Maybe The Search is over? Maybe it’s already been found?” – muses Conner.“Not bloody likely” - The Ocean responds. Our guide has just caught wind of a swell about to hit a day south of here, so we quickly snap out of our spoiled reverie and re-board the boat. In the distance, storm clouds dance above deep turquoise seas and a feeling of electricity sweeps over us all. As we raise the anchor and set sail for the vast unknown, Mick snaps a sunset selfie with a beer in hand and texts it to Gabby, “Wish you were here brother”.
Just before our reception dies and all ties to civilisation are lost, he responds with a disheveled portrait of someone who has just travelled for 48 hours and is in dire need of a shower. I think it’s pretty safe to say that he wishes he were too.
It’s 9am on Day Three and we’re sunburnt and out of sorts. The wave we just travelled 8 hours to surf isn’t exactly the 5-6ft slab that the forecast promised, and we’re about as far away from any alternatives as anyone on the planet.
By late afternoon, the boredom becomes unbearable and Wilko and Conner commandeer the dinghy in search of something, anything, to keep it at bay. Across the channel they find a tugboat carrying a concrete barge that’s run aground on shallow reef. Our guide says it used to be a good left, but the tugboat fairly well fucked it. Still, it’s not that often that you get to surf a wave that has a concrete barge in the middle of it, so the boys paddle in to see what they can make of it.
At first? Not much. The barge seems to sap the energy from the wave, leaving it wobbly and weak. Mick soon decides to approach it from another angle, and with a board in hand and nothing but an algae covered rope for support, he scrambles his way to the top of the barge and jumps onto the wave from above. Wilko and Conner follow suit, and the afternoon becomes a fierce battle of who can do the most impressive barge jump without breaking their knees. It’s not the most conventional surf shoot I’ve ever witnessed, but hey, at least it keeps us sane.
It’s 9am on Day Four and nobody has had a wink of sleep. Every boat trip has that one night where shit is flying out of cupboards and somebody is violently ill, and last night was our night. Since the swell dropped in the Southern Atolls, we made the decision to start the long journey north in the hopes of scoring Lohis or Sultans before it fades to nothing.
Mother Nature howled prophetically all through the night, so it’s little surprise when we arrive to 1ft waves and rain so thick you could actually drown.