Friday, October 24, 2008

Goin to Indo

We left the paradise that was Alacrity in the Hermit Islands, and did the 250 miles to Vanimo on the mainland so fast that we shaved a whole day of our projected travel time. Favorable currents are heaven. Vanimo was our last stop in PNG. We left about an hour ago.

We didn't plan to stay long in Vanimo. It was just a needed stop to check out of this country, and to visit the Indo consulate for the last of our paperwork for the next country. Then I discovered surf.

The first 2 days it was just a little right hander a short dinghy drive from the anchorage. As soon as the pikininis on the beach saw Suzi drop me off from the dink, they all paddled out. You should have seen what they paddled. Scraps of wood no bigger than a carving board. Most had rough edges and others weren't even rounded. The oldest boy surfed a door. No kidding. A door. I asked one little boy why he didn't have a "board". "I do. It's there." He pointed to the sea floor and sure enough, lying on the reef was his piece of plywood. It didn't even float. He dove down to retrieve it when the wave came. Here's the part where I have to embarrass myself - they were all better than I! I've come to the conclusion that it takes little talent for a surfer to surf on a surf board. The talent is catching a wave and riding it on a square scrap of waterlogged plywood. Little Dui caught long rides on his plank of wood. He did his best gangsta stance with his knees unbent, arms crossed, and his bottom lip puffed out in a solemn pout. He's 6 and like most of the others, surfs completely naked. They spoke little English except, "You go, you go! No, you go". They weren't afraid, just overly generous. You won't find that in CA. There were 2 dangerous rocks that a non local would never be aware of. They know this, and on their own initiative posted a pikinini to stand on each one. They were dry from the knees up and took turns guarding me from danger. From their vantage point they could see the sets coming in better than I could. "Tripela" means big, and "Liklik" means small. I couldn't understand anything else except, "Chuck Norris" and "American Ninja". They weren't the best waves, they weren't the biggest waves, but the pure joy of surfing was better exemplified here, than anywhere I've ever been.

Then I found out where the big boys surf. The point on the other side of the bay is world class; left handers on the east side and right handers on the west, with a Japanese WW2 wreck lying on the reef, right in the middle. Quicksilver is holding an international tournament there next year. We took the bus and spent the afternoon. I stayed out there so long my shoulders were killing me the next day. I had no business going back, but of course I did. It hurts to type, but god it was good.

As we were leaving the locals gave us bags of fruit. "Come, enjoy our waves, and please, take some food with you." I've never met people better than the Melanesians. Please seek them out, and be kind to them. I'm saddened to leave this fantastic country, but this trip only seems to get better, so Indo - here we come!

Capt Bob

P.S. / Back in Guadalcanal (when we had internet) our buddy boaters; Emelia researched Jayapura, the city we are now heading to. They spotted a KFC in a pic of the city. It was confirmed for us in Vanimo - Jayapura has a KFC. O god I miss fast food. It's only a 35 mile sail. We'll be eating out of a bucket tonight.

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