Mentawai Islands Summer 2015

My summer travels this year, consisted of a trip to Macaronis Resort at the Mentawai Islands followed by some time in Bali. It was absolutely the best surf trip I have ever done. From back-hand barrels and hold downs, to beers and banter, the craic was worth the million hour trek it took to get there. So here is a little taste of the experience first-hand, with some photos and a video clip along the way.

Getting There

 The best thing about packing for a trip to Indo is the fact that you need hardly anything as you end up living in bikinis. So I packed 3 Quiver surfboards, Bikinis, Boardshorts, and  Billabong Surf Capsules along with Surfersskin sun screen and I was ready to go! The worst part about getting to this paradise, wasn't the flights from Dublin - Jakarta - Padang or the overnight stay in Padang, but more so the fourteen hour Ferry journey from Padang to Sikipah. Shortly after been picked up by Maca's staff in a luxurious van with a DVD of Maca's pumping surf playing in the back and getting excited to surf, we arrived at the ferry terminal. After travelling for days, all you want to do is sleep, however, if you are squeamish like me you might want to keep one eye open to spot the never-ending appearance of cockroaches and you might want to leave the light on to keep the furry friends away from your cabin too! So don't forget to grab some cockroach spray!
The Resort

Apart from that minor blip at the start, we rocked up to a world of paradise and immediately fell in love with Island. Our trip was a once in a lifetime kind of adventure that leaves a permanent happy dent in your memory. Macaroni's Resort was nothing far from spectacular, from the beautiful accommodation at the resort to the stunning surroundings of the little private island and the most friendly and accommodating staff. A lot of people say that what matters hugely to the enjoyment level on a surf trip of this nature, is who you share the experience with, and luckily for me and Darren, we got to spend the twelve days with some of the nicest people we have ever met and surfed with.We have made some good friends and have some new places to look forward to visiting around the world. Before the surfing started it was already shaping up to be an epic adventure.

Each day consisted of surfing 3-4 times a day and eating amazing food. If you were surfing through breakfast or lunch, a quick radio message from the boat meant you had your breakfast cooked and waiting for you when you arrived in..(now that's a resort that understands surfers!). The dinner was always a treat, between barbecues and local cuisine, with something different each night, usually eaten while the resorts talented photographer displayed all the photos from that day onto the big screen, where everyone hooted and cheered and laughed at the epic barrels and wipe outs that were had that day. If you felt like checking the surf from your resort or even your bed, you can flick on the tv in the room, to see guys getting barrelled as your eating breakie or lunch. We were totally spoiled!

The Surf

The surf was literally pumping every day! I was super lucky to score Maca's at it best! I was, however the only girl in the line -up and apparently the 3rd girl out there since last year, but I didn't let it stop me paddling hard for waves like everyone else. The crowds were often difficult to manage but I was happy to see that the guys stopped dropping in when they could see I meant business and had a little more respect! If you sit too deep you can look forward to some reef encounters, but if you don't paddle deep enough, you might not make it onto the next set...So it was good fun figuring this out and getting used to the mechanically peeling wave. 

A few days in, I was getting jittery about a massive swell arriving and thinking maybe I should surf inside Maca's instead, but with a bit of encouragement from the guys, I paddled only out on the bigger day and despite getting a few bad hold downs, I managed to mostly escape the reef. This shook me a little but then I thought it can't get much worse than I was glad I stayed out and tried again, as the guys called me into some set waves and I got some of the best bombs of my life

I snapped a board almost in two but simply didn't care...I just worried about how quick I could get back out with my other board! It really helped having such an amazing group of staff and people on the same trip, as everyone would  hoot and cheer each other on the waves and from the boat. The vibe was so chilled and there was no aggression in the water. I consider myself very lucky to have had this experience here, as I have heard it can often be quite aggro. Each evening, beers and stories of barrels and wipe-outs would  be shared on the boat journey back to resort, usually in the dark.

Other Spots

There are lots of other spots that the resort offer to take people too, however Maca's was so good for the time that we were there that we rarely left. It also helped that Maca's wave is exclusive to the resort and only two other boats, So it will never get too badly crowded. Inside Maca's, which is only a paddle away, is a more forgiving and user friendly wave, despite been over shallower reef, where you can get endless turns on one wave. However, I felt main Maca's was pumping too much to miss it and decided to keep pushing my surfing out there instead.
The other waves we surfed included Macas Right, which was fun but not as good as Maca's left, and also a day trip to Roxies, which was a really fun right hander, occupied by only one other boat, who left shortly after we arrived. So we got some fun ones there to ourselves and got to see some of the other spots along the way!

Other Things to Do

If you ever felt tired of surfing (as if!!) or your partner doesn't surf, there is plenty of things to do in and around the resort such as stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, fishing, snorkeling etc. You could venture off through the mangroves beside the resort, where you can encounter so much sea life through the crystal clear shallow waters. The resort dog, Roxy, who was pregnant, also enjoyed hopping on the front of our kayaks or boards and coming along for the paddle.The snorkeling was amazing and there was so much to see. Then again, I never get tired of snorkeling as it's not exactly something we get to enjoy in Ireland's colder waters, so it's always a treat. There was also the option to go spear fishing too.

There was also a beginner wave nearby called Fish Fingers, which is actually so much fun for both beginners and non beginners and I had hours of fun there too. Actually come to think of it, I hardly ever left the water!!

Another highlight of the trip, had to be when we visited the closest village on a nearby island which had been in recent years hit by a Tsunami and washed away. Here we brought some toys and gifts for the local kids, who were so excited to see us and show us around their village.You could see it was only been built back up and they didn't have much. They were so poor and had so little that it made me really appreciate everything. One little girl grabbed my hand and didn't leave my side until we had to go. the loved having there photos taken and then seeing them on the screen straight away. What amazing friendly happy people. Donations can be made to the village when you are at the resort!

Funniest Memory
I was paddling back out after a wave one evening, and looked into a wave to see someone getting a sick stand up barrel and feeling stoked for him...only he was butt naked!!! The hoots and cheers from his mates on the nearby boat explained a lot... He paddles out after and says (still naked) "Sorry about that love"...I had to reply.. "that's okay...good show!"

When the dream trip finally came to an end, we headed to Bali for a while to end our trip. Were so sad to say goodbye to everyone and our little Island home. I really miss the island life, the banter, beers, crab races, guitar playing and singing and most of all the epic people and the surf! Feels weird sitting here, typing this in Ireland and thinking back to such a faraway paradise that seems like another lifetime. I hope to return there one day but if not I have the memories to last! 
Photo by Darren Doheny
Photo Credit: Allie Caitlyn
Photo Credit: Allie Caitlyn
Photo Credit: Camilla Pederson

Photo Credit: Allie Caitlyn

Hope you enjoyed reading. Check out the video footage of the trip below, which is also mixed in with some Maldives footage from a trip I did a little later on. Follow me on 
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 Video of Mentawai Islands and Maldives Summer 2015