I had heard of it for years. Ever since I started roaming up and down the California coastline people talked about the area. ‘Have you ever been? You should go…’ I had never been nor knew much of it, but recently a couple friends of mine talked about making the trek. North to south. They wanted to hike the 25 miles of rugged coastline with gear and surfboards on their backs in hopes to get away and score some waves. They called it “The Lost coast,” as there were no direct roads that ventured there. When they built highway one years ago they had to divert the road inland 30 miles due to the treacherous landscape of the area. This, without mankind’s footprint, made for beautiful stretches of pristine beaches and naturally provided a home to a multitude of wildlife that freely roam the land including black bear and a family of elk. This truly was one of the last wild frontiers left on this continent where one could get away and get lost for a while.
Although I had never been on any sort of overnight backpacking hike, I immediately asked If I could join them. I knew it would be rough but figured I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, it may never come again Right? I trusted my friend for this type of adventure. They had a lot more experience than I did and had just recently climbed mount Whitney with ice picks. I thought “well if there’s anyone I would wanna go on this trip with, it’s these two.” They had all the equipment, I had nothing. I owned a backpack and some camping essentials but as far as boots and an actual overnight long-distance hiking pack I had nothing. It wasn’t climbing a mountain with ice picks, but I had heard of the miles and miles of unforgiving terrain and with a 30 pound back and surfboard strapped to my back I knew it was going to be a big test of my will and mind. I decided to use my head and do as much research as possible to prepare my head for the trip. I asked friends and spent hours searching google. To my surprise there wasn’t much. This worried me a bit, why weren’t more people doing it? Supposedly there was possibility of surf along the way, but was it worth lugging a board 25 miles just to find out? I quickly found out the hard part wasn’t so much the weight of your board, but the fact that it acts like a sail when the winds pick up, which is often. Besides finding that out, I read another article that highly recommended against beginner hikers attempting the feat. What the hell was I getting myself into? I said aw screw it and stayed on board.
I began gathering my things that I did have, and reached out to a few companies for the things I didn’t. Teva gave me a pair of hiking boots that worked really well for the trek. Surf Durt gave us surf screen for our face and Bare Essientials hooked us up with sunscreen for the long miles under the sun. Everything else I had or borrowed.
My gear list looked something like this
6’2” G&S single fin surfboard
4/3 patagonia wetsuit
Large Coleman backpack
Minimal cooking gear ( the food and cooking items were shared between all 3 of us)
1/3 of the food ( mostly dehydrated meals and snacks )
Cannon ae-1 film camera & 4 rolls of film
Small first aid kit
One pair of pants, one pair of boardshorts, three tee shirts, one long sleeve button up, a crewneck, three pairs of socks, a beanie and a hat.
A water bottle and filter. ( To keep filled with filtered spring water along the way )
My friends-I met Ryder and Mario at their place in Encinitas and we planned on leaving early morning the next day. We cruised out before the sun rose to beat the always gnarly LA traffic and made pretty good headway our first day making it all the way up to San Francisco. This was as far as we could make it so we stopped at a buddy’s and crashed on the floor for the night. The next day we woke early and made the next stretch towards Mattole Beach, the beginning of the Lost Coast hike. Fifteen hours of drive time later, we pulled into a small dirt parking lot near the beach with a flat tire and began unloading our gear. We decided to fix the tire right there and then because we all knew there was no way we were going to want to fix it right after a four-day hike.
At this point in the story I’m going to let you in on the fact that at this time, we had no clue on how we would return to our car after we ended our 25-mile journey south of where we started. We talked about hitch hiking back up, but didn’t know how much traffic went through the area or how easy it would be if we got back super late one night. We knew of a shuttle that picks up hikers and brings them back north but our stingy asses were hesitant on making a pickup request as we knew they charged $80 per person. Deciding to take our chances and wing it, we double checked our gear and shoved last minute items into any place we could find space and took our first few steps toward the beach. We all knew at this point there was no turning back, we were on our way to becoming conquerors of the “Lost Coast.”
