‘Twas Just a Dream – Part One


WHILE watching the wave breaking like a knife on to a breadboard of razor-sharp reef, our Australian guide tells us we’re acting as if we’re on death row.

No-one corrects him and it dawns on me at least we may all actually be imagining ourselves as potential red meat between said blade and cutting surface.

“Just wetsuit up, put on a helmet, get out there and see what you think,” he says of One Palm, reputedly one of the fastest and shallowest left-handers in the world.

“Yeah,” I think, watching six foot death detonating on coral I can almost see, “I know exactly what I’ll do when I get out there: not ride the set waves.”

Which is exactly what most of us did, ironically as the smaller swells were breaking shallower, faster and more dangerously.

Olly was taken to hospital the next day after he’d spent the past four lying around the yacht in the foetal position shivering deliriously and trying to sleep off malaria.

The Just Dreaming surfari charter had claimed its first and only victim.

Five days earlier while driving at dizzying speed through small west Javan towns toward the port of Anyer it could have easily claimed all eight of us, before we had even boarded.

We’d left Jakarta about 8pm local time Friday for the three hour drive in two vans filled with Bintang beers and a couple of bottles of overproof rum each.

That’s each van; we’re not alcoholics.

We stared wide-eyed at exotic people and buildings we could see through the darkness and blur created by our Indonesian drivers’ intense attention to the accelerator.

Then we piled out of the vans not an hour from port for a toilet break.

Seven of us were standing, watering the lawn of a foreign culture’s front yard when the remaining one jumped out yelling and waving a bottle of white rum.

I had visions of Jihadist locals descending on us almost understandably bent on machete-borne vengeance for our drunken disrespect.

And apparently so too did one of our number who yelled at him “No! Muslim area! Get back in the car!”

But we all zipped up in time and got away with it.

The rest of the night remains a hazy memory of fear and excitement for everyone.

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