Friday, November 16, 2007


Siberut Island, Mentawai
Pulau Masokut
coordinates 01.49.615S,099.15.338E

You can definitely tell that we are nearing the equator again. When the sun is out it can be blazing above 90 degrees, the water a balmy 86 degrees. The monsoon season is about to begin as well though, so the majority of the days can be cloud covered and raining buckets. Our freshwater tanks are always full but nothing ever has the chance to dry out with the humidity. You can nearly watch the mold grow on the inside of the hatches and any utensil that considered rusting is letting loose now.
Electronic equipment such as computers and cameras are beginning to struggle as well but keep limping along while we baby them. The surroundings are beautiful if you have to sit/surf in the rain somewhere. We are having a wonderful time getting in our exercise before our chances for surfing are gone. Once we leave Indonesia they diminish greatly. The islands are thick with lush green palm trees surrounded by white sand beaches and turquoise waters. Being so remote we rarely see another vessel
shy of a few surf charters and local fishing boats.

We are slowly hopping our way up through the islands. Most of the islands and anchorages around here are actually known by their surf location name as given by charter captains. Mentawaian's actually has their own dialect as well separate from Bahasa, which makes communication even more challenging. Depending which map or guide book you look at the island or anchorage may have 2 or 3 different names. Southern and Northern Pagai, Sipora, and Siberut Islands are the main ones we have been hovering
around. The main islands are surrounded by hundreds of smaller, lesser named ones where we usually end up finding our anchorages. Thanks to some great charter boat captain's we have met out here, they have provided us with some great info and connections along the way. Since the most recent earthquake a month or two ago, the reefs and islands geography has changed as great as 1 to 3 feet depending on which side of the island you are standing. Quite amazing.

We spent a fun and wet Halloween in a place called Rag's or Teluk Pasangan just off of Southern Pagai, complete with carved watermelons and scary movies. The next couple of days we spent in a great location called Macaroni's, found off the west coast of Northern Pagai. Tristan had the opportunity to catch his last wave as an eleven year old and his first wave as a twelve year old with 20 of his closest australian surfer friends off a charter boat sharing the bay with us. Amazingly fun and supportive,
this crowd of surfers shall we say are of the more mature nature (i.e. pot bellies and pocket books), and let the little kid on the block drop in on them whenever he could. From there we headed up the way to Lance's Lefts, a surf break located off the town of Katiet, the main village on the southern peninsula of Sipura Island. We found a wonderful beach break there that everyone, including the locals on the bashed, beaten, often no tip boards were riding away. Great fun.
Bought a few carvings and on our way again.

Next stop was the town of Topejat. A major town by all standards out here. Complete with large supply ships and fuel. Good for us, since everyone was beginning to watch the fuel gauges bounce around the big E sign. Even better was a ton of wonderful produce. The only true excitement here was in the middle of the night, Ohana Kai's rudder managed to find a big beautiful SHALLOW coral bommie and crunch, took a bight out of the side we later discovered. Only about an 1/2" x 1" x 2". Once we reached
clear water in which we could dive and check it out we were able to place a patch on it and all's well. The guide books failed to mention that one.

Fast in and fast out and we were on our way towards the island of Siberut. A quick one night stop nestled between the islands of Pulau (Island) Karangmajat and Pulau Penanggalansabeu, also known as 4 Bob's. Before the rain hit, it was the picture perfect scene with a white sand beach arising out of the waters dotted with just a few palm trees. The deserted island you dream of. Every island surrounding us looks as though Max and his band of Wild Things could come parading out of the jungle at
any moment.

Finally we settled for a weeks worth of play near the island of Dodiki or Roniki depending on the chart and a surf break known as Burgerworld. Again we were able to hunt the coasts and find a beach break for everyone in the morning and when the wind was down, The big boy surfed Burgerworld in the afternoons. With only a few days left before we head to the mainland Sumatra, city of Padang to check out of the country, we are giving Pulau Masokut a quick try. The road less traveled has been serving
us well so far. Not sure if we are ready to head back on into the crazy city scene of Phuket and Thailand. Give us the chance though and we are sure we could find a road less traveled there as well.
until next time,
your crew on Ohana Kai

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Gunung Krakatoa Erupts!

Gunung Krakatoa
coordinates 06.08.551S,105.25.461E

Famous for being one if not the loudest recorded explosion in history, Gunung (Mount) Krakatoa blew itself nearly to extinction in 1883. Sending ash as far as Singapore and tsumami waves as far as Aden in the Red Sea in a mere 12 hours. A distance that great would take a steam ship 12 days. It is nestled between the islands of Java and Sumatra. In the caldera of the old volcano is a beautiful anchorage that allowed the Kelly's on s/v Moorea and us to anchor for a couple of nights and be treated
to one of the worlds true wonders. After a tumultuous sail in which we blew out both our spinnaker halyard and the webbing to our head sail, we limped our way into the anchorage at sunset and managed to anchor in the dark. Something we try not to do often especially in such unfamiliar and uncharted territory. The currents and winds were so strange in this setting that both vessels put out bow and stern anchors and still had to raft up together to make sure we didn't bump each other unintentionally
at night. As we did enter the bay that evening we could see Anak Krakatoa, or the child of Krakatoa in Indonesian. It is a second volcano that has grown up two miles away in the shadow of it's father. A classic looking volcano if ever there was one complete with the open crater on top, though rather quiet and dormant we heard for the last few years.

