Digiboat's "Product Testing"
Simon Blundell
Fri 8 Jun 2012 05:43
00:34.3662N 097:44.0969E
8/6 1130
A good night's sail from Banyak to N Nias through the full moon night with 12-14kn breeze just aft abeam. Once we arrived at N tip of Nias the wind dropped and got confused, so a slow motor from there to arrive at sunrise at the Hinako group of islands half way down the W side of Nias.Surf not looking encouraging as we motor close past some and through some others (literally "through" according to the charts which show us firmly on land in many places!). Dropped anchor in the lee adjacent to what appears the only village in sight. While a sortie was launched in the duck to check out all visible breaking waves, the boys went ashore and stocked up on their Oreos.
Report from scouting group was no surf, so we upped anchor and continued S to the famous Nias break. Motor sailing down the last half of Nias in stormy, windy, choppy conditions to arrive off the Nias break an hour or so before sunset. As the charts seem about 500-800 metres out in this part of the world, we couldn't rely on them to navigate through the heads and into the bay area behind, and conditions were to rough to launch the duck and use it to sound a safe passage in. With not much light left in the day, we decided to continue for another hour or so around to what appears to be a small Port. Again the charts were out about 800m, but did show a leading light and recommended bearing. So under darkness, although with some help from the veiled full moon, and much help from the radar, we aimed at the light on the correct bearing, using the radar to dodge anchored boats and found a nice depth and threw the anchor over just as we were hit by a squall.
A good night's sleep in the calmest conditions we'd had since Sabang. 5am started the engines and headed back around to the surf in time for sunrise. Smoother conditions made reccy by duck easy and a safe passage was found in to anchor in 16m of water just clear of the break. The guys jumped over board and paddled over into prime position to drop in on the surprised locals. The local mafia representative - Hash - took no time to come and make his presence known and encourage us to give him money. After a quick scout of the rest of the bay which is quite large with good protection and little swell, we changed position to lie on the other side of the break tucked into a corner of the bay near the local surf bums' tsunami inspired shacks along the beach front.
We had obviously delayed too long in buying Hash's trinkets at extortion prices as he came and angrily told us to leave, then bailed up and threatened the kids as they were trying to paddle back to the break. So I figured it time to make peace with the natives and after a brief exchange, a $5 per day "anchorage" fee, a stained El Oro T-Shirt and a bottle of Smirnoff, we immediately had an instant and life-long friend.
Although this break was not as large, nor as intimidating as expected, 3 satisfying days of surfing here has been the icing on the 400mile cake.
Boards are being packed up and clothes dried as I type. We'll head back to the Port for tonight and then a taxi to a local airport tomorrow to link up with their return flights home from Padang and Jakarta. This means that ship-Zac a I don't have to touch down in Padang (not one of my preferred Ports), so we'll do some victualling tomorrow at the Port before continuing S for the 1000+ miles to Bali/Lombok.
I think the two biggest failures of trhis trip where - no left-handers and no fish! (Watch this space, I'm confident Zac and I will hook up immediately and post big fish stories for the next thousand miles - or otherwise do a Crowhurst and post them anyway).