The first hour of walking we quickly understood the harshness of the elements we would be living with for the next four days. Between the heat of the sun, the ever-changing ground beneath our feet and the high winds that thankfully pushed at our backs, we knew it was going to be a real test of will.
On a positive note, we were surrounded by beauty, we had each other, water, food and high spirits. The three of us were born for adventure. It runs through our blood and we all felt calm knowing that with each of our skill sets, we could pretty much figure out anything that came along, as long as nobody got hurt.
After trekking six hours our first day, getting lost, stopping for smoke and snack breaks along the way, we made our first camp at a spot above sea level called “Sea Lion Gultch.” Or as I like to call it, “Monster Bay.” All we could hear all night was the monstrous roars of the male sea lions that would have kept any kid up with the assumption that they were soon to be devoured. Somehow, we slept soundly and woke up to an amazing sunrise that truly made us feel alive and rejuvenated. We broke down camp, filled our water bottles at the stream just below, and made our way further south. One of the biggest threats and challenges of this trip was making sure we had plenty of time to cross the “impassable zones.” There was plenty of fair warning and we knew of the danger if we happened to get trapped in one of these high tide zones. We always made sure to give ourselves plenty of time to make it though while the tide was low.
Making it through one of the biggest impassible zones on the hike, we began nearing our second camp at Spanish Flats, a wide-open flat area with driftwood sprawled about everywhere. We found a man-made driftwood fort and decided to use it as a home for the night. We beat the mid-day heat by trying to surf although the lack of waves, thick wetsuits, and freezing cold water made for a unique experience. So far, it wasn’t the surf adventure we had hoped it may be. Although our legs and bodies were tired and beat by the sun, we remained positive, eased our muscles with whisky and smoke, enjoyed the wild landscape surrounding us and trekked further south the next morning.
This was by far one of the toughest days for us. The winds were pushing us in all directions, not at our backs like the first two days. Our legs and shoulders were tired and beat and we were running low on food. All we wanted to do was make it to our next camp where we knew there was a possibility of decent surf. We took a lot of small breaks getting there, even stopping for a swim in a stream along the way, finally making it to “Big Flat.”
Arriving early in the day, we knew we were there by the topography of the land. It was big, and flat, and there was ten times more driftwood scattered about than any place we had passed before. Wild deer were seen peacefully grazing here and there, they were some of the first wildlife we had seen other than the sea lions and a rattlesnake that was just trying to hide from the heat. At this point in the trip, we only ran into a few other hikers, making it easy to pick and choose were we wanted to set up camp. Being that nobody was around when we arrived we found the biggest driftwood fort around and made ourselves at home. We quickly unpacked our gear and made our way to the swimming hole that sits just above the ocean. Taking a dip and relaxing our muscles we soon saw other hikers arriving from the north and south. One of the first few people we met was a young father and son who were hiking south to north, the opposite of us. We greeted them and began chatting about the beauty of this place. They mentioned they were a family of avid hikers and had done this section previously. During conversation, I mentioned our predicament about not knowing how we were getting back to our car. At one point while chatting, I chirped up and said “we should give you our keys and you give us yours!” It seemed like a logical idea although at this point we were all strangers. There was no way some random person was going to give us his keys to drive his car 2 hours back to the start of the trail. Or was there?
We ended the conversation and made our way back to the fort to head out for a surf. There were small waves peeling but we had no clue if they were breaking because of shallow rock or reef. Deciding to find out, I made my way down to the shore and ran into the father and son again. The father quickly spoke up and said, “you know what, I’ve been thinking about what you were saying, I think you guys should take my car keys and drive back up to your car. You can just hide the keys around my car somewhere and that way we have our car when we finish up and you guys can get back to your car.” I was so taken back by the kind gesture of this man that I totally forgot to even mention it to Ryder and Mario until hours later. After the numbing and sketchy surf over a rocky coastline at low tide we unsuited and began making dinner. I finally mentioned, “Oh guys! Great news! I completely forgot to tell you this but that guy said we can take his car!”
