Travel Blog

Sun sets behind a surfer Surf Travel

The wild, wild West (Java)

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A typical wave on a normal day in West Java. Short and sharp right, long and fast left.

Images shot with an old Nikon FE2, a 28/2, 50/1.8, 400/5.6, and Fiji xtra 400 film. The system worked well, the metering was spot on and if it had of walked, it is all pretty cheap to replace.

Having an understanding wife is a big positive. When she said it was time I took a boy’s surf trip, I jumped at the chance. Simple: eat, surf, sleep, then repeat, in any order you desire. The obvious location once again for me in Indonesia, where you get the most bang for your buck, the surf is amazing, the locals extremely welcoming, and where crime seems to be generally lacking, especially if you travel smart, leave the bling at home, and act in a respectful manner.

So here we are, arrival in Jakarta, luggage and two boards a piece, me and buddy Kenneth are once again picked up by surf guide Ivan. He knows Java like the back of his hand so it is great to be back.

This trip we were to visit a break I witnessed previously but did not surf, when I was with the family. It was a glorious location, and with a good swell running the waves looked great, say 3-5 foot, with a few shifty bombs coming thru. The second location about 8 hours drive away is a far more popular place, especially with local tourists. The surf though is untouched, 300 meter long rides are possible, and the crowd factor? Say 4 people in the water on the busiest day. A nice surprise on the last day and on the last wave, we had a visitor, in the form of a nine foot shark, popping up not 30 feet away.

A couple of thing I would do differently next time:

Camp on the beach

Bring a fishing rod and lures, the reef looks very fishable and the reef inlets would allow you to get very close to the channels and the incoming or outgoing water flow.

Bring a short arm, short leg wetsuit, the water is really chilly.

Also in the spirit of exploration and respect to other surfers, I have not named locations.

imageLocal fishermen with a sense of humor. The boat behind is an old truck tire tied together. Men float on top and look into the water and hook up cuttlefish, octopus and fish. Simple, ingenious and effective.

 

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A closer look at the flotation device. It even has a bit of rocker which would help it get off and on to the reef, cool.

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Old growth trees on the edge of the reef. Many of them close to the beach’s edge had fallen over, perhaps due to increased salt in the water table, global warming? The jungle and trees completed the beauty. Some of them stood maybe 100 feet high at a guess.

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Monkeys came out towards dusk.

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A typical fisherfolk temporary village. Every time they sat down for food we were invited to join. Simple life and kind people.

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Enjoying some down time.

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A local forages for seaweed growing on the reef to make a humble living. If I understood correctly it is to be used for coloring for clothing. Next time I come across ‘organic clothing using seaweed extract coloring’ I will defiantly say no. The reef seemed to have been stripped bare of all the weed and great parts of it seems to be dead. Organic natural products sound grand but in this case I think not.

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The reef giveth and man taketh, and taketh and taketh.

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A local holds a sea turtle captured after finding itself stranded on the reef. Destined for the market.

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Shells collected to be sold for decorative purposes. It would be great to educate buyers not to purchase them. If there is no market then the creatures would remain in the ocean.

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Incoming tide begins to fill in the reef. Speaking to villager Sonny, who had a reasonable grasp of English and an enjoyment of the local brew told us the village had been spared the recent tsunamis. His reckoning is that the area contained strong magic.

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No idea how a plant can grow on a reef hundreds of feet from the beach. In a high tide the sea water must be at least a foot high.

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A random beach on the drive to the second location. Looks big and heavy.

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Second location typical Indo set up, with no one out. How good is life here! The wave was a little slower and would line up for a long, long ride.

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A beautiful and clear evening as the sun goes down. Some of the nicest light must be minutes after the sun has dipped below the horizon.

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A local tourist attempts to drive his scooter on the beach, near by a volleyball net. Always smiling and friendly, the travelers from nearby cities are always looking for a selfie with foreigners. Makes you feel like a rockstar.

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Beach volleyball, nice way to wind down for the evening as the sun sets.

Great place, waves and people. Better start on the housework to ensure a trip next year.

That’s it and thanks for reading.

All images (c) Antony Dickson and may not be reproduced without permission.