S: We talked about it allot before we came out on this trip and we haven’t managed to do it at all, until now that is. What are we talking about? Windsurfing of course! Well, we didn’t quite manage to get the “wind” element involved but we sure got stuck into some surfing…
Batu Karas – A small town on the south coast of Java, and a burgeoning surfing hot spot, became our training ground for six days. Our Lonely Planet guide and a fellow traveller’s blog told us this was one of the best places in Java for beginners. It was an opportunity we simply couldn’t miss.
We took a eight hour minibus from our hostel in Yogyakarta to Java Cove, our surfers pad accommodation for the next six nights.
On day one we were introduced to our surfing instructor, Tupi, and our new best mate for the next few days. Tupi guaranteed that by the end of our first one hour lesson we would be able to stand on our boards. Expectations were raised and the pressure was on. Tupi demonstrated and talked us through the basics on dry land: how to get from a lying down position on the board to upright and surfing in the correct cool manner. We soon put our new found knowledge into play in the sea; and what were the results, I hear you ask? Tupi was right, after an hour of consuming sea water, feeling like a beached whale on a surf board and being heckled by the locals we were surfing. It’s a difficult skill to master and we are not calling ourselves professionals by any means, but you know what – I think we have the hang of it.
Defiant, day two we dared to do it all again. With grazed elbows and knees, bruised rib cages and aching arms we took to the sea with our surf boards. This time however we were largely on our own. On day one Tupi had been out in the sea pushing us out when the correct wave came along. With great words of advice and encouragement Tupi watched us from the beach side. Progress was made, slowly.
On Day three I decided my muscles couldn’t take any more battering and opted for a massage and day of rest. Richard however was in the sea when the waves were out, although not allot of waves were to be had as conditions were rather calm.
Day four is when disaster struck. After having gone out for a meal at one of the local Indonesian restaurants the night before, our stomachs did not react well to the traditional dishes we had consumed. Richard in particular suffered severe sickness throughout the night and was wiped out (pardon the surf pun) by the morning. The remainder of our stay was spent in recovery mode in our hotel room. It was a disappointing end to what had been an exciting start. Batu Karas is a somewhat unfortunate example of the highs and lows of our travels so far. The high of learning a new skill which you never thought you could come close to attempting. And the next minute it all judders to a halt due to the dubious delights of a local dish. Still, our mission was accomplished: next time we are on a beach, the conditions are suitable, and boards are available for hire, we will feel confident enough to get out there and try and catch some waves.
Apologies for the lack of photos. We were going to buy some photos from one of the local photographers who got some shots of us up on our boards. But on the last day when we tried to look for him he was no where to be found. We think he maybe sold the photos to Billabong, as we looked so amazing, made his millions from them, and has gone off to some paradise island in the Maldives. Look out for us in Billabongs next advertising campaign.
Day 169 we took a 10-hour minibus from Java Cove to Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city. We were welcomed to the capital with a thick grey sky followed by a thunderstorm. As Richard was still not back to his usual self, he spent a listless day in and around the hotel while I braved a much needed trip to the hairdressers. Thankfully I came out with still some hair on my head and the same colour as I went in, which isn’t bad considering the hairdresser didn’t speak a word of English.
Where is our next stop? Singapore…