Nemberala Forever

4 weeks later and we still haven’t managed to move from Nemberala on Rote Island. After all the effort it took to get here, it’s lovely to just stay in one place and enjoy it – no navigating, no night watches, and generally fewer problems when you stay put! It’s also such a stunning place with something for everyone to enjoy – surf for the guys, a safe anchorage, a great market, and a friendly village. Why leave!?

The surf has continued unabated. The boys tend to surf for about 4 hours each day – that is, until their bodies cry out for rest. Josh was forced to take a couple days off after he developed a fever and sore throat – probably just run down after all that exercise in the sun. They have improved so much in the time we’ve been here – Noah is doing bottom and top turns with ease and has even gotten into the barrel a couple times. Josh has surfed some HUGE waves for his size (more than double-overhead), and is learning to drive to stay in the sweet spot.

N surf 2
N surf 3
J surf 1
J surf 2

The reef is about a kilometre out in the sea and is exposed at low tide. It’s a great place to watch from – but not that easy to get to. We managed to weave our way in the dinghy between the agar-agar farms and their submerged wooden stakes to get me and my camera onto the reef. It was probably the smallest swell of our 4-week stay in Nemberala – but I finally managed to get some decent footage of the boys (including above pics). Once the water started lapping at my feet it was time to head back to the dinghy – before being swamped by the ocean.

Camerawoman ready for action

After all that time in the surf-attire, the boys have even developed an interesting surf tan. Spot the short wetsuit and bootie look!

Enter a caption

Marco and Rob have had their share of waves. The swell got really sizeable for a couple of days and they had some amazing surfs – with only 6 people in the line-up. Rob pretty much ate, surfed and slept – well deserved after all his hard work in helping us get here!

Heading off on a big day
The surfer’s dream

So what does mom do when the boys are surfing? Why cooking and cleaning and washing of course! Ha ha – there is a bit of that, but I’m also enjoying having time to myself to do a variety of things. When the wind is light I enjoy SUPing to the beach or amongst the agar-agar farms, having a swim and then whizzing back with the wind. I’m getting into my painting again – finished one and am now busy with one of my favourite Indo boats. I’m also playing classical guitar again, trying to get back to the level I was at when I was a teenager. When I need to escape the boat I go for a walk, sometimes followed by a smoothie or coconut yoghurt at Indika – mmm.

Off on a morning SUP

Here’s some proof of the “chores” that I do:

I’m really getting into the food here. Did I mention that the market is amazing!? I’ve been getting a little more experimental and branched out into some more unusual foods. I’ve also started trying out some Indonesian recipes and typical dishes … it really excites me, but more of that in a separate blog post to come.

We’ve tried out a couple other warungs / restaurants in the village, and have had some delicious meals. The one (Bekky Boos) served western and Indonesian food, and the boys were thrilled to have a big juicy hamburger – red meat baby! We also discovered that one of the local shops sells ice-cream – what a treat!

The joy of ice-cream

The one day we bought a barracuda (ikan alu-alu) from the market and decided to braai it on the beach. It was such a beautiful evening, with so many stars and the Milky Way like a big puffy cloud across the night sky. All the die-hard surfers who got out of the water after dark came round the fire for a chat. With a Bintang and campfire, what could be better. The fish was delicious too!


We hired motorbikes again and explored a bit further south of Nemberala. We found the gorgeous little bay of Bo’a, with a cute eco-resort tucked away on the headland – a beautiful place for a picnic and swim.

Beautiful Bo’a

We continued journeying south and came across a group of boys with a soccer ball. Without a moment’s hesitation Marco jumped off the motorbike and organised an “Africa Selatan vs Indonesia” soccer match. Wow were the Indonesian guys good – twinkle toes! We ended up with a lot of spectators who seemed to think this situation was rather hilarious. We all had a great time and the boys felt rather pooped afterwards – it seems running is a different fitness to paddling!

We also said a sad farewell to Rob, who had to head back to South Africa for work. He’d been with us for about 3 months and has been such an integral part of this trip! Thanks for all your hard work Rob – and we’re glad you made it back despite missed ferries, typhoons and cancelled flights!


So now it’s just the 4 of us again. Our plan is to explore a couple of the islands off Rote, and then slooowly head north-west towards Komodo (to renew our visas). Who knows,  however, we may never leave Nemberala …


2 thoughts on “Nemberala Forever

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