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A Day In The Life Of Banana Island

First, apologies on the meager array of photos. We have so many photos two share, but uploading takes much more significant broadband power, and as we say “it just ain’t happenin” in these parts.


Why pass up an opportunity to get on a boat and go to Palau Pisang? It literally translates to “Banana Island”. Our first day in sumatra, as we were on the bus, we spotted a beautiful island not too far away, and set our sights on getting there at some point in our journey.


So, one evening at dinner, some fellow South African surfers were talking about hiring a boat to spend the day on the island. Yippee! We jumped on the chance. The four of us arranged to get up at 5:30am, and hit the road on our motorbikes as soon as we could get moving and head to the nearest harbor, about 30 minutes away, to see about hiring a boat for the day. We arrive at the tiny harbor, completely clueless on where to begin and quickly have a swarm of people around us, trying to figure out what we are doing there. After some inquiring, a guy leaves on his motorbike, and comes back with a woman who is very helpful in arranging a boat. After settling on a price, we head out into the ocean on a very small, but quite impressive craft. Its is only wide enough for two people to sit side by side, with bamboo outriggers, and a small outboard motor, but somehow actually seems seaworthy.

After about an hour, we are dropped off on a white sandy beach backed by a small village. It was unusually quiet, mostly due to the fact that there were, what appeared to be, only a couple of motorbikes on the island, and most people were walking or riding bicycles. Ah, moments of silence in Indonesia! But, you’re never alone, and we quickly had a pack of kids following us. This being the fourth most populated nation on earth, solitude is a rarity.
Case and Justin, the South Africans, were keen to check out the surf, but it was racetrack fast, big and looked like a sure pounding for us intermediate surfers. While they took a beating, we cruised the island and found some excellent snorkeling spots with plenty of fish and beautful live coral. And we are always up for some underwater glamour shots:
Not knowing really what to expect, we hoped that there would be at least one warung (basic restaurant) on the island. After walking around and following rudimentary directions involving lots of pointing and smiling, we find a small store, but no warung. The store is fairly well stocked with instant noodle packets, so we ask the woman if she can boil up some water for noodles. She agrees, and we sit at the long table on the porch, very hungry by this time. The woman comes back out and starts talking and pointing to me. She clearly wants my help in the kitchen, so I follow her through her house, past a couple of sleeping children, back to the dark kitchen. She either wants me to cook it all, or she is giving me a cooking lesson on how to make instant noodles. I really can’t determine, but I smile, laugh, and try to follow her orders. She laughs at me the whole time. Shy travelers beware, Indonesia forces you to interact with people, regardless of your comfort level!
We have settled in to a very lovely losmen (see photo above) owned by a local family who takes very good care of us. Every morning, they pull our motorbike out for use. The meals are amazing, usually consisting of fresh fish or chicken, rice and vegetables and local specialties. We did have spaghetti bolognese one night, which was delicious, and made Chris, the ultimate pasta eater, very happy. Our daily room and meals for $18 a person includes up to four cups of (strong Sumatran) coffee or tea a day, which keeps this coffee drinking Oregonian pretty content!

Feliz Navidad!

Buenos Dias! We’ve decided skip a month of using our Telcel USB modem to save a little money, so, short post it is, but I’ve included lots o’ photos.

We have refrigeration! After Todos Santos, we headed to San Jose del Cabo to see if Wahoo RV could take a look at our refrigerator. Master refrigeration guy, Chuck Schmuck (yeah, really, that is his name) saved our butts and got us up and going.

Thanks to the Internet, we had been following a south swell that was expected to reach the East Cape within a few days. We hadn’t expected to surf on the East Cape at all on this trip, as it typically only works in the summer, when the South Pacific (like, real south – Antarctica) generates storms that send waves our way. So, crossing our fingers, praying to Neptune and thinking good thoughts, we headed to Nine Palms, on the East Cape. What we found was beautiful, pristine beaches, blue-green water and yes – some fun waves. However, the curse of surf forecasting and technology also brought more surfers into the line-up – 18 people one morning.

Melanie and Lawrence Fisher met up with us and we continued on to Cabo Pulmo. Cabo Pulmo is the only coral reef in western North America and is a designated Mexican National Park. As luck would have it, richter level winds blew while we were there, making the ocean look like the north Atlantic. While we got waves at Nine Palms, we missed out on snorkeling at Cabo Pulmo.

Los Barriles was our next stop, to say hi to our friend Todd, who is a mountain bike guide for Vela Windsports (irony, as you might know our stance on wind). Barriles was by far the most gringo town we have been in so far, but the company was great, the food was fabulous, and Chris got to go mountain biking with Todd and check out the trails in the area. We’ve had a great time with Mel and La, sharing travel stories, taking photos of every meal (Mel takes a photo of every meal while traveling), and drinking happy hour margaritas. However, we are so ready to get the hell outta Dodge and get back to the empty beaches and waves. This civilization stuff is too much for us!

Feliz Navidad!

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