Background information about the book
Island Explorer is the name of a ship that was built to discover the remote parts of Indonesia and the surrounding Indian Ocean. This book tells one story of many that would have originated aboard this wild and wonderful vessel. It is a travelogue about a trip through Sumatra to reach that ship and the adventure that followed.
The object of the journey was to go surfing and to find undiscovered waves, but that was only a pretext for the real adventure.
Of course the whole voyage would not have been possible, were it not for the fantasy of a young surfer from Cape Town who decided to build the ship of his dreams and to sail in it to find some of the best waves in the world. Together with his wife Charmaine and a small group of surfers willing to take a chance, Gerhard had spent a year in Sulawesi, negotiating, cajoling and threatening a team of ship builders to build the right craft. It had to be sturdy enough to withstand the storms of the Indian ocean and to negotiate the shallow reefs of the Mentawai Islands. After some months a ship was produced, but in spite of all the hard work involved, they realised that it would be too small. So a new project was started and eventually the Island Explorer was born and then launched into the tranquil waters of Sulawesi. Then she sailed to the wave-rich shores of Sumatra.
Weird characters always make travelling more interesting and we come across many of those in the untamed parts of this vast archipelago of extraordinary tropical islands. A few of them are: Tom, the reclusive Apocalypse Now buff who can recite the whole movie and only comes out at night; a shapely lady who no longer feels comfortable wearing any clothes; the fantasy members of the Swedish National Netball Team and our unstable captain who is slowly going crazy in the equatorial heat, threatening to bring the whole escapade to an uncertain end in the middle of nowhere.
This book is definitely not just for surfers, it will appeal to anybody who enjoys reading about adventure, travel and the tropics as well as to those who love the sea.