Surf Mentawais Boat Trip October 2011.
On the eve of October 4th 2011, a group of 9 surfers from North Devon boarded the Aileoita II, bound for perfect surf in the Mentawais, surfing some of the best and most consistent waves in the world.
The usual route from the UK is from Heathrow, or Gatwick to Jakarta Airport, Java. This can cost around £600 +. I have flown Emirates before, not the cheapest, but fairly good quality, e.g. air con works and movies are viewable! There is usually a stop over in Dubai, or such like, somewhere in the Middle East, perhaps 4-6 hours. Emirates do not charge for surfboards..
Once you get to Jakarta, an internal flight to Padang, Sumatra (where you board the boat) is required. After you arrive, make your way to domestic flights - click here for an info guide for changing terminals at Jakarta Airport, e.g. from international to domestic - a 5-10 minute taxi ride away, depending on traffic, and there is a lot, or you can get on the free bus. Sometimes it works out that you can land in Jakarta, and have enough time to make your way to domestic to book an internal flight to Padang, and get that flight the same day. You will need to check your schedule to see if this is possible.
We booked our internal flights through Lion Air, who don't charge for surfboards. At the moment, it seems you cannot book internal flights from the UK, although it is worth checking the Lion Air website for flight times when planning your Mentawais boat trip in the UK. Flights can cost around £40 - £50 one way, returns about £80 - £100. If you cannot get your flight on the same day, there are quite a few hotels in and around the airport, most fairly good quality, but not particularly cheap, perhaps £50 + for a night. I have heard good reports of FM 7 Hotel, just outside the airport, very relaxing.
When you arrive in Padang you will be greeted by Elvis who will take care of things from there on - he speaks good English, is very reliable and will take you to pick up extra, personal supplies, e.g. extra beer! Because there can be up to 10 people, some may arrive at different times. If this is the case, Elvis will organise a hotel to hang at so everyone can group. Once all together you make your way to the boat.
From the photos you can see that boat is fairly large, with lots of space, when you see it first hand, you know that this definitely the case, perfect, everyone likes space!
After acquainting oneself with the living quarters, it is time to hit some beer, and let the captain sail us through the night to the Mentawais... It was rough, and many were a little sea sick, uncharacteristically rough!
We arrived and awoke in the islands at a wave called Telescopes, small but perfect left handers. The photos to the right are kind of in chronological order, so, you can see the Telescopes in the first few wave shots - click on the thumbnails to browse enlarged versions with captions.
Surf in the Mentawais can suit all levels of surf ability. Because of the amount of different waves to surf there is always something for someone, ranging from fun beach break type waves at somewhere like Pit Stops, to perfect fun at Macaronis. You can surf a different wave everyday, at the least.
For the whole trip the surf ranged from 2-6 ft., sometimes a light onshore, most of the time clean. We had a few larger surfs at Scare Crows, perhaps about 6 ft, and a few other breaks. Lances left also had a few larger set waves, we were parked off there for a few days, although we didn't get it perfect, once we had got our heads around the end section, it was a lot of fun, on, or off shore.
the boat again.
Aelolita II is a practical surf cruiser. She has great balance, so, when rough there is less rocking, more stability, which equates to a lot less sea sickness. Aileoita II has double cabins to fit two people with double bunk beds, enough space to relax and have a quiet read.
There is lots of space to lounge and for equipment. The outside lounge area is large with lots of seating, and the inside dining/lounge area has a large screen and selection of DVDs, boiling hot and cold water on tap, games, books, mags and other bits. It only takes a few days for it to feel like home. The crew help with this too, very humble and relaxed, and fun too, always keen for a laugh. They take pride in what they do and provide a great service, catering for your every need, they stash your board after every surf, hang up your board shorts, etc., everything is covered, you can truly relax.
Didit is the surf guide, a Mentawai local, he surfs well, is humble, easy to speak to and very helpful, if you get to know him he will become a good friend.
The food is plentiful, with plenty of fruit, cereals, plenty to drink, water, soft drinks, coffee, tea and plenty of fish. One of the best meals was when one of the boats crew caught a massive Wahoo! off the back of the boat when we were cruising, great to see. We had delicious sashimi that evening. Two cooked meals per day, lunch and dinner.
All in all, a surf trip on a boat in the Mentawais is pretty much as good as it gets. If you want good waves, you are in the right place. Even when its 'flat' you can get 2-4 ft. waves, somewhere. Back this up with incredible, empty, island style paradise, hot, hot weather and a good bunch of mates and you have an experience you will never forget. You gotta love surfing in boardies in warm, warm water...
Take some reef boots, most reefs in the Mentawais are sharp!