-I know of an island that is more beautiful than anywhere I've ever been
If it wasn't for the Lebanese apprentice's petulant child bride I'd have never laid eyes on such a place.
-On this island there are no poisonous animals. No ticks, leeches, snakes, rabid dogs, malaria or venomous spiders.
The child bride couldn't stand to be separated from her betrothed and so the boss gave the opportunity to work on the island alongside the two tradesmen to myself. Although there were others more qualified and longer term employees, he gave me the nod because at heart he was still the adventurer he'd been in his youth and I'd like to think he saw the same light in my eyes that drove him to expand his world through travel.
- The island is home to a species of fish that eat an algae that is unique to the local reefs. Eating the flesh of this fish will induce hallucinations and other effects extremely similar to that of Lysergic Acid. A fact that the few locals, especially the youth, exploit for entertainment and to explore the limits of perception.
Off to the Island we went, the two tradesmen and myself, to renovate a luxury lodge on a secluded part of this remote island . Both tradesman were men of peculiarities. The first being a family man with an eye on climbing the strata of society through a rigorously applied work ethic...he was also handicapped by an almost comical slavishness to stray women of questionable morals. It was the foundation of his character and his eventual downfall.
- A nighttime stroll around the Island will soon reveal a type of mushroom that generates it's own light through the fermentation of bio matter . It glows fiercely in the dark and illuminates the edges of paths on the blackest of nights.
The second tradesman was a man of an experimental bent when it came to establishing the limitations of human ingestion. Alcohol was an obvious starting point. Marijuana - which was plentiful and of excellent quality on the island - was the next name on the litany of substances that were to be consumed with astounding regularity.
- On the island there exists a single tree that covers over 3 acres of land. A single entity that drops it's roots from the canopy towards the Earth as it expands exponentially over the decades , as opposed to the roots spreading through the ground and providing the initial basis for expansion.
Both men were more than adept at constructing the lodge to the level of artisan appointment required by the owners of the soon to be refurbished lodge.
Myself ? I was little more than a bong punching , day dreamer that could barely swing a hammer.
But...I was the only surfer.
- There is a beach on the Island where the fish will swim without concern amongst humans , indeed they will eat from an outstretched hand any items proffered. Sharks will regularly be amongst the throng of feeding fish.
As the only surfer , it took me roughly three seconds upon arrival on the Island to establish the fact that the lodge was situated immediately adjacent to a lagoon that was bordered on the shoreward side by a blindingly white sand beach and the seaward side was ringed by a fringing reef approximately 500 metres offshore.
And the weakest part of the reef had over many millennia been removed by the incessant pressure of water that had been pushed into the lagoon by continuous wave action and where the gap in the reef had worn a barrelling right hander now peeled unmolested .
- The island is so removed from the world and the predation that mammals are like to impose that upon its first discovery by humans all bird life was naive to the threat that these intrepid seafarers posed. Most birds would actually alight at the feet of the sailors, if not actually upon their person. This was to be the demise of several species. Yet , such was the irregularity of visitation that the birds continued to thrive and the trait of fearlessness continues to this day. A certain uniquely indigenous species will be constantly underfoot due to its flightless nature when it's in the vicinity .
Two days. It took two days for the tradesmen to realise that I would be less than useless due to my overarching desire to surf. Fortunately, due to the fact that the single supply route to the island was delayed due to inclement weather, there was no work to proceed with and I was sanctioned a couple of days to surf myself silly and therefore be able to refocus on the task at hand when the supply ship arrived.
- The defining feature of the Islands fauna is undoubtably it's bird life. A certain bird that is renown for its oceanic wanderings has taken advantage of the sanctity provided by this predator free landmass and nests there en mass.
Unfortunately , the astounding flying abilities of this bird are not mirrored by its prowess on terra firma. In fact it struggles to land with any form of technique or ability. It is not at all uncommon to be engaged in a quiet dinner on the beach or on the edge of the forest and to be inundated with squadrons of brown, hook beaked birds landing haphazardly all over yourself and your meal. Often with force .
One week. It took a week for the pass to finally stop throwing up lonely barrels. That's when I returned to work. It wasn't really problematic as the rot of each trades mans character flaw had flourished into extreme bloom under the fertile conditions provided by separation from society and an abundance of that which each had an an affliction . In one week the entire premise of the mission had been sidelined by tradesman one shacking up with a local woman in what amounted to a second puberty and tradesman two discovering the cornucopia of mind altering delights available. Both proceeded to drown themselves in liberation and excess.
