The Navistar is an ocean going 65 foot sloop, operated by Chris Love in the Mentawai Islands. Chris is originally from Jersey (UK) and has been in west Sumatra since 2003. He knows most, if not all the breaks from the Mentawais to Aceh. He also knows what it takes to provide great service to make your surf trip, the trip of a lifetime!
The Mentawai Islands lie approximately 100km off of the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. They consist of 4 main islands with many smaller islands scattered throughout. From north to south, the main islands are Siberut, Sipora, North Pagi and South Pagi. These islands block most swells from reaching the mainland on Sumatra but they offer some of the most perfect surf in the world. Access to the islands is by sea only, and by far the best way to access the surf, is by charter boat.
The Navistar has been customized to a surf charter vessel and was launched in 1998 in Australia and started charters in the Mentawais in 1999. She is powered by a V8 300hp turbo charged Detroit diesel engine which will go anywhere anytime. She is fully air conditioned right throughout the vessel to whatever temperature you would like. The dormitory style bunk accommodation sleeps 8 passengers quite comfortably and there is plenty of room to spread out.
Navistar has two tenders. One for transfers to and from the surf and the other an aluminium 5.4m speedboat, with a four stroke 80hp for those who like to fish or search for other waves.
With the new top deck (what they call the beer deck) new engine, friendly staff, a roomy vessel with all the mod-cons and an available speedboat to get you there quicker (or split your group up) Navistar represents great value for money.
The Navistar is committed to trying to get you the best least crowded waves at all times. This may involve being a cagey bugger and trying to stay ahead of the pack or ducking and weaving to be that one step ahead... there is no milk run on the Navistar.
When you arrive on the Navistar (after the captain gives you a safety brief) there will be a general discussion with the guests on what type of waves you want to surf. Intermediate or advanced, some nice walls or some eye popping barrels (the speed boat can be used to split up different levels of surfers). There are many of the exposed (media) breaks e.g. HT's, Rifles, Macaronis, Greenbush and there are the waves that are a next rung down e.g. Lance's Left, Bat Caves, Cold Springs and Thunders that can be less crowded (and easier to surf).
When the surf gets really big there is another discussion with the guests on what they want to achieve. When the surf is 10ft + there are only a few punters that want to take on waves of that size. The good news is that when the swell gets up, there are some truly out of the way places to surf that are uncrowded and smaller. Your surf guide has many spots up his sleeve...
The Navistar is equipped with a canon 7D camera that can shoot stills as well as video. They also have an underwater housing to get up close and personal. Photo costs are extra so you can negotiate this directly with the Captain once onboard.
Whilst it is very rare that you will find a day that you are not surfing, other activities include fishing/trolling spear fishing, snorkelling (Navistar carries 2 sets of snorkelling gear), walking some of the many islands, visiting villages. Occasionally the crew do get the request to sail Navistar, which is not a problem provided there is group consensus to do so.
Navistar leaves from Padang which is on the west coast of Sumatra. Padang has an International airport and there are many flights daily from Singapore and KL. There are also connecting flights from Bali via Jakarta daily.
Note that the airlines have weight restrictions so be prepared to pay US$20 - $30 extra for boards. Luggage will also have to be re-checked. More expensive, but very reliable and good with boards, flexible as well, concerning change of flight is Garuda.
Transfers to and from the boat are included in the price. Most boats charge a US$3 per day Mentawai Tax but this is included in our price. This money is paid by all guests travelling to the islands and goes toward the local community.
You’ll be met at the airport by a Navistar crew member, with transportation provided either to a local hotel, (2 Star to 4 Star), for you to unwind overnight, or alternatively, directly to the boat.
The boat normally leaves the harbor between 4pm-8pm.
The cost of the hotel is not included in the daily charter fee, but local rates are relatively inexpensive.
Included in the daily charter fee is nightly accommodation, all food, 3 meals a day, and soft drinks, tea/coffee etc. All on-board alcohol purchases are at moderate local prices.
Free use of all equipment: skin diving, fishing rods and reels etc.
Other facilities include TV and a DVD home entertainment centre plus a loud stereo system.