G-land 24th July, day one
Sitting around the office at 9pm last night, I had no idea what to expect for the journey ahead. With horror stories of sleepless nights filled with crammed space and multiple pot holes I placed a deposit in my brain to expect the worst.
Our van arrived at 10pm, empty. Big spacious leather seats, air con and tinted windows. At first we were stoked to have first dibs on seats but we were then told that the van was for us, only us. LUXURY!
The voyage to the ferry was a dark whirlwind of sleep and numerous positions to get comfortable. I semi awoke during the ferry ride needing to go toilet which was upstairs. Once I get to the top deck shocked looks dominate the crowd of locals. Seeing me in a sleepy haze strolling the deck in white skin was not what they expected on their ship. This ferry was local, very local. I felt like a circus attraction.
After the ferry there was some more driving until we reached Garagjon village. We waited until sunrise until we could catch the boat over to G-land. Garagjon village is a small ocean side hamlet of bamboo huts, large spiders and big colourful boats. It is as if a rainbow had thrown up on the ocean, showing a beautiful vomit of outriggers and tall boats.
Crossing the sea we hit swells and flew over each wave with no caution, awesome.
Finally at 6:30am Java time (one hour behind Bali) we reach G-land. Imagine a line of thick green jungle with an outline of white sand edging on a turquoise marine. Walking to Bobby’s surf camp in bare feet we got new shoes of mud, vegetation and stones as the path looks like it was just recently hacked at with a saw.
The camp is handsome, fresh and finely groomed. Breakfasts are massive, with porridge, muesli, fruit, eggs, bacon, ham, French toast.. all for one meal… pretty much anything you want. We order our meals in the morning for the rest of the day so everytime we come to the dining hut our meal is prepared. Soft drinks and water are unlimited and we get three bintangs a night.
Arriving at our new home for the next week we find that the bed is so huge it takes up the entire room, which is a hut on stilts. Time to explore.
Kahn goes for a surf at Kongs. It is a break about ten minutes walk through the jungle. Sunbathing topless we watch the surf and anticipate high tide so we can have a go.
My favourite place so far is a minuscule fishing tribe hidden in the trees. With tents and friendly faces they welcome us as we walk through their home, a gorgeous genuine community.
25th July- second day
The light streams into our white cocoon at 5am, dazed I hear droplets of rain pat onto the wooden roof. Jungle rain.
Waking up at 8:30 we rush to the dining hut to consume a monster breakfast and sort out our transport to tiger tracks, a surf break about 5km away. The truck is broken and the heavy rain has slushed up the dirt roads, next option, The zodiac. We walk over sinking sand and coral to get to the zodiac which is basically a small boat with an engine. Once the boards were piled in we speed through the ocean in thick raindrops. I couldn’t help but notice the sweet wake coming off the boat. If only.
We reach tiger tracks and get thrown into the ocean behind the waves. We spend one and a half hours playing on the break. It is similar to back beach with only 5 of us out.
In the shower of rain everything feels surreal, sitting out the back of a grey blue sea looking at dense jungle on the shore line, how can I be here?
The night is filled with bintangs and vodka which are influenced by the daily beach sunset sessions. The camp takes all the beers down to the beach from 5-6:30 and plays sweet tunes.
At 6:30 dinner is served. During the entire dinner this trippy instrumental music is played. It’s a good sound, my tummy enjoys it.
Suddenly a chaotic noise of pots, pans, bongos, spoons and steal lids take over the dinner. The lights are turned off and a new rhythm of ‘happy birthday’ is sung to an Australian guy, delicious cake!
26th july- day three
G-land tattoo, reef kiss, coral smooch… what ever you want to call it, I have one. Today at tiger tracks I was attacked by the tigers claws, the reef. We were out with about 15 other people and just playing on the waves. I got this sick one, and I loved it. I went up the face to turn and hit the lip. I fell with the wave down to the depths and scraped along the ocean floor. Coming up I took a few waves on the head then frantically paddled out the back. Looking back on my leg I could see lots of blood and stratches. It’s nothing major, just cuts and a gash up my leg to my bum in a swollen bed. HAAAAAAAAAAAAA awesome. Back at camp, Harry the dude from ‘Bondi rescue’ took a look and had one answer, lime juice. Pumah the first aid guy rubbed four slices of lime all over my cuts and gashes, PAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN! A real intense sting, like bees piercing their bum knives all up my leg.
27th july- day four
The rest of yesterday we played pool and relaxed in our humble huts.
Dinner was a buffet last night as there is one every third night. It was also a full moon, which means PARTYYYYYYYY. The buffet was all Indonesian food with seafood, rice, noodles and shrimp crackers. After dinner was the party, a traditional Javanese band played until midnight with dancing girls and singers. It was awesome, the colour, the music, the amazing voices of these young girls. The crowd started to thin out as the dancers pulled guests up to dance. Jarred got into the swing of things and couldn’t leave the dance floor, it was hilarious.
28th july- day five
Yesterday I ventured to tiger tracks with jarred and a few of the locals. Kahn went surfing on the main break and del was sleepy from the night before. No one was amped on the way there as the swell had dropped meaning tiger tracks would be ripples. Motoring towards the break we got a pleasant surprise. The waves were between shoulder high and head high and glassy. The best part about it was there was only 5 of us on it, and I had the left all to myself. Time passed and the tide started to draw back from the shore, revealing the teeth of the tiger, the sharp knives that had dominated my flesh from my thigh. I was nervous to take off on a wave but saw one coming and thought f*** it. It was so mean, the water was beautiful, clear, uncontaminated. I flew over the village of sea life living amongst the coral. Our boat turned up signalling the time to leave, guttard.