Of course, the boys were stoked and we felt comfort in knowing the outcome of our previous dilemma. We made our way over to their camp and grabbed the keys to a newer BMW, thanking them over and over for being so trusting. After exchanging information, we headed back to lay our heads down for a good night’s rest. I have never felt so much pain in my legs as I did that evening and worried if my body could handle the long stretch to the finish, but thankfully I slept well under the stars that night and woke the next morning fully rested and ready to keep moving south.
On our last day we awoke early at the glimpse of sunlight peaking over the tree covered mountain side. Packing up our things and saying goodbye to our driftwood fort we started on our final section south to Shelter Cove. After three days of hiking, our bodies had taken a beating. It was the hottest day of the trip; our minds were strong but no one was acting tough anymore. We took lots of little breaks in between long miles of sand and shared the last few sips of whisky and snacks with a few other hikers we met that day. After a long 8 miles of walking on sand we finally made it to Shelter Cove. It was the ending point for us but thankfully had been the beginning for the father and son, which proved great for us knowing we had a car waiting in the parking lot above the beach.
Although we were finished with the 25-mile hike, we knew we still had a long drive home to San Diego. We stayed with friends on the way back down, some in Santa Cruz and some in Los Angeles. We all felt that this adventure wouldn’t have been possible without good people helping us along the way. With that in mind, we offered to give the few people that completed the hike with us a ride back north to Mattole Beach in the BMW that wasn’t ours. We knew the owner wouldn’t mind, he would appreciate the ongoing kindness. As soon as we delivered the car and got ours back, we texted him and thanked him for his generosity. It was an amazing way to end such an epic journey and we couldn’t wait to see and share the photos and stories from our adventure along the Lost Coast.
Words and Film photography by Dylan Bellingan.
If you follow our social media you've probably seen amazing images coming from all over the Indonesian islands. As part of our "Back to Bali" spring / summer 2018 collection, we thought it would be a good opportunity to feature one of the guys we met while we were out there in 2016. We got to chatting randomly one day while on the island of Lombok about camera gear and photography, we kept in touch and have been following Hernan's travels while frothing over the images he has been creating. We decided to catch up with him through whats-app to see what he's been up to in the past couple years.
D - Yo man! It's been a while! The last time we saw each other was in a little cafe on the island of Lombok. How have you been and where are you?
H- Hey Dylan! Thank you for getting in touch with me. I've been really good just still stuck here in this tropical paradise they call Lombok, Bali's little sister. Most know it for a wave here called Desert Point.
D- It's been two years since we were there, have you left Indo or have you been there the whole time?
H- I left twice to go visit family and friends in Argentina but Indo is a hard place to leave. I have island fever, the fact that there are waves every single day makes this chill life so pleasing.
D- Your photos are epic, they really capture the vibes of the place in a unique way. I remember chatting to you about camera gear and all that, you had a pretty simple Nikon dslr back then, are you still rocking the same camera or have you upgraded to something else?
H- Still rocking the same shitty Nikon 3300. I don't care to much about gear and I hate tripods and filters. I'm to lazy to carry more than two lenses and this camera is so light that I can take it anywhere and if it falls in the sand I don't care. Sometimes I'll use an old 35mm Yashica.
D- You shoot a ton of surf lifestyle stuff, how long have you yourself been surfing?
H- Well I came to Indo to learn how to surf about two years ago, so since then I have been surfing. Before I had a pretty different lifestyle living in La Pampa regin of Argentina ( country side) and the closest wave was like ten hours drive from my house, but hey at least the wine and steak is good!
D- What are you usually riding these days? Single fin?
H- Yea I mainly ride my single fin but have been getting more into logging. The spots are getting busy here since Bali is chaos so I need to catch waves faster.
