Alone in West Sumatra
Age 19 I decided to head out to West Sumatra to document some of the destructive ways of fishing. Upon my arrival I quickly noticed the potential West Sumatra has, mostly unpolluted by the backpacking community and posh westernised hotels, most parts are untouched.
Also known as "blue Lake" it's a tourist attraction for locals, easily accessible by moped, the steep rocky roads made it pretty difficult for our front wheeled drive Zuzuki to make it up the mountain.
A local friend of mine suggested this place and claimed it would take us about 40min to get from Padang to this lake. what he forgot to mention that the 40cm deep potholed gravel roads would allow the car to go no after than 10mph, and instead of getting there for noon, we ended up getting there for around 4pm.
No sign posts means relying on local intel or following a few selfie stick driven local tourists on bikes, which often means getting to your destination with a flat tire or an extra dent on your car.
The view from this lake where however worth every minute of our drive and not to mention the £0.50 parking fee enforced by two primary school children.
The calm before the Storm
A few hours south of the main island Siberut is a surf camp, located on a tiny island overlooking some incredible landscape.
One of the first things that fascinated me about the weather in Indonesia is that it's very extreme. Unlike in Europe where you can have days of mild miserable drizzle. The rain usually comes with very little warning and stops you in your tracks, turning towns in to lakes and roads in to rivers in matters of minutes.
Harau Valley, the moment you drive trough the gates of the park, 50m walls of rock greet you.
The valley is also home to some of the only climbing in West Sumatra, bolts cover the pristine slaby rock making it safer for climbers to get a view very few people ever get to see.
In need of a 4x4
Getting hold of a private owned rental car is easy enough however, private owned cars are usually something along the lines of this Suzuki, after a few hours of steep rugged paths, leading up to a lake the sound of air escaping a tire was inevitable.
Little did I know that the spare tire was in fact already shredded and in no way would hold any air, so I was left to ride down the mountain on a completely flat tire.
The views where however incredible and there was very little to complain about.
A rainy day
South East Asia is well know for its torrential down pours, we had just finished some study work on a few different small islands just outside of Padang, when the rain came in.
It wasn't long before we got picked up and where heading back to find our car, upon our arrival we noticed that the whole town had been flooded by a foot of water, from the rain which had only been going for about 30min. Knowing that we had a crazy steep hill to get back over in our front wheeled Hyundai we hustled to get out of town and up what had become a river. after a few tries our car made it and we where well on our way back home.
This rain carried on for another two days at which point even Padang had two foot of water in the houses. It wasn't a pretty sight.
Throwing the line
This hand made gills net stretches for a km along the seabed, before throwing the net in, the captain finds a flat bit of seafloor preferably with not a lot of coral, as they rip open the nets. After studying the sonar for a few minutes, he shouts and the action follows, like a machine the boys assemble and start throwing out the line, at first I thought the net could be no longer than 100m as I could not imagine having the patience to knot 10 times that. However the net kept on coming for about 25minutes. They sink it to a depth of around 40m
Arial footage of Bali and West Sumatra.