And then we came to the end…(plus, why the green surf hat)

green hat

The old adage says that if you wear booties and surf-hats in the line-up, you’re a kook. The booties mean you don’t have the self-confidence and skill to avoid the reef. The hat means you just look goofy.

Me, I don’t care. One of the best surf products ever was the Rip Curl Bali Bootie. On many trips with low tide sharp reef-walking, they saved my sole. As for the hat, why on earth would I want to paste an inch of sunblock on my bald pate?

for Bill 12

Above: Lances, pre-crowds and pre-hat days — you can just make out ye old spreading bald spot

As for the green hat, well, even though there’s a myth that one doesn’t wear the color green in Indonesian waters as it provokes the goddess of the sea, that’s the hat I wear. Neon green is a terrific search and rescue color. In years past I did many a solo boat trip on the Hati Murnih to remote reefs with lots of current. I’d been in enough situations where I lost my board and where I needed the dinghy/chase boat to find me real quick. So I asked my wife to make the green hat. (She made me a couple dozen, actually, so I’ll probably come to the end of my life before I come to the end of the hats). That color really stands out when you’ve lost your board and the current’s taking you toward Antarctica. It works. It’s saved me from either real long swims or joining the lost at sea statistics.


Above: One of those remote offshore current-y places

denda hm

Above: Hati Murnih I

ye olde hati murnih crop

Above: Hati Murnih II

One time I lost my board and my hat. The driver at the time, let’s call him Mr. X, a gentle soul with approximately a single working neuron, spotted the loose hat in the churning foam and risked the dinghy to save the hat, which did not have me attached to it, while I was madly waving my arms in the current, trying to get noticed.

ashmore crew

Above: Crew of the Hati Murnih II, pirate Skipper Taone, cool engineer Komen and dinghy driver (not Mr. X!), chef and all-around good guy Salim

Any rate. This blog has been quiet for a few weeks and will be quiet for a few more as I am off on a boat trip to Eastern Islands with some friends of old on the Bajo Baji. This next swell will be very large. A year ago I’d be eagerly frothing at the mouth while anxiously biting my fingernails, but this time I’ll just be watching. Shoulder tendons take their own damn time to heal.


And frankly, I think we’re coming to the end of this blog. An old dog can do only so many tricks and tell only so many tales.

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7 Responses to And then we came to the end…(plus, why the green surf hat)

  1. mr linggis says:

    about time you’re back!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Have a great trip. Hope you’re back in the water sooner than later. I’ve enjoyed your stories immensely and will miss reading about the early years of discovery in the islands. Thanks for the observations and commentary. See you at an outer reef near you in the off season. Cheers Frank

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good luck in your adventures mate. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your articles. I’ll look out for the green hat next time I’m in Bali.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Good writing style.

  5. Roger says:

    Hey old timer! (I’m 57 so I Can call you that). Don’t end the blog. There are still some of us who read and enjoy it! Roger. South Africa. PS My hat is bigger than yours.

  6. pete says:

    I love your blogs… old times, modern times… a good perspective

  7. Anonymous says:

    That crocodile story was the epiphany of your career.

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