By Shaun Levings - World Surfaris Managing Director - Moon Palikir: 5 to 16 Nov 2014.
Previously I'd been hesitant to commit to an Indo boat trip outside of the April-September period however with more and more customers returning from Early and Late season jaunts with tales of clean perfection and minimal surfers in the island chain the more appealing it sounded.
The added attraction of the trip was having our Maldives wonder team of 'Richard & Amy Kotch' onboard...not only to catch up and discuss 2015 plans but also to have Rich capture some images for the ultimate surf trip souvenir. I put the word out to some mates and farmer 'Troy Smith' and Tony 'Flying Fish' Kerr were IN! The rest of the boat filled up with a hotchpotch of characters namely... Kian Martin - 12 yr old super grom - Brazo/Swede roots and Bali based; Danny Girl - Founder of 'Salt Gypsy'; Lucy - 16 yr old super keen Sydney based; Dan Pappas - Coffee merchant from Brisbane; Newton - Brazo/Jap 50 yr old stylish goofy footer; Cesar the Brazo giant and my choice as bodyguard if needed; Wozza the white Samurai from Gold Coast; Michel the insomniac from Brazil; Michael Pinney - hardcore Vicco waterman; and last but not least Julien the Frenchman. The onboard dynamic was always going to be interesting with such an eclectic bunch and the buzz from go to woe did not diminish with enough stoke to power a Mentawai village!
After a few hours in Padang hanging by the pool at the Mercure we drove the 1 hour windy road to Bangus harbour to be onboard the impressively appointed Moon Palikir by 8pm. Cabins were allocated and lodgings were more than comfy with 1 x QUAD and 4 x TWIN air conditioned cabins to sleep 12 in comfort. After a long days travel it wasn't long till we were in deep slumber whilst we cross the strait to the islands (approx. 12 hour steam).
We awoke at Maccas and had 2 days of perfection that I had dreamt of since my last Mentawai adventure a few years back. It did not disappoint with memorable 4ft sheet glass Macaronis and a cool crew in the line-up too. We capped off day 3 with a dusk Greenbush session with some crew getting very pitted! Early next morning we steamed North to Lances left to arrive for an epic arvo session with some solid 6'+ bombs and a well-mannered crew. 1 other boat but no hassles. Big drops and long walls make a great canvas for a 6'8" pintail to draw lines on! The majority of the boat surfed the fun slabby right of Bintangs and reported fun times. Next day pumping Lances left all morning followed by small but clean HT's for the arvo session. Evening trip to Sipora to wake up at Scarecrows for breakfast and then we continued to steam a few hours to Playgrounds. The swell had dropped out a fair bit but the next 3 days we enjoyed the fun waves of Nipussi, Beng Bengs, Pitstops and Burgerworld. Burgers turned on for us and it was like rocking up to Noosa National park with only 6 guys out...long whackable rights all day long and sunset Bintangs tasted great along with a BBQ on the top deck.
The top deck of Moon Palikir is a massive open plan area with board racks, bean bags, Bintang fridge and clothes line. It works so well for a multipurpose area for tuning boards, stretching on a yoga mat, resting the body on a bean bag and as the sun sets over the islands it transforms into the ultimate bliss loungea and dance floor..slick moves Wozza!
The air conditioned saloon area houses the extra long dining room table, lounge room with flat screen TV and kick ass suround sound, self-serve fridges and hot drink self servery. All hot and cold drinks including 20 cases of Bintang per trip are included in the price!
After 3 fun filled days in the Playgrounds theme park we headed south again and had a couple more nice sessions at my new favourite wave Lances left along with slabby sunset rights at Bintangs. We capped the trip off with a final morning at Macaronis before we headed home past the spectacular Batcave region and experienced one of the smoothest crossings imaginable to arrive Padang early morning. A local feast of Padang food satisfied all before our delivery to the airport for our flight home. Job done!!
In between surf sessions we were waited on by the magnificent Moon Palikir crew of Alex, Robin, Jay, Weto, Erik and Captain who worked with Kadu like a well-oiled machine. They looked after our boards with care, ferried us to/from the line up and never missed a waved board for pickup time and served up some incredible meals that kept us fuelled and healthy. These guys are amazing characters with a combined experience of over 100 years in Indo Surf charter industry. I knew Alex from 1994 back in the early days and was stoked to hang out with him. Robin is the funniest guy I've ever met and could probably make a career as a stand-up comedian. Weto the cheeky grom of the crew was always happy to play tricks, Erik was a cooking machine and Jay the best ding repair guy I've met and kept busy each day!
I must also mention the speedboat with 120hp that enables the guests to split between waves if desired. The zodiac dingy works great for quick drop off/pickups.
All guests had memorable sessions and differing highlights. Everyone got a huge wave count and I'd hazard a guest in 10 days that most of us caught in excess of 500 waves each! How long would it take you to ride 500 waves at home? Not just any waves either...the worst day in the Mentawai’s is like the best day of the season at home!!
An approximate package price including international flights will set you back around $5k...that's approx. $10 per world class reef break wave whilst styling in comfort on one of the best boats in the region. In my books this is great value for money!
A huge thank you to Kadu and his magnificent crew onboard Moon Palikir . These guys are first class in every aspect of surf adventure. I can highly recommend Moon Palikir to any surfer looking to surf the Mentawais in super stylin comfort with a crew who will drive all night for you to wake up at perfection. I look forward to more adventures with them in the future and next time I might try Kadu and Bruno's other boat, Star Koat, as some of our fellow guests were repeat Kadu visitors and had great things to say about the Star Koat experience. 2015 trips are on sale now at GET IN EARLY prices!