We awoke the next morning to check out our new surrounding in day light. The plan was to repair our new projects and possibly take a hike up the volcano, which our guide books say, "An average overweight cruiser could do in just over an hour". We were in. Plans change though, and just as Bruce entered the cockpit of the boat for that morning stretch, Kaboom! Anak Krakatoa erupted a new crater right out it's southern side. We grabbed cameras and video's to try to capture the event. We were stunned.
Unbelievably, we watched as rock, ash and lava shot hundreds of feet into the air, creating majestic mushroom clouds, sending boulders to the sea and slides of earth down it's sides. The sounds would echo in our chests and eardrums. Simply amazing. After that initial explosion, it continued throughout the entire day on regular intervals sending plumes of smoke into the sky and the occasional land slide to the sea. It certainly kept us entertained as we tried to focus and finish the work we needed
to do. That night we all had dinner together and were pleasantly surprised again to get a continued show with eruptions of red lava up into the dark night sky. If that wasn't enough, Mother Nature added a lightning show for the Grand Finale. With all the lightning and storms came rain which we tried to capture. I suppose we shouldn't have been surprised when we tasted it only to find it to be acid rain. The taste was terrible and it would take the varnish off the table if you let a drop sit
too long.

Though we could have sat there and been mesmerized by the display for days, our projects were completed and it was time to head on down the road. In hindsight, how blessed that it blew when it did. We were fortunate in many ways with this stop. If it had delayed itself by even a few hours we would have been hiking up it and had a much more close and personal look that we would have liked. How wonderful to have the opportunity to witness such and event.
until next time,
your Ohana Kai crew

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Bali and beyond

October 16, 2007
Bali, Indonesia
coordinates 08.44.726S,115.12.611E

We are departing Bali after a fun and fruitful stay in the marina at Benoa Harbor. To begin with, the entrance heading down the channel to reach the marina was almost more fun than we could handle. After nearly 6 weeks out in the more remote islands without so much more than the sight of a small fishing boat we were thrown into sensory overload. Surrounded by a dozen para-sailers floating above our heads, throw in 6 of the strangest looking air mattresses on steroids that hold 2 passengers wearing
helmets and at high speeds behind a boat and actually float 20 feet or more in the air. Add a few jet skiis, a touch or two of banana float riders and an occasional elderly man fishing in a traditional outrigger all together in a rather narrow channel and you have the perfect recipe for marine madness. It got our attention as we tried to anchor somewhere between the tugboats and the container ships that also share the water way.

The following day we found a spot in the marina which we have to say is run the by the most friendly and professional staff we have EVER had the pleasure of meeting! We got in contact with our friends Frank, Jeni and Abby from s/v Sea Kardinal who now live in Bali while they, as architects, are busy building a traditional wooden 140 foot sail boat for a customer up in Kalimantan. Stunning! They are enjoying life on land for the first time in 20 years in a lovely Balinese home just up the road
in Sanur. We got the hang of life back on the dock ourselves and immediately out came the boys scooters and they were off. Within walking distance were some family run warung (Indonesian eatery) and for about 7-8 USD you can stuff a family of four with all the food and drinks you can handle.

The two weeks were filled with practicing our language skills shopping, cleaning and repairing all of our boating needs. Kuta, the nearest town and site of the Bali bombings was a wonderful place to shop for trinkets and goodies as long as you are prepared to fend off the strongest of hawkers and willing to play the bargaining game. Simply making eye contact or touching an item is nearly an acceptance to purchase around here. Where we might consider it rude to ignore someone at home it is merely
an essential survival tactic out here. We toured Bali with Nyomen, friend and cook of the Sea Kardinal household. He patiently showed us the sight, sounds, smells and tastes of Bali of which there are many. From dormant volcanos, elaborate temples, acres of green rice fields and hot springs, to fascinating traditional legong dances, forests of monkeys and coffee tasting, I believe we covered it all. We can never get enough of local open air markets and are still finding new foods. The boys had
a day of riding elephants with Abby and we enjoyed a delicious traditional meal cooked by Nyomen at the Sea Kardinal home. A very special treat.

Last but not least we extended our visa's for another 30 days. Murphy's law, as always, works it's magic when it sees the opportunity. You may only extend the visa one week before it expires. That week happened to coincide with the final week of Ramadan or Idul Fitri for us. Of course that meant that all the offices and powers that be would be closed and unavailable that one week. They wouldn't complete it earlier but if we waited we would be penalized for doing it too late. Rock and a Hard
Place = $. Luckily for us, Jeni and Frank already have some great contacts who "knew someone" that for the right price got the paperwork done in a day. In the country full of smiles money will still get you farther and faster than a hand shake.

As much as one can find a way to grease the wheel around here you can also find the equally honest and hard working people. Asis was one such man. He leaves his family behind on the island of Flores to come to the marina to find work and make money to send home to them for 5 months out of the year. For 100,000 rupiah, approximately $10, he will work diligently on your boat for 8 hours straight in the blazing heat, barely stopping for lunch. He was a dear sweet man who was anxious to get home
to see his new 2 month old son for the first time. If we ever make it back to Flores, we have a friend waiting.
Though there was so much more to see and do in Bali we only have 30 more days to make our way though the end of this alluring country. So off to Java and Sumatra.
until next time,
your Ohana Kai crew