Mentawais: Island time

I had spent two and a half days travelling to the middle of nowhere. Tiredness and irritability had become the norm and it was hot. We had travelled by plane, driven in the back of old vans and endured a horrifying ocean crossing of the Mentawai Straight. During the crossing a freak wave crashed over the bow, forcing water through the hatch and into my bunk. I awoke in terror, thinking we were going down.

We drove our boat for days, surfing secluded reef breaks, eating simple food and waving hello to the occasional local in their small wood canoes. One afternoon, with the swell flat and the wind puffing in the wrong direction, we drove the runabout to an out-of-the-way cove. Lined with coconut-laden palm trees, this beach looked like a place I had dreamt of so many times before.

Spending the next couple of hours walking the beach, following the hermit crabs and swimming to cool off, I decided it was time to venture into the jungle that covered the island like a thick, luscious blanket. The jungle in this part of the world is an unforgiving place but I was in search of one thing…monkeys.

As I delved deeper into the jungle, the breeze disappeared and the humidity increased to an almost unbearable level. Resisting the temptation to turn back, I pushed on as the calls and shrieks from up in the trees reminded me of my purpose. An hour later, and streaming with sweat, I was rewarded with spotting the little creatures I had come to see. As they sat in the tree, they looked down upon me, perhaps wondering who or what I was.

With the sun low in the sky, I made my way out of the jungle and back to the relative comfort of the beach where I was greeted by one of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen. I sat back and reflected on what we had gone through to get to this point. It was all worth it.

Paradise found.
Paradise found.
After battling my way through the jungle, I was lucky enough to see this little guy!
After battling my way through the jungle, I was lucky enough to see this little guy!
Abandoned hut in the jungle.
Abandoned hut in the jungle.
Hermit crabs covered every square foot of this island.
Hermit crabs covered every square foot of this island.
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