Surfing the Unknown [An India Surf Travelogue] Day 7 – 9/3/10 – Beaten but not broken !
Undaunted by our last attempt at surfing at Break Water, we were off again to try it out at 5:30 AM. That morning there was low tide and as we approached the break, we were again totally bummed to see nothing happening. Here and there some swell was coming but nothing more than 2 ft. We waited for some time to see if it would get any better but it was useless. We didn’t even bother getting in the water and we left the place after 40 minutes. We now had to make some serious plans about how we would navigate the south part of the island.
The swell forecast was still south-west and we were on the north-east part of the Island. When it wraps itself around the island, the swell loses its power to generate good size waves. It was so frustrating!!! We knew that this Island had good world-class surf but it seemed that everything was against us. We went back to the guest house in silence. Kirtan cracked some jokes now and then, but he was probably the one who was the most bummed out and hungry for the surf. After breakfast, we began to seriously discuss hiring the boat. We had to make a decision in the afternoon. We could spend 2-3 days by boat traveling to the south and the west, then come back and take some day trips to other parts of the island until the 18th. Otherwise, we could just lounge around till the 18th and catch a ship back to Port Blair – but that would mean spending more money here for food and lodging.
We came to know that there was a ship leaving the islands on the 12th to Port Blair and we all agreed that the best option was to try and board that. This meant that we would have to go to the South tomorrow and come back to Campbell Bay on the 12th morning to board the ship that night. We also had to get our tickets and that would prove to be the biggest hurdle. We certainly wanted either deluxe or cabin class tickets. We immediately called John again and told him that we needed the boat to explore the south and west coast and we also wanted to leave the island on the 12th. Could he arrange all this? John said he would call us back…Well, we waited. We waited a bit more. And we waited for a bit more, but John’s call never came. Finally, in desperation, Kunja called him back to find out what was happening. John told Kunja that there were no tickets available for cabin class or deluxe, but bunk class might be available. Kunja and Kirtan were ready to undertake the austerity of bunk class if we could still get a small boat and explore the surf off the coast.
They reckoned that we could make it back on the 12th and leave for Port Blair and in that way, we wouldn’t waste any time and money in Campbell Bay. I was not so happy about being put up in the bunk class. My tolerance would certainly be put to the test – the heat, the stink, the drunkards, the dirty accommodation, plus the time it would take us to reach Port Blair (nearly 50 hours). At the same time, once we had finished our exploration, there wasn’t much to do on this island. It made more sense to leave on the 12th. We decided to go and meet John and decide on something once and for all. We told him that the first thing was to get the tickets for Port Blair on the 12th and we also had to organize a boat for our coastal exploration. John told us that he could arrange a boat with his friend, Koteshwar. We thought of inquiring at the ticket counter about tickets for the 12th, but we came to know that there were no tickets available except for bunk class.
My heart sank! However, suddenly something caught our attention. We heard that there was a bigger ship, Swaraj Deep coming from Chennai to Port Blair which was going via Campbell Bay on the 12th afternoon. When we inquired we discovered that there were plenty of first-class cabins available. That news made my day! At once we decided that we would definitely be leaving on the 12th and John agreed to purchase the tickets for us the next day. The only thing left for us to do now was to finalize our boat trip to Indira Point and the west coast of the island. We met Koteshwar and decided to leave the next morning at 5:00 to the west coast of the island to surf and return to Indira Point and camp for the night. We would surf Indira Point for half a day then start heading back and surf at a few other interesting spots on the south-eastern part of the island.
We would then camp out again for another night and finally return on the 12th morning at around 10:00 am, leaving Great Nicobar at around 2:00 pm. On the completion of our plans, we immediately went out and bought 20 liters of water, some noodles, a couple of bags of vegetables, and other stuff for our daily maintenance on that remote part of the island. In the evening, we had one final meeting with John and Koteshwar about the boat trip and the ship tickets. Everything went according to plan and we gave Koteshwar all the info concerning where we exactly wanted to go, the map, etc. so that he could share it with the crew that would be taking us. We were happy how things had progressed and hoped that we would find good surf in the next couple of days. We were very thankful for all the support and help John provided us with. Not the best yet….but something to ride at the breakwater!