Dale and I having breakfast together in Sanur, Bali this year.
This is a post about what I did in my holidays.
I need to start this story with what happened forty years ago.
In 1979 I was a student at Rosny Matriculation College in Hobart. It is now just called Rosny College. I was in my second year. One of the subjects I chose to study was Australian History. Sounds like a recipe for success no? It was, but not the success I had planned. I passed the subject easy. It was as boring as batshit. For the young me not much of any great interest had happened since us Euros arrived, and it did not include aboriginal history, which was already emerging as very interesting to me.
Instead of attending classes I went to the beach with my friends. Regularly. I learned to surf. And I learnt to love and respect the ocean, and this situation has never dissipated to this day. Two of those friends I have surfed with ever since. Pete and Dale. We surfed a lot. We went on some surf trip adventures in our early twenties. We had fun, heaps of healthy fun. As life grew ever more complex surf trips became opportunities to catch up and have a surf together. Our relationships with each other, and the ocean, grew and changed with the seasons of life.
Now here we are forty years later. Time revealed that it was time to do another surf trip together. Time to see what we could do together. Time to take our long relationships a bit further. A risky thing to do, physically and emotionally.
Dale and I reading the morning paper in Cowes, Phillip Island, Australia in 1986.
Pete decided we should go to Lombok in Indonesia. We agreed. I sold some stuff to pay for the ticket. We got on a plane with carefully wrapped surfboards, boardshorts which we never wear in Tasmania, some faith in one another, and not much else.
In Lombok at Ekasbreaks.
Somehow, somewhere along the planning route some of our sons had become involved. This meant that we had Dale’s eldest son Ben with us. We had my son Elliot, who loves his surfing, staying home to concentrate on his final year design studies at the University of Tasmania, and we had Pete’s youngest son Sam meeting us in Lombok. Beautiful what starts to happen when we chose a big adventure.
Pete and I doing Mexican in Kuta, Lombok.
After landing we negotiated the the crowded chaos of Denpasar together. We surfed at Canggu and at Bingin. We discussed who would have what room, and we reminded one another to relax. It was hot in Bali. It was starting to get cold in Tasmania. It was a bit crazy. It was good.
We caught a plane to Lombok, and took some pretty bad roads to Ekasbreaks in the Southeast. We met Eka himself.
Dale and Ben, on our way to Inside Ekas.
Arriving at Jawbone, Bruny Island, Tasmania in 1985.
There is Inside Ekas and Outside Ekas. At Inside there was a softish left-hand peak on a deeper reef with about thirty local and international surfers enjoying the gentle waves. At Outside there was usually nobody, according to the locals. We surfed Inside in the morning for two hours, and then went to Outside. There we got onto some challenging, and very exciting waves. Almost too exciting. This is one of the reasons we came. We were having fun, some serious fun. A big bomb set came at the end of our session and washed me a long way over the reef on the inside of the break, and broke Pete’s board in two. He was not so happy. We struggled together back to our boat after it became clear that the Lombok captain was not concerned by Australian surf zone emergency signals.
Late that day Pete’s son Sam arrived. On the way, in the dark, his little bus had run over a reticulated python which stretched across the road, and then some, like a speed hump. “He’ll be alright” the driver had said “They are tough”. Not only are they tough, they have been known to swallow the small statured Lombok natives whole.
Inside Ekas, Lombok.
We moved camp to Grupuk which is further to the west on the south coast, as was our plan. Here we stayed at Bruce’s Hideout, the business of Bruce, a US expat with an Indonesian family, and a long history of surfing around the globe. His hideout was magnificent, and overlooked a bay chock full of surfbreaks. Heaven, with warm water. We got some more relaxed surfing done. And some good eating at the local warungs and restaurants. We were learning to travel with one another all over again. We were soaking in the sea, in the adventure and the golden moments of deep friendship.
The surfbreaks at Grupuk Bay. (We renamed Kiddies “Dale’s”.)
Dale on a wave at Outside Right, Grupuk, Lombok.
From Grupuk Sam left us, and we travelled over the island to Pamenang to catch a small boat to Gili Meno. This is a small flat coral atoll with a lagoon in it’s middle set up for visitors needing a quiet time. Perfect to finish our stay on Lombok. Cool plunge pool outside a substantial villa at a noticeably reasonable price. The business is run by a local family. We went snorkelling with turtles and pretty fish, we cruised around in the heat. There are no internal combustion powered vehicles on Gili Meno. Very relaxing, hot and peacefulish.
Pete with his son Sam.
Our taxi on Gili Meno.
After three more days we left our atoll and caught the inter island ferry back across the Wallace Line https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallace_Line and berthed nose first into the pier at Padangbai right as the sun had set. Both Lombok and Bali are huge volcanoes that have spewed out an island around them. As we approached Padangbai, with the sun setting, we could see the massive cone of Mount Agung sitting up well above the rest of the lands. The same happened from many views on Lombok, there it is Mount Rinjani. After stepping from the edging of the ferry onto the thin ledge of the edge of the pier we rescued our luggage and boards and were picked up by our preferred driver and back we went in the dark to Sanur where we had started.
Back in Tasmania the sea water temperature had dropped off a cliff, as it does sometime mid-May every year. It was good to be home, and it had been good to travel, an important journey complete, and stories to tell.
The view from Bruce’s Hideout.
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