D- Back when we met you were new to the island and we were talking about shooting photos for free food and stay, is that still the gig or are you funding your adventures in other ways now?
H- It's been about a year since my last photography job and now I'm busy managing a cafe here but I'm getting some work again here soon so I'll be back in the game.
D- What's the scariest thing that has happened to you while traveling around Indonesia?
H- Probably just a day surfing Mawi. It's a funky left but has the most beautiful beach I've seen in my life. Most of my photos are from around there, it's a really special place with a special energy. I went out so many times on big days when I had no idea what I was doing. I really learned to surf and respect the ocean there.
D- Any favorite surf spots? You don't have to say..
H- My favorite spot is anywhere I can grab coffee in the morning and surf 3-5 foot waves with friends.
D- What's next for you Hernan? Any plans on coming to Southern California?
H- Haha, if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans, that's my quote... but I do have some road trip dreams in my head. I'm deciding between Portugal, Spain and Morocco, or British Columbia all the way down the west coast to Oaxaca.
D- Thanks for chatting dude! Hope to see you sooner than later! Yew!
H- Thank you bro!
See more of Hernan's work below and give him a follow him on instagram here.
Check our our mini " Back to Bali " look book with photos and a little insight on design inspiration.
While eating burritos in Encinitas after a pop up event with Seaweed & Gravel, I saw two little groms with their parent's at the table next to us. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a few stickers and handed them to the mom. She thanked me and handed them to the boys as they began trying to peel the vinyl from the backing and slap them onto the skateboard helmets sitting next to them. I sat back down and continued eating. A few minutes later the mother came up to our table and invited us to come to their campground called "The Holidays." She explained that they owned a few 1960's style vintage trailers situated in the San Clemente State Beach campground and invited us to come stay for a couple nights in the near future.
I had heard of The Holidays CA. I had seen their instagram before and wanted to contact them in the past but for whatever reason I didn't. Lucky for us, It happened more naturally and that's how we like it. We stayed in touch with them and set a date a month later for a couple nights stay where we would shoot content for our fall/winter vibes.
1960's Shasta camper's. We had a blast sleeping in these and wondered if they would let us just stay forever.
Surf, Jam, live in a van (or trailer).
The plan was to hang out, surf, drink some beer and enjoy nights around the campfire. This is basically how we have always planned our "shoots." They are never serious and nothing is ever too planned. When you go about getting shots this way it can be a lot more difficult, but can also produce some very real imagery that looks un-posed and organic. By keeping this easy going vibe it stays true to our brand. VIVA is based off of the lives my friends and I live, so there is no need for fake or unrealistic situations. I usually just wait for the right natural lighting and have my camera's (film and digital) always close by.
Co- Owner, Steve Wolfman getting the fire ready as the evening began to cool.
Steve wearing the new "Monster Wave" pocket tee.
Nothing better. Shot by Eze Zaccardi
Hanging around the fire. Shot by Eze Zaccardi
The days were spent surfing, playing tennis on the beach, drinking Tecate's and taking lots of photos. Simple living at it's finest. Both photo's shot by Eze Zaccardi.
We aren't a gang, but you probably shouldn't mess with us... HA. Shot by Eze Zaccardi.
We enjoy the simple things in life. Shot by Eze Zaccardi.
A short and hilarious edit presented by VIVA LA VACAY for the release of their new STAY SINGLE tee. Grab the shirt in our online shop.
FRIENDS AND THE HAPPENINGS AROUND US. These images were taken in Sunny San Diego on an old Minolta film camera with 35mm lens that contained expired black and white film. Shot by founder Dylan Bellingan as a part of the "Viva Film Club" series.
STAY SINGLE THIS SUMMER. #staysingle.
