Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Exploring Java Part I
West Java is often referred to as "The Wild West" since far less is known about the area than other parts of Indonesia, particularly Bali. While some breaks are gaining popularity quickly with international coverage, the rest of the coastline has not been extensively explored. This is primarily due to the difficulty of access and the lack of resources outside of the main cities. Geoff, Ruby, and I did some exploring around the coast during the several maxed out days of surf. Our first trip took us down the coast to a fickle left point break.You can see the break from the cliff as you look across a large field of rice paddies (the photo above was taken from the shoreline). The break may begin to work once large southwest swells reach the coast, but only if the tide and wind conditions are cooperating. The bottom is covered with rock boulders. As shown below, the water near shore has a significantly different color than further out to sea. This is due to the river that terminates just up the coast from the break, demonstrating the lack of environmental concern and sanitation that plagues Indonesia. It was very hard to see such a beautiful and pristine place with such poor water quality. I would have to say it was the dirtiest water I have ever subjected myself to, including the sewage spill off Blacks in San Diego when I ended up with inner, middle, and out ear infections in both ears. After debating whether the surf was worth the risk of illness, we decided to paddle out for a surf (we jokingly said we would just jump in above the point, paddle down, catch one wave, and head in). We threaded our way through the rice paddies, balancing on the small hand-built walls of mud that separate the flooded pools. Rice paddies are fascinating and ingeniously designed to allow the water to flow from one area to the next while maintaining adequate water levels. When I jumped into the water, the various reef cuts on my feet immediately begin to tingle, which I knew wasn't a good sign. After discovering that the waves were better than they looked, we ended up staying in the water for nearly two hours before finally heading in. After a quick lunch, we headed back to our hotel for some sanitation in the heavily chlorinated pool.