Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Sumba December 2011

West Sumba

29th November

Surf coaching program with Alena, Artom, Anna and Andre with a few Bali warmup days.

Garuda flight from Tullamarine to Denpassar.  Arrive at 2.00pm and after meeting Alena at the airport a quick drive to Villa Cara on top of Jimbarin Bay Hill. Awesome view of Airport rights from the Villa.Still have time for a surf at Balangan. Only small quick clean lefts with a few guys out.Big family dinner tonight with Russian cuisine. Alena's sister Olga and her friend Anastasia are staying along with Artom.

30th November
Swell looks a touch bigger this morning so we surf Airport lefts. Wind is still offshore with 3-4ft inconsistent lefts. We surf for a couple of hours and I get fried by the sun.We have lunch back at the Villa and then I take Olga to Kuta for her first surf lesson. Olga gets up at her first attempt and is styling. We have borrowed a soft board from Endless Summer, a Russian Surf School owned by Andre, Anna and Dimma.We all have dinner at one of Bali's best Japanese restaurants called 'Take' in Kuta. 

1st December
Lazy morning then a quick trip to Ulu's. It is pretty small but we find a few waves up at temples. The arvo session is back at Kuta with Olga. Perfect 2ft lefts and Olga is sliding left across the wave face. Alena doesn't believe Olga when tells her what happened.
Dinner tonight at Sardines, one of Bali's top restaurants in Seminak. Surprise surprise the smoked sardines were excellent. Finished off the night with some good music and fun at the Champagne Bar.

2nd December
Flying to Sumba this morning from the domestic terminal. Only 55 minutes to West Sumba. The crew from the Nihiwatu Resort are there to pick us up.
We drive through the hills for an hour and it reminds me go the Bali Bukit from days gone by. The last half hour we drop down to the coast and the terrain becomes dryer.
All the homes look similar. On poles with corrugated iron roofs. The roofs have a tall hat like structure in the centre. Apparently the locals store their prize possessions there. There is always a cooking fire alight inside and usually a concrete tombstone in the front yard to bury the family.Down on the coast we arrive at Nihiwatu Resort and are greeted by Ernst, Ben and the team. We sort our rooms, have some lunch and wait until the tide drops a tad for a sunset surf.The resort is pretty special, only 10 surfers. It is set in 400 plus acres and is connected with the Sumba foundation.

3rd December
Up early for a boat ride around the corner to the hole. 3-4ft A Frames.  Only wind swell so pretty messy but the potential is obvious.Back in time for the hobbits second buffet breakfast.Plenty of snooze time in between three course lunch and dinner. We do manage a couple more surfs on the left at our front doorstep. 

4th December
Still small wind swell. Alena, Anna and I surf the left while the boys take the rubber Ducky to the hole. Nothing special in the way of waves but we did take a look at the local village that more African than Indonesian. Really hot weather and while these villages are better off because of the resort they are still really poor. Health issues must be a problem.
Back to Nihiwatu for a three course lunch pulls on the guilt string a tad.
Boys have crack on the Jet Ski while the rest of us just kick back. 

5th December
Up for our early surf as usual, still really small. Anna decides we all need to trek to the waterfall. After a mini Kokoda hike in really hot humid conditions we arrive at the water fall. We have had bets how high it would be, ranging from 3 to 8 meters. The falls are actually 93 meters and stunning to look at. We swim in the cold water to cool off and have lunch in front of the falls. Pretty spectacular. Long drive back but in time for a late surf. 

6th December
Ground hog day as far as waves go. After the early surf we take the speed boat out for some snorkelling on the coral reef. Plenty of fish around. Lazy arvo with a late surf. We have met an interesting character called Claus Bogh who heads up the malaria prevention program for the Sumba foundation here. He dispels some of the malaria myth and explains with a coordinated approach how to begin to eradicate this disease.  

7th December
Some swell this morning, squeaked a quick surf before the wind came up. Tried a right north of Nihiwatu that picked up more swell but pretty fat. The rubber ducky takes us there but the resorts surf guide, a WA lad called Ben takes us back on the Jet Ski. Not a bad long board wave. Back out in front before dark with an onshore wind. Some size but not much quality. The wave here works best on mid tide. An evening slide show of Nihiwatu, red bull snowboarding and a coaching video.  

8th December
Still some swell. Up before 6am as usual. The wind is offshore and waves are pretty good. The swell direction is important here, needs to have some south in it to line up OK.
Breakfast, the buffet breakfast bar has disappeared for some reason today. We must be eating too much. Still a choice of eggs pancakes etc and the Sumatran plunger coffee blend is the best. Road trip a right south of Nihiwatu. Cross shore and too small. Check out a cliff top village on the way home. Really cool. Lunch and then a surf at 3.43 pm. A little onshore but fun swell is picking up.

9th December
Good waves this morning finally Nihiwatu shows us her potential. Clean offshore waves with an occasional 5ft set. Tricky wave to surf certainly needs a SW swell so you don't get pinched on the end section.
We need to do all the last minute billing etc. Drinks, board and boat hire are all extra.
Pile into the Nihiwatu bus for the ride back to the airport. Need to stop at the antique store for Alena to pick up some world famous Sumba Ikat (specially woven and dyed material).
The west Sumba airport is being renovated from the tin shed it has been. Plane arrives at 4.15 and takes off 20 minutes later.

All in All a really different trip, we didn't get epic waves in Sumba in fact I think everything has to be exactly right for the surf - swell, swell direction, wind and tides but I really enjoyed the Sumba experience, such different place than any other I have visited in Indonesia.

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