It had been almost six months since the last Baja adventure, so with the new arrival of the Spring/Summer collection and a willing group of friends we headed south for a few days to shoot the new line and have some fun. The initial plan was that there would be around twenty of us, or more; a mix of surfers, rock climbers and photographers. We would also be trekking about four hours past the border - this wasn’t going to be a little trip down to La Fonda. The main issue with a huge crew like that is the amount of vehicles you need to take. It’s easy to get lost down there and you can't rely on your GPS to get you around. You need a traditional paper map of Baja or the know-how to get down to these places.
We packed up the vans and trucks and headed to the local grocery store for the essentials. Once we packed the rigs with food, water, wood, and beer we left the parking lot with a convoy of four vehicles and nine people. The rest would be meeting us there later that evening. Nearing the border, we tried to keep the group together as we approached the border crossing. Every vehicle ( three vans and one truck ) was pulled into secondary inspection with the signaled wave of a border patrol officer - something we have become oddly used to. Steve’s black truck was briefly looked over and cleared and then our van was cleared to go shortly after. Steve quickly drove off and got away from the border crossing as fast as he could while we waited for our friends. While waiting, another guard came by and gestured for us to go into another inspection where they drive your van up onto a huge scanning machine. “Señor we have already been cleared, we are just waiting on our amigos.” He didn’t care and slapped a piece of paper onto our windshield. Our friends we were waiting for had just been cleared to go but because they had no idea where they were going they just followed us onto the line for the scanner. It ended up being that we were given the green light to go but because we waited around for the others, 3 out of the 4 vehicles in the convoy went through this large machine for no reason. This will be the last time we wait for a vehicle while already being cleared to go. Half an hour later we all made it through and found Steve and his girlfriend Maria waiting patiently for us just outside the border on the Mexico side. This is something we wished we had also done but hey, you live and you learn especially in Mexico.
The first stop would obviously be for tacos and beer, something that stays pretty constant while we’re down there. We all made it to La Fonda and quickly cracked a few cold ones while walking over to the two taco stands. I snapped a few shots on my digital and film camera while we were hanging out and eating however the lighting sucked, so my attention quickly turned back to more tacos and another beer. After the grub-down and much needed stop we made the long trek to our coastal destination about three hours further down highway. We passed through the bustling towns, through the mountains and green wine country of Baja California and then slowly back towards the coast. Finally, we made the right turn down the bumpy dirt road we knew would deliver us to our camp. Ben, who was driving his van and letting me ride along as co-pilot, asked me to take the wheel while he put his new drone up in the air for some footage. “Stop, stop, stop, I lost it. You have to reverse.” I heard this three or four times while making our way down the dusty road. Every time I would start backing up slowly until the drone finally found connection to the control, a really funny thing to watch as my good friend kept loosing and then finding his new toy.
An hour later we saw the blue hues of the ocean and knew we were getting close to our desolate desintation. We arrived at our usual spot shortly after, but then quickly decided to relocate further up the hill because of the high winds. We passed through the small fishing village that is an occasional seasonal home to a few families, passed the lighthouse and then made our way to a clearing near the edge of the cliffside. There is nothing out there except for the small fishing village and a very odd cult like “layer” that looks more like a theme park owned by TVIND further south in the distance. We pointed our binoculars that direction a few times to get a closer look at the weirdness but couldn’t see much except the colorful rooftops.
Once our camp was set up, ( a mixture of tents and camper vans ) I began to work on the fire as the evening was nearing an end. We took to the Tecate’s and things got weird pretty quickly. After an amazing meal of stew, potatoes and chicken cooked over the open fire, we all began making our way to our temporary sleeping quarters and hit the hay after a long day of travel.
I woke up early the next morning to the light as it began peeking over the hill. Everyone else was still sleeping so I used the time to walk around and snap a few photos as the day was beginning to start. I ended up going back to sleep after a while and waking up once I heard the others start to rise.
