25 Aug TSS Journal 1606/ Discovering New Destinations in the Indonesian Archipelago
Greetings! I am back. After an astounding seven weeks of fun, thrills, and fascination, I am home in the California Gold. Here is the tale of our new surfing destination ⎯ one that has made the TSS list.
This past July, I was fortunate to get some downtime and traveling in before prime time at Nihiwatu. This window of opportunity led me to explore some new waters and surf. Always willing to take the leap of faith, find a pot of gold and happy place, my family, Nancy and Indira, accompanied me deeper into the Ring of Fire (aka the Indonesian Archipelago), seeking a small island we have always heard about.
After two plane rides and a night in Kupang (due to some rainy weather), we finally landed on Rote. Any airport with one runway, one luggage carousel, and smiling faces in the terminal, ranks high on my list.
Rote is mostly a flat volcanic island covered in swaying palms, large green fields, and small rural villages. Our first impression is that Rote is a clean and tidy island. Houses and yards are clearly well-maintained, showing pride in ownership. Because of the Christian influence that permeates most of the island, we agree that here, Godliness is next to cleanliness.
We notice how genuinely nice, happy, and chill the local islanders are. Ear-to-ear smiles welcomed us everywhere we turned. Cows, goats and pigs appeared everywhere, ducking in and out of the yards and streets, keeping the traffic slow on roads that are mostly traveled by motorbike.
Our first glimpse of the ocean, after making our way from the airport, was a true stoker ⎯ shocking blue with green lagoons and outer reefs with plums of offshore. We notice a wave, a quarter of a mile out, firing left down a reef. We see surfers slashing up and down. Local boats dot the channel, waiting for their return clients. We arrive in the small village of Nerembala, known for it’s wave T-Land. What we see, so far, is outstanding: a perfect left and a reef point that is long and fun with numerous take-off points that can accommodate a big range of surfers and skill levels.
Checking into our digs, ten miles down the road from the main village, we are again shocked at the beauty of the people, the vibe, and the location. Our cliffside, eco-villa is stunning. We find several beautiful buildings. Within the compound, we admire thatched roofs, teakwood, ladders into lofts, an open air common area, and creatively designed outside showers. All of this is perfectly perched on a bluff overlooking my new- found surf love.
Bare bones luxury is my newest Terry-ism. Does Swiss family Robinson ring a bell? My room is a tree house with an insane view of the wave and beach. I shuffle down a staircase to use my outdoor bathroom and sea breezes blow on my face. I like it that way, open to everything and the sound of waves to knock me out at night.
There are no resorts like Nihiwatu or The Four Seasons on Rote ⎯ yet. But, for sure, there are several villa options and a few different levels of surf camps/hotels that will fit every budget. What else do I look for in a new area to add to my TSS list? I’m getting older and I want a different road to nirvana than a gasping barrel that kicks my ass. I prefer an easier road to retirement and prosperity. As my ego slowly fades with the realization that “I’m not all that” any more, I see things through different eyes. I don’t want a mushy wave, but I don’t want any more battle scars either. I seek a fine blend of thrilling but safe, fast and furious, warm and fuzzy. I might have a few big days left in me but what I remember the most at the end of the day is how much fun I had with my family and friends. Situated not too far from Bali, we have found the next chapter in our surfer-life evolution. From stand-up barrels, to long offshore lefts, to a hidden secret harbor, this island truly has something for everyone. Did I mention that our two-bedroom villa is about $300 a night with meals, a car and driver? Here are some photos of our first adventure to this island paradise. I hope you enjoy them and decide to come with us some day to a road less traveled, but not too far off the grid. We are in love and we just met. Welcome to Rote.
Email me for more trip details.