- It's not only on the land that one must factor the local avian fauna into the equation. There is a beautiful , barreling albeit short wave that lies at the base of a vertical cliff. If one is to make a disturbance or a large amount of noise, the mottled white birds that reside on the cliff will launch upon you and settle upon your shoulders , on your board and all the surrounding water attempting to satisfy their curiosity as to the source of the ruckus.
Four months. The task was scheduled for eight weeks but it was four months before I left the Island. Straddling Autumn and Winter I was fortunate enough to witness a large variety of conditions conducive to surfing . I was lucky enough to be accepted amongst the notoriously testy locals - the very few locals that there are - and they duly introduced me to the incredible spectrum of waves available on the Island.
My time on the Island was something that I could not replicate , it was a defining experience .
In fact the Island managed to alter the course of my life .
There are lots more Islands out there.
Go find one.
God , Why ?
I think we find parts of these islands and construct a whole experience from these experiential shards. Obviously man has the knowledge and the chance to live a life close to this utopian existence. War, treachery and greed must be embraced by an alien culture I live amongst. Imagine if our chinese friends were building islands such as these instead of sandspit deathstars. It fucken blows my mind people still jump on each other and breed, surely such things become reasonably obvious to most before puberty? Go forth you extreme armies of the optimistic, or naive.
Sand spit death stars ....I'd be copyrighting that hem-stret.
Been back Blowin?
If not, how come?
Yeah, I've been back Goofyfoot.
But not for a long time.
Too long actually.
What a great read mate!
At one stage I was expecting grinning cats and a rabbit with a fob watch.
Golden Cane palm?
Thanks Indo, ****** was the other one I was thinking of. Lovely plant.
I used to work in the tropics and there were stories of people camping out waiting for the seeds of Foxtail palms to fall off as they couldn't germinate unless they fell off naturally. I heard somewhere that 20 years or so ago, one seed was going for about $50.
Indo, without giving too much away, did you live around Mermaid beach or up at Labrador in the 90's? Are/were you an avid fisherman? I think I may know you.
Yeah Blowin,took me a while to work out which island your talking about,and reading it again you left a couple clues eh.I was there in 84 and havent been back but would love to go again and the the set ups are awesome for such a small place,enough said!
@ Zen lived at Mermaid beach for about six months in the late 90's, then Broad beach, then Surfers before i burnt myself on the party lifestyle in the mid 00's.
But never lived at Labrador, only time i ever went there was for a work for the dole thing building boats :P
Fishing i get bitten by the bug every few years and get right into it but never really did much on the Goldie.
You fellas reckon you could delete any information pertaining to that which I unwisely mentioned ?
Indo ? Zen ?
It would be appreciated. Cheers.
Deleted, okay i see we are keeping this little island secret….it was actually quite obvious to me before i got to your last clue.
Madagascar can look after itself .
If this is the place i'm thinking of it does have a huge problem with an introduced predator - rats, that thrive on the huge abundance of bird eggs. I might have the wrong island. Great read, love the mystery it does make me want to go exploring.
I know an even smaller little Island, also nothing venomous on its land and the whole island is covered in coconut palms, crystal clear blue water surrounds the islands, with a mix of coral reef and white sand beaches, and yes there is also perfect waves breaking off this island.
One end of the island is a village of about 100 people, mostly kids, but only a few old people as they just don't live that long due to a bad diet and lack of health care and sometimes die from illness that in the west are preventable.
The people are not the poorest of the region but still poor and of all the houses only about three have toilets, so the beach and bush is where most crap but it normally gets cleaned up by the tide or pigs, there is no real work here so cash is not something they see much of and what little cash they get comes from harvesting coconuts or fishing just enough to buy some rice in town or simple items like soap, they have a simple life but a hard life.
On the other end of the island is a high end western owned surf resort where it cost more to stay a night for one person than the average local would make in a year maybe even two or three years, unless your one of the very lucky three or four locals who have managed to get a job there then they earn about that much in about six months.
At this resort cashed up westerners live like a king, eating amazing food cooked by international standard chiefs and drinking beer and cocktails, while they relax in air-conditioned comfort, but off course this is in between strike missions in expensive fast speed boats to nearby waves which is the main purpose of their travel.
But these speed boats are often not alone, anchored not far away is luxury boats also filled with surfers, on the beach the locals watch the continual coming and going of these boats, perhaps with envy in their eyes, perhaps asking themselves how can i be a part of this, why do they have such big nice boats, while i just have this canoe made from a tree trunk.
