Sumatra

So,we were trying to get to Sumatra to meet up with a contact who at one time was from Costa Mesa, California. Her name is Amy and she had given us directions to her surf camp that kind of went along the lines of, take this airline to Jakarta because it’s cheaper, then to bandar lampung where you will have to stay the night. The next morning you need to go back to the airport and find a flight on susi air to krui. Don’t worry I will have the air traffic controller meet you there. The flight will not be available online nor will anybody in the town say it exists but it does. Or, if for some reason the flight is not running, grab a taxi that will take you the better part of 6-7 hours to the camp. She said she’d help us along the way but she was also in another part of Sumatra visiting her boyfriend. She wasn’t coming back to her camp for another 3 days after we would get there. So, we were on our own for a couple days. Turns out the flight to Jakarta was cheap and it was basically a brand new plane. The second flight into Bandar Lampung was the sketchiest landing I’ve ever encountered. Let’s just say we were coming in hot! Really hot!! Like we were breaking through earth’s atmosphere hot!!! I think I might have accidentally assumed the “brace yourself for crash landing position” at one point because the g’s we’re pushing me into the seat in front of me. We spent the night at a brand new hotel with discount prices that was also unheard of. So finding the place at night made it a little more interesting.

Back at the hotel, I was trying to book the taxi to the airport for the next morning and the girls at reception kept laughing at me when I told them we were flying to Krui. Fast forward to the taxi the next morning, the driver was laughing at us for trying to catch a flight to Krui. We pulled up at the airport and now we’re all kind of laughing because, what if he’s right? What if the girls are right? We had no idea. Until we opened the doors to the taxi and the air traffic controller was standing there saying “Carolin?” Sigh of relief, and more laughter. He handed us a phone and on the other end was Amy making sure everything was going smooth. We were on our way to krui. He escorted us the entire way. This guy looked like a government official. Alex was toting around a black pelican case with his camera inside so it added to the drama. If you don’t know what a pelican case is, it looks like a case to smuggle expensive things in, and it has a big silver lock on it. People were staring at us like we were V.I.P.. I’m not going to lie, it kind of felt like we were. Everything went surprisingly well for what we had expected.

We then boarded out little single engine Cessna. Carolin did not like this bit at all. Turns out our pilot was from South Africa and from what we gathered the co-pilot was logging hours and doing some training of some sort. So the pilot was letting him fly us to krui. The flight there was awesome! Super smooth and great scenery. The landing on the other hand was another interesting one. We came in short and we bounced off the runway and started to kind of glide in but still not on the ground. The pilot ended up taking over and “assisting” the copilot. We made it down fine after about 5-10 seconds of drifting. The airport there is pretty much nonexistent. The runway is really all it is and a small office with weeds growing into it and stuff. So, we made it to the camp and headed down the coast to jump in the water and for the next week or so, eating, sleeping, surfing, and riding motor bikes around was all we did. We caught some really fun waves. Nothing too big. All in all, really fun. Carolin got her first reef rash on her foot, I saw a Sumatran brown huntsman spider the size of my head. One day we saw a pack of eels swimming in open ocean. Saw a couple locals chasing what looked like a Komodo dragon with bamboo sticks down the street. Y’know, normal everyday things you see in Sumatra. All the locals wave and say “hello mister”. It’s such a catchy phrase that there’s actually a surf shop there called, hello mister surf shop.

Amy’s place was really cool. She’s basically built this life for herself down there and from some of her stories, it sounds like she’s had to overcome some cultural differences and learn how to communicate with the locals. It’s so removed from everything that you learn to adjust to little things that are so abundant back home. The three of us were really impressed by her and her little compound.

We spent most days in the water and had an amazing time off the grid. We flew back to bandar lampung and spent a day there enjoying the amenities of the hotel and walked around in town. We went to a four story supermarket and I think we may have been the only white westerners in the entire town. Alex is like 6’2 and between Caros blonde hair and my mustache people were tripping out. The employees at the store took photographs of us and some people would just stop, point, and either run, or….. I think I might have seen Alex turn a kid into stone. It was an experience to say the least. Everywhere we went the whole trip people would kind of be in shock to see us.

We flew back to bali the next night and Caro and I spent our 3 year anniversary in between Java and Bali. I’d say it worked out perfectly. We felt bad for Alex so we made him a happy first third wheel anniversary card. But, we’re back in Bali now and we had a really cool experience in Sumatra. One we won’t forget. We definitely want to go back and see the other spots of the island.

Surfing Sumatra from rexford adams on Vimeo.

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