those strips, upwind or down or on top, we sailed along in our own little bubble of fish stink. The trip to Savu will forever be associated with the scent of drying fish.

We already knew about breaks in Savu, because we’d been there before. We were chasing the Mystical Wave and I will say this: It is both a hoax and not a hoax. The Wave of The Legend – and we’d seen it big several times – looks mighty and awesome – and is unsurfable, with sections bound to catch you like a hopeless prey and toss you onto the teeth of the reef. At least the times we’ve seen it. Maybe it does get good when all things are in alignment. After all, the rumor was that Micky Dora was living on the island, surfing the Mystical Wave (a jesting rumor, but who knew for sure, for this was Da Cat).

The not hoax bit? Well, there are waves in the area, and I’m not giving anything away, because this is an Indonesian island exposed to the Indian Ocean, how could there not be waves?


Note from your blog correspondent as author: Many thanks to reader Stella for her review on Amazon of Bones of the Dark Moon. Thanks, Stella, the stoke is like getting a good set wave. If you have an Amazon account, it’d be very much appreciated if you could take a minute to write a brief review of the book and post it. You can post your review here: scroll down and look for the click button that says “write a customer review”.

The 50th anniversary of the 1965 mass murders is coming up next year, and reviews greatly help in getting the novel noticed in western countries. )

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