This is just one island in an amazing island chain and there is many islands like this where the contrast between the haves and have-nots is like black and white or day or night.
Nice one Indo.
It's not so much about keeping that island a secret as employing the mystique of mystery.
It's also a little bit about keeping it a secret....
You sound like you've got more than enough islands to sustain you for two lifetimes.
That's the dream.
PS thanks to all that are in the know for perpetuating the mystery that I so nearly destroyed.
I might share a line up with you out there one day.
Thanks guys for self moderating .
Blowin I really enjoy your tales . I hope one day I do meet you again on trails and this time your there longer and we talk shop around a campfire .
This island immediately shone out in your words , just from description rather than the obvious clues you rescinded . I had an opportunity near a decade ago as multiple mates lived there for 2-3 years . Unfortunately injury , work and kids got in the way . I know how expensive it is and am spewing I missed that boat . Maybe one day in the distant future .
The images and descriptions of the rare beachie gem pumping looks like something to try and target a mission , hopefully bookended by the more consistent reefs .
I love how islands capture the imagination .
I know an island where many prisoners served sentences in the harshest conditions. A place with poisonous spiders, shark nurseries and as many poisonous snakes as i've ever seen anywhere.
A place where coral grows despite a latitude you would think would never support it.
In my younger years I had many great experiences here including catching my first fish, getting laid on the beach, snorkelling through underwater tunnels and catching waves that at the time felt monstrous.
The island has two main coastlines, one very exposed to swell, and also the fierce wind that limits trees to no more than a few metres high. The other side is far more protected from the elements but still capable of providing ocean born fury on its day.
I remember one day, I would have been about 16 and still a novice at reading the weather to give me the best chance of good surf. Me and a mate rode our bikes out to one of the more recognised surf breaks to find it was huge and messy with a side shore breeze. We continued around the coast untill the track turned us around to the opposite facing coastline. After maybe a km of riding we stopped and the view I saw is vivid in my mind now, it hasn't faded.
I saw a wave that was probably 12 foot that barrelled so thick and perfect and spat out what seemed like the entire ocean. Needless to say me and old mate did not surf this break on this day. I ended up surfing a wave that I have never seen anything like what it was that day, my mate was too scared. It was probably 8 foot solid but my inexperience made it feel proper massive. I caught a few waves and came in more like a man than before.
This island is no secret, it gets mega crowds although some breaks are so sharky that most of the time they are empty. The big spitting left is to this day one of the most intimidating waves I have surfed - like a shorter, more raw version of tombstones with colder water and bigger sharks of a more dangerous variety. This wave is no secret but if you go there and its 12 foot it will probably be spitting perfect barrel after barrel with no one surfing it.
Even islands that are well known have something to offer someone with big enough nuts.
I spent time on an island with plenty of surf, known and unknown. One spot that can turn 20ft+ onshore surf into wrapping 6-8 ft sand bottom tubes that are thicker than they are high, waves that tube from as far to the right as you can see all the way to as far left as you can see,fast, thick and sectiony but makeable,the sweep is a killer, long walks back up the beach, not empty but you will be unlikely to ever be taken there or find it, cameras will be confiscated and a lecture/beating may/will ensure those who try or are even thought to be a possible exposure threat. " 10 kirras" to some.
What's it called mike?
Too much too ask? :0
Great stuff Blowin. I did a family trip there when I was about 10, fed the fish, climbed the mountain. And then when I was about 18 I got out all the happy snaps and looked in the background of each shot. I'm yet to act on that info. One day soon...maybe.
Like others I've been enjoying your recent dips of the quill. And I can't help but notice your excellent use of paragraphs, an improvement I take full credit for as any zealous teacher would.
Credits all yours Stunet.
Only place I've ever written anything besides Swellnet was during English at high school.
PS I think I might know where you're talking about Mikehunt.
I've never been but I've heard it's incredible.
And well protected.
Actually got an invite from a nice fella I met at G Land last year.
Where the f is this Sickas , its driving me mental - another penal settlement with snakes whites and coral......but crowded on its day...
That left is my favourite wave .
Simply put , it is usually not that crowded when its pumping .
Not sure on the " Big " call though . Favourite size there is 6-8 ft ,
I'm not convinced it gets better or bigger than 10 ft .( RARE DAY IN HELL , esp. with the right wind )
Keen for a surf trip Southey?!?
The Island still waits for those with a taste for remote beauty.
Best thing I’ve read on swellnet in years.
Yeah Blowin can write, a real talent I have always enjoyed and plenty of life experiences to boot, Eh.... DSDS