Let’s see, where was I? Ah yes, Robert Wilson and the Bajo Baji were stuck in Savu, pinned there by strong easterly winds that prevented the good ship from reaching our designated pick-up spot of Kupang. The rest of the Toast Crew were in Bali strategizing bemos, boats and ojeks to get to Savu. The first beer crisis had been averted, but another would soon raise its foamy head.
While beer tops the list for any surf trip provisioning, it must be admitted that food comes a close second, especially the cuisine that the Bajo Baji is famous for.
Robert had not only planned in military detail the beer supply but also sauces and bread and coffee and pasta and cheese and fish and meats and vegetables and a seemingly endless supply of soybean burger patties for our resident surfing vegetarian, Steve “the Deve” Palmer who eschews all things slaughtered, and chews only things harvested.
Steve’s originally from the western suburbs of Sydney, and while I don’t know much about the western suburbs, I know enough to know that Steve would have fit like Westerly Windia in an army barracks. Actually, that’s a lousy comparison. Steve’s never had gender issues or confusion, that’s for sure. So, fit in like an organic tofu burger in a McDonalds? Fit in like a hyper-dimensional tesseract in Bob’s Auto Shop? The Deve’s always been in his own creative world – can we call it Steve’s World? — his mind fissioning with endless ideas. As Clayton put it on the trip, Steve’s brain is wired like a tangle of spaghetti, requiring a special liquid helium-type cooling (which is probably generated by his special mix of soybean burger). Come to think of it, Steve’s attention span resembles a hyper-dimensional tesseract, which is to say a small percentage of its bandwidth is dedicated to ordinary 3-dimensional stuff like talking to those around him, while most of his neurons are fissioning into hyper-space where only the brave crew of the Starship Enterprise have dared gone before. If he could, he would blend his neurons into the Cosmic Internet so that he would be eternally and internally on-line 24/7.
Remember when webbed surf gloves first came out? Who wears them these days? Steve does. I recall one trip we did to the Hinakos pre-earthquake days on the Bohemian (captained by Steve Bridge with the late great Charlie Harris on board as well). We pulled up to a solid 10 foot plus swell booming on the reef. Steve waxed up his board and slipped on his webbed gloves and charged. He says paddling bare-handed into waves is like paddling with drumsticks.
Steve was one of the founders and creative forces behind OM Clothing Company, about the first real big batik and garment exporter out of Indonesia. in 1980, OM sponsored Bali’s first pro contest, the OM Bali pro. Then he moved onto the Bali Quiksilver franchise with Ketut Kasih. He contributed Genius Mental Radiation to the original Tubes Bar. Surfer Girl, as well. Steve got up to lots of other things too, but Jeez, I could write a book about it, not a blog post.
At any rate, all these provisions were chilled and boxed in Styrofoam coolers, ready for our Garuda flight to Kupang and hence straight onto the Bajo Baji. Now we had to get the damn things to Savu. Robert re-sorted the provisions down to the essentials packed away in four boxes, one of them being Steve’s soybean burger patties, otherwise the poor fellow was going to starve away to bones on the trip. Somehow we’d have to keep this particular box chilled the entire way while traveling to Savu on bemos, boats and ojeks.