After a healthy breakfast of Tecate’s and fruit, we looked at the surf and decided to head out even though the conditions were meager. We realized the other group of friends who were supposed to be meeting us hadn’t arrived yet and so we assumed they were most likely not showing up. The three surfers out of the group ( Ben, Steve, and myself ) suited up and walked through the fishing village and down to the boat launch where it was easier to get around the rocks and into the break. Although offshore, the winds were high and waves tiny. Every wave I tried to take off on I would just get slapped in the face with cold water as the winds forced spray over the tops of the waves. It was frustrating. Steve and I decided to paddle all the way around the point to another point further north but had no luck there either. Eventually we made our way back a bit defeated but still stoked. The surf sucked but we were still having an epic time in a gorgeous and desolate place with some of our best friends. Nothing could take that away from us.
That evening while getting lifestyle shots for the new line we made friends with some of the young kids that were in the village. They were stoked to see us out there , camping, surfing and flying a drone around which I am sure was a first for them. We ended up giving them all sunglasses that day, a sure way to make friends for life in Mexico.
After a dinner consisting of tacos filled with whatever leftovers we had, we began lighting dead cactus trees on fire and whirling them around and then finally off the cliffside into the ocean. I am still not sure what they are, resembling a Joshua Tree like and stubby palm tree, but they catch a blaze very easily once dead and are very fun to hurl around in the night sky. Just don’t try this in the United States.
We woke early that next day and began packing up our camp, there was nothing good as far as the surf was concerned so we decided to slowly make our way back up north while eating a few roadside snacks along the way. When the surf sucks in Mexico you can always bank on finding food that doesn’t. After filling up on tacos and tamales, we got ready for the trek back to the border. We decided to avoid the border crossing we came in on and go through another route; a wise move on our part which saved us a good hour or two. All four vehicles made it back with zero issues, it seems it’s easier to get back into the States than to get into Mexico, at least for us American’s. Our bellies were full, eyes heavy, and bodies drained of energy from the past few days, feelings that are only cured by long naps, lot’s of water and healthy food.
Mexico seems to always take so much out of us, but after a few day’s back we all quickly realize how much joy and experience we get out of each and every trip. All different, all exciting, all scary at times and all filled with zero regret.
Words and uncredited images by Dylan Bellingan.
We have recently been hanging out with our friends Frank and Ty who travel around in their van and sell curated vintage men's clothing ( @twoguysgoodbuys ) around the country and online. When they aren't scouring the thrift stores they are shooting photos on their beloved quiver of film cameras, an aesthetically pleasing art form that seems to have gained a bit of love again with this younger generation. More recently, they released a rad zine that features unique imagery through the lenses of their own as well as other photographers who travel in similar ways. Their vibes fit right in with VIVA LA VACAY and so it made a lot of sense to feature some of their work here on the Blog. The idea of shooting more film photography for the brand as well as featuring more film on the blog and through our creative outlets has become a goal of ours, so stay tuned as we let the creative juices flow and get back to the old school ways. We will be using #vivafilmclub for all our film photos from now on, so check the tag for some really rad and unique content from our daily adventures and random travels. For more about Frank and Ty and their nomadic business check out www.twoguysgoodbuys.com and www.waywardboundzine.com
For the past few years I have been heading up the west coast to the furthest parts of northern California and occasionally beyond. I have been shooting digital photos for awhile now, but after being given my grandfathers old Minolta film camera I decided to switch it up. Here's a few photos from an old roll of black and white film from that trip. Enjoy. -Dylan Phillip Bellingan
When we wanna get away we normally head south into Baja or north up the coast, this time around we searched for something a little closer to home. There wasn't much swell in the water but the fall days had been sunny and warm. I called a few friends and we planned a little day trip hoping to find a gem of a spot to spend the day in relaxation and bliss. Click the link to watch the video we shot that day.
We pulled up to Secret Island Resort and were welcomed with open arms, "you must be Dylan and Steve," we were still in awe that we were actually here. The old man and owner of the "island" was a friend of someone Steve had recently met on Lombok. I still had no idea of how this had all come about but wasn't going to argue with a free place to stay, especially on a beautiful property like this one.