The rest of the day I walked out to the edge of the breaking water on low tide to film Kahn surfing. Standing on the reef I watched spiders, starfish and birds feeding and exploring their coral city. I love the starfish, they are loose, brown and hairy looking. Their tentacles sway in the current, grooving to a hushed beat.
28th July – day five
Bright and early wake up today, we ate breakfast and headed to Kongs for a surf at 8am. Heavy rain in the night had made the track like a slide, so the 15minute walk consisted of us screaming ‘s***’ the whole way as we all tried to not arse over.
We paddled across the lagoon and into the breaking zone which gave me a good workout to get out the back. The waves were over head, but so much fun. I loved it. Heaps of fish were jumping and flapping around, Kahn had to keep telling me to chill out, it’s not a shark! Thank god I still have my limbs.
The reef looks so close in the clear water out there; we tried to dive down but no luck touching the bottom, YAAAAAAAAAAY!!
Underwater sounded like being bacon on a barbecue, it seemed to sizzle.
Three and a half hours into our surf I got some huge sets on the head, solid waves. Each wave threw me around like a rag doll, trying to keep oxygen away from my mouth. I got pretty hammered and started to panic. Each time I came up gasping for air another wave would thrust me under. I felt my body start to slow down and my arms were already tired from paddling. Exhausted I grabbed my board and just made it on when a wave engulfed me and took me into the lagoon. It sounds like an exaggeration but I was so scared or overwhelmed or in shock that tears just starting rolling down my face. It was f***ing scary but such a sweeeeeeet surf.
30th July- day six
We are back on the road, the road to the rut. To the place where we once called home and now it seems like a strange land. After a week in G-land I have learnt more about culture, people, wildlife, Indonesia and waves. Yesterday we surfed Tiger tracks one last time and explored the reef off Bobbys camp while the sun left us, disappearing into the ocean. It was euphorically beautiful; a sensation of purples and blues filled the tiny pools of water.
The last supper, the goodbyes, the sense of leaving a part of you, it was time for us to leave. I suppose this is part of travelling, the part no one tells you about. The feeling of falling in love with a place and having to let it go. Dam.
My time in G-land I discovered how there is an extraordinary feeling about the place. It is quiet, it is isolated, it is not a secret but a myth. Before we left I had the expectation of the waves being crazy massive, deadly. I think this is why not many make the journey to get there, only the pros. The motto is “If you dare, be there.” Once there, you realise the potential it has to dominate you, but it doesn’t necessarily do it often. It is an untouched national park, safe from our destructive minds.
Some s*** I learnt:
G-land is on the far southeast corner of Java, the Javanese name is Alas Purwo which means Ancient Forest. We stayed in Plengkung which means arc-shaped, just like the coastline. Plengkung Alas Purwo / The Arc of the Ancient Forest.
It is an impervious seventh heaven, a place with its own pulse and when you fall into rhythm of its pulse, its heart beat, you have never felt more at home. The wildlife is amazing, I have seen monkeys thrash around in the bamboo, turtles, monitor lizards, frogs, snakes, deer, sea spiders, massive vibrant lady bugs, bats, crabs, fish and wild hogs all in their home, their own paradise, untouched by humans. Panthers and Gorillas roam the land but I never saw one.
G-land was our first movement out of Bali, our first real taste of what travelling is about. I learnt my own limits, wishes and loves. Things we think we already know.
Tomorrow we start the Asia Odyssey, there is going to be so many tests, challenges, things to see/experience. I can’t wait.
Indo spreads over 5200km between the mainland of Asia and Aus. Among that there is between 13,000 and 17,000 islands. Living in harmony is 200 million people and 500 languages and dialects spoken.
Food: Sambal sauce is served with nearly every meal, it translates to chilli sauce. VERY HOT.. VERY DELICIOUS!
The Balinese temples (pura) are sacred, we have been to a few around Bali where you must wear a ceremonial sash or sarong. Woman who are menstruating are forbidden to enter.
Indonesians are social able, very friendly. You can’t walk 5 minutes without a ‘hello’ or ‘transport’ being said. Bonds are made through offering cigarettes and if you do not want one you must be very apologetic about refusing one. Indonesians have a great sense of humour and are never too serious.
There is no sense of time, you eat when you are hungry, sleep when you are tired, there are no pressures, no worries.
Bali is changing, resorts are erecting such as in Dreamland, commercialising this natural beauty. I have talked to older guys who used to come here in the 70s, Padang and Uluwatu had no warungs (restaurants) and it was a big walk over hills and cliffs to the surf. Now the cliffs are riddled with warungs and it is a simple motorbike ride away from Padang.
Black Magic is believed all over Indonesia. They believe in the Queen of the southern seas. She is blamed for drownings and natural disasters. It is believed that surfers who wear green shorts are taken to be her underwater lovers, this ocean spirit has said to taken several men a year off Indonesian beaches. To prevent these disasters, locals make offerings to pacify her. This is a small flax plate filled with rice, flowers and incense and occasionally there are animal blood sacrifices made on the sand.
Terima Kasih (banya) – Thank you (very much)
Apa Kabar? – How are you
Selmat pagi – Good morning
Mabok – Drunk
First born- Wayan
Second born- Made
Third born- Nyoman
Fourth born- Ketut
The order you are born determines your name, male or female.