Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Stone cold chillin'

The Players: Aussies, Kiwis, Saffers, Yanks, Russians and English.

The Venue: Central Atolls (South Male/Meemu)

The Drink: Katemba (Red Wine & Coke)

The Dream: Five days of 'Good, clean living'

It all kicked off on a breezy, sundrenched Male morning with the loading of boards and the collection of our last guest from the airport. Within minutes of his arrival we had all been ferried out to the awaiting Safari boat, handed a cold beverage and and made our way onto the top deck. Surf in Maldives and their entourage were underway with a decent sized south-east swell due to arrive tomorrow and fill out by Wednesday...

Day 1: Male Airport - Kandooma/Guraidhoo (South Male)
Well, the swell certainly hadn't struck by the time we reached Guraidhoo (Natives), but we live in hope and five of us paddled out into 1ft surf off Kandooma Resort for an aperitif. The break didn't get any bigger, but we all had an absolute jol riding party waves and just generally stuffing around getting used to the boards. By 6pm the surfers were back aboard the safari boat and a cheeky tropical sunset set the tone for the rest of the night.

Day 2: Guraidhoo - Muli (Meemu)
A blustery wind greeted fuzzy heads early the next morning as the combination aroma of a continental breakfast and diesel fumes nudged us all towards top deck. The channel crossing saw us all over the boat trying to save chairs, drinks and bottles of suncream as the unpredictable swell tossed our noble vessel from crest to crest. Once across and amongst the islands of Vaavu Atoll we decided to anchor off a random sandbank, surrounded by hidden coral and a turqoise blue ocean. Needless to say, the batters struggled, while the bowlers and slip cordon thrived in windy and choppy conditions. From Calypso cricket on desolate stretches of Indian Ocean sandbank, we sailed out again in search of the epic swelled promised by the weather gurus and local surfers. And they weren't to disappoint. As we cruised into Meemu and on towards Muli Point, the seas beneath us began to swell so that by the time we'd arrived at a break called Mushrooms, medium-sized, A-frame peaks were bearing down on our small board carrier dinghy. With only two other surfers in the waves, we had the makings of a great session on our hands. Over the next hour, regular peaks of 4 or 5 foot rose behind us, although we weren't able to bag as many faces as we would have liked. All too soon the light had faded and we were being collected, but not before two massive manta rays floated past us in the surf. Surreal. This evening saw Cazbo, Bombski and Bax host a hotly contested Quiz night finally won (controversially I might add), by the Pork swords.

Day 3: Muli - Formula One break - Rabban Dhihuraa

Up at 'Sparrow Fart' for an unsuccessful snorkelling expedition, breakfast and into the surf at Formula Ones by 9am. Awesome. 4 to 6 ft barrels running down the length of Muli island and out into the channel. Once caught inside it got hairy, but if you found yourself on a face and hitting the lip, this was it bru. We spent the best part of the next three hours ripping waves that only a few have ever seen, let alone ridden and it was with classic jelly arms that we crawled into our pick up dinghy. Dolphins joined us on the ride out and we decided to name a break that had appeared out of nowhere once back on the boat. There now exists another Meemu Atoll break called 'Rautis' after Jacobus Wessel Rautenbach - surfer, mechanic and pioneer.

Most of the afternoon was spent cruising across to the other side of the atoll where we 'moored' (anchored) just off another uninhabited island. The snorkellers amongst us hadn't seen much action yet and were gone before we even had the anchor down. The reef turned out exceptional and untouched, and teaming with fish. This session was followed by another quick game of skim cricket, a few cold ones and a serious hand injury to our mid wicket fielder after another searing pull shot from Bombski. The late evening was spent around a freshly prepared fish braai (barbeque), laid out amongst home-made candles and palm frond cushions, and put to bed with night fishing and a full round of cigars.

Day 4: Rabban Dhihuraa - Kandooma - Riheveli

Another early morning rise and breakfast saw us back on the water, unfortunately for the return leg of the trip. The morning and early afternoon session passed by uneventfully, with most of the party lazing around on deck, chilling, reading and panic tanning. By mid-afternoon we were back off Guraidhoo and suiting up for a crack at a pretty shallow reef break to the right of 'Natives' (Guraidhoo). Perfect for the body boarders amongst us and is closed out consistently, it had the surfers shitting themselves in stages and we tended to hang off the shoulder waiting for the more mellow stuff. After an hour and a bit of 'coral reef roulette' we hit the sundowners hard (with Katemba prominent) and suited up for the Riheveli white party. Dominated by beautiful women, superlative Ken Forrester wines and heavy handed dark rum, the train was quite solidly derailed by midnight and it was a group of wounded, slurring soldiers that made their way back to the sanctaury of the safari boat.

Day 5: Riheveli - Male - Dhonveli

And so it happened that the most epic surf conditions of my two years in the Maldives were to happen on our last morning at Kandooma Point. The waves mellow and nobody else in the surf; Amber, Andy, Wardy and myself paddled out to meet the advancing train of picture perfect wave trains. Despite being a fairly heavy break onto a shallow reef, they averaged 3-4 foot and broke beautifully from right to left. Without a breath of wind and not a cross current in sight, we sat and chewed the proverbial cud for close on 3 hours before finally calling it a day on a cracking surf trip into the central atolls. The rest of the day would pan out pretty chilled in comparison despite a stopover at Chaaya Dhonveli.Until the next time...

Good clean livin'!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Two days in Thulusdhoo

Day 1: Cruised out of Male mid-afternoon with Chris, Amber, Anastasia and a light westerly wind in tow. The conditions had been average over the last few weeks and we were all super keen to get stuck into a few lekker waves. Just under two hours later our public ferry docked at the inhabited island of Thulusdhoo, North Male Atoll - we dumped our bags and headed for Cokes, the local break. The elements came together perfectly and within the hour we were riding mellow 3-4ft reef trains slap-bang into a tropical sunset. The Imam sounded his call to prayer, we caught some whitewash onto the rocks and day one's first session had drawn to a close. Not having had any tucker since lunch, the crew were ravenous and after a quick shower made our way across to a corner cafe for coffee, tuna & rice. Once stuffed, we hit the moonlit beach for a few hours chat before rolling into bed for a solid night's rest.

Day 2: Fully intending to hit the dawn session, my eyes only opened 7ish, Amber's two hours later (it must really have been a tough week); and only Chris found himself in the water at daybreak. It turned into a great little wave and with only a boatful of crazy Spaniards to lineup alongside, there were rides aplenty. I took a breather for tuna sarmies and Pepsi at around 11ish and spent the afternoon chilling at the house fiddling with the the new underwater camera. In nexto no time, the light afternoon breeze was hushed and the sound of an operating reef break once more filled the senses. We hit the waves just before 5 and paddled and chatted and rode epic waves pretty much non-stop for the next two hours. Another magic sunset brought a crackin' session to an end and fish curry, short eats and a Leo Di Caprio movie on the 'big screen' eventually brought the final curtain down on a truly lekker weekend.

Until next time...