As we toured the property we immediately fell in love with the place, especially after being offered the bungalows that sat above the reef on wooden stilts. The whole thing was something out of a movie, never have I seen such an amazing place like this one. While walking back to the main building we saw another boat arriving and soon realized it was our long lost friends from Colorado, Cameron and Lindsey. We had invited them to the island and gave them the same sketchy directions we had been given. Happy to see their faces upon their safe arrival, we showed them the property and settled into the quaint wooden bungalows right away. The main priority for everyone was to go snorkel around these gorgeous reefs, while Steve couldn't wait to surf Desert Point - a world famous left breaking barrel that goes and goes forever. Unfortunately for me I was still mending a torn MCL so I decided to play it safe and stick to snorkeling the reefs, an experience I hope all of you get to do one day. The Gilli Islands offer some of the most beautiful and colorful reefs in the world, so the next day we hopped onto a boat with our boat man named "Man." Man took us all around and showed us the best spots to swim, surf and snorkel. We stopped off on an island for delicious lunch at a tiny resort, then finally made our way back after getting caught in a monsoon like rainstorm. Our visibility was almost zero. Thankfully Man knows the area like the back of his hand and was laughing the whole way home, while we hunkered down in the boat, soaking wet trying to protect our camera gear.
After about half an hour of heavy downpour, the rain started to cease and sky began to clear. Once again, we were in paradise. We eventually made our way back to Secret Island but only to find out that Lindsey had some money stolen while we were out on the boat all day. With the natural loss of trust in the staff, (the only others on the island) we decided to leave after the first day. It was the first time any of us had anything taken the whole trip, unfortunately it had to happen at one of the most beautiful spots on earth. We talked for a while and discussed our options and decided that the next plan of action would be to leave the Gili Islands and slowly head back to Canggu on Bali Island, a place we had grown fond of because of its relaxed vibes, party scene and heavy hipster surf culture. We knew a couple days in Canggu would raise our spirits and being that the airport we would fly out of was only twenty minutes away, we had to head that direction anyways. Instead of flying back over to Bali Island in the small plane we took over in the first place, we would instead catch a ferry over. Figuring out the logistics of this all became quite a challenge. Between the four of us we had six bags, one surfboard and only two mopeds. We would first need to ride over to the ferry in the dark, catch it before it leaves for a night voyage, find places to sleep on the deck or wherever we can as we were already exhausted, then ride the bikes all the way to Uluwatu which would take us a few hours. We would stay at Balangan Beach in UluwatuIt for a night then keep heading West to Canggu. It was going to be an insane mission, but we decided to go for it.
Steve and I rode one of the mopeds, with Steve driving as he has had a lot more experience on bikes than I ever have. I had a backpack on my back as well as his bag strapped to my chest, the third bag near his feet. Cameron and his girl had the other bike, same set up as us but they also had the surfboard as their bike was the only one with a board rack. It was a crazy sight to see, although for the locals this was amateur stuff. I felt like they were all laughing saying things like "throw three kids on the back and then come and talk to me."
Upon arriving at the small port where we were to depart on the ferry, we made our way into the line of locals also waiting to do the same. Other than one or two others, we were the only white people out of about 300 Indonesian locals. With sleepiness and boredom in our minds we began trying to entertain ourselves by being the obnoxious and loud American's we are. Fortunately for us, a local lady thought it was hilarious and everyone else was too tired to care. The entrance of the large ferry finally opened and a sea of people flooded in, scooters and all. It was one of the craziest things I have ever experienced.
