Peter surfing the Banyaks
Back again to lovely Indonesia! It is but a short hop across the Malacca Strait from Langkawi to Sumatra, and we set off along with Mike, Matt and
Heather bound for Pulau We, the northernmost Indonesian island. A full moon guided our night passages and we had calm seas and smooth sailing.
Crossing the busy shipping lane is always a bit daunting, and now I understand how a hedgehog must feel as it approaches a motorway! Compared to a yacht
those things move fast.
The anchorage at Pulau We is a lovely spot for a quiet few days, surrounded by high jungle, with snorkelling opportunities straight off the boat, and
several places on shore to get a cold beer and some nasi. Here we were joined by Peter and Mathias.
Heading to the river to fill our water containers, Banyaks
From Pulau We we headed south to Simelue, and had 48 hours in a stunning bay on the NW coast before a huge swell came into the harbour and we made a quick
getaway. Fortunately the boys had a chance for some surf the day before, and we explored on shore. This whole island has been affected by numerous earthquakes and on the
west coast the land has risen so much that there is now a huge field of blackened coral pushed up a metre of 2 out of the sea and covered by grass.
Our anchor hadn't even touched the bottom in Sinabang before we head shouts of 'Dylaan' from the boys on shore - and soon a crowd of small children were paddling out
to welcome us back. As we walked through the small street on the way to town everyone stood outside their doors to greet us. It was lovely to be back in such a friendly, familiar place.
We rented out bikes and went out to the beach with our Indonesian friend Nanik to stay at her beach house. We gossiped over noodles while the boys surfed.
Dylan looking at fish and sharks in Sinabang market
Dylan's kayak is very popular!
Adult crocodile tracks and baby crocodiles have been spotted at some of the beaches here by many of our friends, so I was always a little wary when we paddled into shore.
However, I think the crocodiles are just as wary of us humans, and keep a very safe distance from us.
Getting ready for the waves
Our friends on yacht Lilly Bolero anchored with us here, and between the 2 boats there were about 16 people! So we had a big party for Dylan's 7th
birthday with a giant game of tug-of-war on the beach. We sailed on to Nias, Afulu Bay, which is a perfect harbour for rough weather and has a great beach break for the children to surf.
Mike and Mathias caught us plenty of fresh fish and we had a fancy dress party on Lilly Bolero for Kieran's birthday - on the same night as the lunar eclipse - magical!
At Asu the weather turned from glorious to obnoxious very rapidly - and the crew, the children and I decided to sleep on shore as the boat was pitching and rolling so much.
I felt bad for leaving Frans alone, for at 5am the mooring broke - Frans was keeping watch and was able to react immediately to avoid disaster, but as soon as it was light we all came back on
board and headed back to the safety of Afulu.
Motorcycle taxi, Simelue
Baby Sumatran elephant
While Frans spent a couple more weeks surfing in the Banyaks I took the children overland in Sumatra to visit the orangutans in Bukit Lawang. How
wonderful to see them swinging through the trees with babies on their backs. But how tragic to know that their habitats are still even now being destroyed.
Soon our visas were up and it was time to head back to Langkawi where we would leave the boat for a while and have some land time in New Zealand. Somehow
I don't think it will be our last visit to Indonesia, it is a place that keeps drawing you back. Sampai jumpa lagi!