The Land – Finding the G spot – Pt.3
4:30 am – Looking up to the sky… diamonds are forever. Dark waves crack upon a shrouded reef. The offshore is confirmed by the Con’s position. Back in the bunk crustaceans gnaw at the hull – snap – crackle – pop. I inhale the ghost of last nights meal… too tired to wash up those pots and pans. The anchor gives out another grunt… every sound – every rattle… a measure… a signature. The boat has its own language… I begin to understand. Looking out my scarred port-hole… I lay gazing at a fractured moon… waiting for dawn to deliver the day.
8:23am - Standing on the bow… chain in hand… we motor closer to the break. As the engine stops… I measure out the line until there’s a dull thump. With straightened back – the load firmly on my legs… it’s all about posture – this task can ruin your spine. Looking up the reef… today’s waves are bigger… but still suffering from morning sickness… it’s a sloppy scene as the winds stay confused. We’ll catch a surf later.
As the decks warms up… I rustle through the board bag… fondling fins… considering today’s ride. The Barong is the tallest in the quiver… reckon I’ll step down a few inches and unleash the Tolhurst 7’2. Looking toward the cockpit… Iron’s busy with a hand-held compass… lining his eye up to the point. It’s the old way of charting your position – without the GPS. Measure two land marks… draw up the lines on the map – and X marks the spot.
10:12am – Today’s first conversation began with a discussion about early explorers and navigation. There was this Englishman – John Harrison – a carpenter who invented the ‘marine chronometer’. It was the first clock that could keep precise time – revolutionizing sea exploration for Captains like James Cook. It let navigators maintain a precise fix on their longitude. If you set Harrison’s clock to noon London time… by monitoring the time shift of the midday sun… it gave away your position east or west.
In closing… there was a debate about the ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’. Iron argued passionately against the popularized myth… contending Christian was in fact a megalomaniacal psychopath… while Bligh a regular Captain of the day. He believed Christian fell off the rails hard in Tahiti… and became lost to this notion of establishing a utopian realm – without restriction – Nero in paradise. Iron theorized that the Mutiny was less about Bligh’s sensationalized sadism… and more about Christian’s unwavering desire to reside over a Tahitian Neverland. In the tropics… one sees their share of expats lose their grip – collapsing helplessly into a corrosive ‘Kurtzian’ view of reality . You don’t need to read a Conrad novel to know how it all ends. Paradise found – paradise lost.
11:48am - I watch in awe as another polished set winds down through the reef. I claim solid 4 ft with the odd bomb set. Iron left 30 min ago… I prepare to follow. Boardies… sunscreen… leash… wax – weapon. Suddenly a sound pulsates from inside the boat. Opening the cabin… the GPS is alive.. it’s the anchor alarm – we’re dragging. I reset the system and do the responsible thing and wait. It’s half hour on deck watching liquid gold endlessly funnel toward me… before I carry on.
In the line up… is see Iron has drifted wide. At close quarters… he details a dissatisfied session. Many hungry new players feverish for a share of the bounty. I mention the alarm – it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Iron immediately returns to the Con… while I drift up the reef.
The timing was perfect today… scored a midday changing of the guard. Plenty went in.. there’s the lunchtime smorgasboard that cannot be missed. After a few false starts… I drifted further up top to where the sets were a solid 4-5. I dunno what it’s called… but it’s the zone between Money Trees and Kong’s. It was pretty empty except for a 50 yr old Californian called ‘Dave’. Every so often a bomb would break outside and reform. The hole near the key provided sanctuary.
Eventually this young dark kid with a buzz cut paddled past… heading way out the back. A solid one loomed… he spun around and stroked hard. It was an effortless drop… he had it dialled… snapping hard off the top… ploughing deep tracks – ending up with a very handsome barrel. Envy stretched from here to the beach. As he paddled back… I slowly recognized it was ‘Eddie’ – the guy who motored up yesterday to say g’day. He was managing Yo-yo’s Camp and offered us some fresh water. He’d worked here some years back – leaving before jungle fever set in. Recently he’d been surfing and living Hawaii – and it showed. This was his first paddle out… and a test for the new board. “Yeah… haven’t surfed in a while brew… feeling a bit rusty today.” Either this kid was full of shit… or I better throw in the towel immediately. Bottom line… this talk inspired me to paddle further out past the hole.
Compared to the trail… it was quieter at the top – the current was a strong deterrent. I finally scored some overhead babies… but had to kick out before the Tree – things were getting shallow there – any error – a pound of flesh. I craved a shot at a semi-bomb… and it was eventually served… as a 6 ft shadow drifted into view. I coujured courage and stroked hard… cutting back into this thick-necked beast as it jacked – forming into a mutant double up. Not under the lip… shy of the cobra – I struggled to enter. The pitch was beyond probability… unless you craved a 10ft vertical air-drop into something thicker than it was tall. As I pulled back (guilty as charged) this juggernaut freight trained down the reef… finally exploding into the ugliest closeout known to man – double its scale. It was a blend of shame and relief. Eddie paddled up grinning – “Mate… that was a monster f%#kin set you didn’t take… full double up – wave of the day.” Still harbouring mixed emotions… Californian Dave followed through with – “..real exciting for a while there man”… I laughed.
After skulking back to money trees… it was now 3 hrs paddling – and with the 2 km round trip to/from the boat… I was spent.
9.13pm – Lounging inside the cabin… Kidman’s ‘Glass Love’ was on the nano – micro-viewing. Iron tries to get a forecast from home – signal is intermittent at best. We need an idea of what’s coming… incase we have to shift anchor. From memory… the Vegas report mentioned solid conditions the next 2 days – around 3.5 m. That translates to about 8-10 ft Ulu’s… and conservatively 10-12 ft here. I’d surfed 8-10ft Land well over a decade ago… and it took everything I had. Whether a similar prospect was even remotely possible – in this day and age – wasn’t clear.
But there’s only one way to find out… in anyone’s language…
To be continued…