As we slowly moved with the large mass into the bottom cargo hold of the ship we began making our way towards the edges of the crowd, closer to the staircases that ascended to the top decks. We quickly regrouped and found a spot away from everyone else at the edge of the boats railing. While we tried to get comfortable a local man came up and tried to sell us "just add hot water" Mi Go Rang noodles (like ramen but way better) for way too much money. We bargained and bargained but the guy wouldn't budge on price. I was starving so I finally agreed and purchased one from the man while my friends went and found fresh food for way cheaper elsewhere on the boat. I felt stupid for spending $2.50 when they only spent $1.50 but it became something to quickly laugh about. It seemed like the whole trip I was always the one getting swindled into paying way more than I should have. (Gotta love that exchange rate!) While eating our noodles, we recognized one of the ladies up on the top deck. She was the local lady laughing at our silliness an hour earlier while waiting in line. She approached us with a warm smile and offered us bunks to sleep in on the inside of the boat. We pondered it over and decided to take a look at the sleeping quarters. It was humid and loud outside and we were all exhausted. With no place to lay down and sleep on the 5 hour voyage, a bed was a God send. We walked into an air conditioned room with four bunk beds, a man pointed down to a lower bunk and said it was available. The price was unbeatable, just a few American dollars. I threw my backpack down into the bunk, paid the man and passed out a few minutes later. Other than getting woken up an hour later to the same man telling me to switch bunks, the trip was a breeze. I slept the whole time, and finally woke up to the boat's blow horn sounding the signal of arrival. We were back in Bali.
Feeling fully rested and ready to get moving, we still had another 2-3 hour trip on scooters to get to our next destination. This became one of the gnarliest things I have every done. We all managed to get back on our two scooters, luggage, surfboards and all but while making our way towards Uluwatu got stuck in heavy Indo downpour. We made it off the road safely and found a covered area to park the bikes while the streets began to flood. Unless the rain stopped soon, we were going nowhere quickly. After waiting under the covering for a half hour we decided that the flooding and rain was subsiding and it was safe to continue on.
An hour later, we were sitting on a deck over looking Uluwatu beach watching massive set waves come in and destroy the guys trying to surf them. We found some spotty wifi and searched air b&b for a decent place to stay. Later that day we found a beautiful spot at Balangan Beach with thatch roof bungalows and a beautiful pool. Taking advantage of the relaxing atmosphere and vibe we kicked back and enjoyed the hot and humid day in the pool. Sipping on large green bottles of cold Bintang, we discussed what we would do for the next couple days before flying home. Steve and I decided to head back to Canggu like planned and meet up with a couple of friends that had just arrived, while Cameron and Lindsey would head elsewhere. The next day we departed without our Colorado friends and made our way back to the little hipster town we had enjoyed so much at the beginning of our trip. Upon arriving we met up with our two friends from back home in San Diego. The four of us spent the next two days eating cheap food, drinking cheap beer and sharing stories from our recent travels. The end of the trip was near, but we were excited to be going home. No matter how amazing the world around me is, no matter how much I see and learn and no matter how many rad people I meet, going home to San Diego is always a blessing. We said goodbye to our friends and arranged for a taxi to pick us up and take us to the airport. It had been an amazing trip, but we were exhausted and ready to go home. Slowly making our way through the airport, we stopped for one last Mi Go Rang meal and headed towards our gate. Although we were leaving Indonesia, we had to make one more stop before making our way back to the United States...CHINA.
Last month we threw a little shindig in our friend's backyard to show our line and give everyone a chance to see what we have been up to. Here are some photos from that night taken by Co-founder, Ben.
We just got back from a trip to our favorite coastline, Baja California, and threw together this montage of the trip. Blog post to follow. Yew!
"...shortly after our meeting had started, the inevitable happened. Someone asked the question, "Sooo, you want to surf?"
''When the weather is warm and all the kooks go out to play, we head south for emptier line ups, cheaper tacos and laid back Baja vibes.''
"For the next few days we enjoyed cheap meals, copious amounts of Bintangs (the local beer) , lightning storms while partying on the boat and scooting through rice fields and jungles in search of warm waves."
"All I could do was watch from the black sand beach as guys were getting the most amazing barrels, in and out, all day. It was truly some of the best surfing I had seen in person."