Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Maldives - Day 1 and 2

Day 1 began about 2am and became a blur of planes and terminals. We met Leeann in the airport about 5am, told her I was pregnant, and we got on a plane. We had an eight hour stopover in Singapore airport where we walked and walked, considered the two hours and the four hours' sleep Leeann and I had had respectively, and pondered the LSD-inspired carpets. There was a surprising amount of pork. Neither of us being big into shopping, we attempted this lackadaisically. We discovered the city tour, but too late to book in, eventually found the other terminal (with different carpets!) an hour before boarding and were generally overwhelmed by the orchids, butterflies and koi.
Knackered in Singapore

Turns out the ceiling at Male airport isn't very high. Just under 9', I'd say. I will buy a coffin bag with wheels for my longboard if I take it overseas again. I couldn't stand the board bag(read: two boards in one mal bag) up on a trolley, and I couldn't carry it in one hand, so I settled for laying it across a trolley widthways and proceeding to clean up every person and bollard that got in my way. Leeann found this hysterical. I found that a sort of turning, trolley-waltz got me around the bollards, which were ALL spaced less than 9' apart.

And finally at midnight, after a very, very long day, we were out in the fresh air, on the transfer boat and then onto the Haira, our home for the next week. We met the other girls, found our room belowdecks and crashed.

Day 2
Bow board rack
There were only seven of us booked into the trip and seven double rooms, which worked out pretty nicely. We each had our own bathroom and more space than you would expect on a boat. The cabins were all below deck. The next level was the galley and dining room, plus our board racks outside. Next level was an indoor and outdoor lounge area. And finally a sun deck up top, which provided very nice evening wind-downs, enjoying the breeze and the stars.

We got to properly meet the rest of the people on the boat this morning while eating pancakes. Brian, our surf guide, Mikala, our photographer, Hayley, Tamara, Alanna and Steph. Plus Gobi, our steward, Michael and the captain. Although we tried to look at the Male swell forecast from Singas and it looked small, it was not when we arrived. Brian decided that we would motor down to the South Male Atolls first, as they're more sheltered from the swell.

Heading south
Needless to say, I felt pretty dodgy today. Six hours sleep barely made up for the rough day beforehand.

Alright. Onto the surf...
Session #1:
Surf spot: Quarters / Gay Bar / Anantara
Conditions: Offshore winds, not glassy, but pretty nice. Deep. Shapely rights.
I surfed my: 9'1
Memories: Nervous with our first surf, dropped off in the ocean. Waiting out the back trying to scope conditions. The line-up was full of girls. Little dollar fish jumping out of the water. Long trumpet fish leaping over Leeann's head.
Big sets. Definitely bigger than what Leeann and I generally get to surf. Kinda head high+ waves and bigger set waves. 5-7 foot. Not what I was hoping for to ease myself into things!

Best wave: My first was pretty cool, but fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants. Managed a hang 5 before I even knew what was going on. I caught two other long, long rides. It was nice to see the wall and have time to cut back.

Things I Learnt: I need to work on stepping back to the tail to turn. I am brave.

* * * *
Day one and were already onto poo talk. Nothing bonds a group better. I think Brian found us quite amusing as the first all-girl charter he's led. We needed the talk about how you can't flush the toilet paper on the boat, which led to unending questions about the whole process.

We had chicken curry for lunch before heading out for another surf. Maybe not the best stomach-settling meal you could want. The garlic spaghetti with orange chicken and chips for dinner was pretty rad.

Session #2:
Surf spot: Quarters / Gay Bar / Anantara
Conditions were: Same day. Windy, a bit choppy. Lower tide.
I surfed my: 9'1
Memorable Moments: Watching Leeann catch her first decent ride here. Turquoise fish. Mikala with camera, and Alanna almost colliding.

Best Wave: a long right. Good speed. Got in about four turns. Remembered to try and step back.

What I Learnt: better wave judgement and paddle angle for the waves. Nice top turn.

Leeann and I watched the sun go down from the top deck of the boat this arvo. West trade winds blow continuously this time of year so all our breaks will be on the east side of the atolls. Permanent offshore! Had some ballsy bloody waves this morning. Dad would have been proud. A couple of clean up sets were quite alarming :P Just out of nowhere. 

It will take me a while to get used to all the fish that keep leaping out of the water. Everyone is really nice on the boat. And as I said the food has been fantastic. We watched the sunset from the roof/star deck.
Our harbour for the night.

All photos are copyright Hannah Katarski except those reproduced with the permission of Mikala Wilbow Photography. 

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