Sprout Daily is a regular photographic account of Manly’s cosmopolitan beach-based lifestyle focusing on the day’s surf conditions on Sydney’s northern beaches just down the road from The Perfect Wave’s HQ.
As the sun rises each morning, the Sprout Daily lenses are squarely focused on the early birds that surf, swim, run and dance their way across Manly’s panorama.
Murray Fraser, an accomplished photographer behind the Sprout Daily brand, travelled to the Maldives for 3 weeks last season. This is his journal from day one:
The Big Easy… Reflections from a Surf Boat Charter in the Maldives
The Perfect Wave really do make it easy for you… Getting there’s easy, the transfers are easy, the surfing is easy, the decision making is easy, the living is easy.
Walking through the automatic doors at Sydney Airport, I can’t wait to check in and free myself of the triple board bag I’m dragging behind me. I check-in, I have my boarding passes in hand as I watch my board bag dropping down the conveyor belt at the oversize baggage counter. That’s it! It’s done! The final complication – the simplicity of a good holiday just begun!
Surf travel can be complicated; multiple flights, hotel stays connecting with overnight buses or ferries traversing from point of entry to some remote and exotic destination where a fabled wave lies in in thick tropical jungle on the tip of a tiny island non-surfers have never heard of. Not this surf trip! This is the Maldives, and simplicity is the word. Two flights, one brief stopover in Singapore and not even a taxi transfer!
The first thing that strikes you when you land at Ibrihim Nasir International Airport is the iridescent blue waters of the Maldives literally on the edge of the tarmac. Walk through the doors of the airport terminal and you’re stepping aboard your dhoni for a short boat ride out to the charter boat where life is about to get real simple with a singular goal – go surfing!
For this trip, we’re staying onboard The Perfect Wave Carpe Vita, a luxury wooden motor yacht purpose-built for charters through the Maldivian atolls. There’s 13 crew onboard so things happen with efficiency and purpose, and before we know it, luggage is en route to rooms and board bags are stacked neatly next to the racks on the back deck. The captain holds a brief orientation of the yacht’s 3 decks, safety onboard and our schedule. Within an hour of transferring from the airport, we’re plugging fins into our boards while Bob, our surf guide, amps us up for the first surf of the trip. Bob hails from Western Australia, but he’s spent a truckload of time in the water up here in the Atolls. Bob’s in his mid-50’s and you get the feeling he cut his teeth on the heavy reef breaks of WA and he’s put himself out to pasture in the fun, fertile waves of the north Indian Ocean.
We’ve got time to steam out of the harbour and get a 2-hour plus session in before sunset.
As soon as we leave the harbour at Hulu Male we start to feel the long period ground swell lift the Carpe Vita as it pushes through glassy waters of deep blue. The Male atolls offer a range of Maldives best known waves including Jailbreaks, Sultans, Cokes, and Chickens.
We’ve nearly got our boards unpacked, waxed and finned when our boat slows and pulls into the channel at Jailbreaks. The tide is low and on the push. On one side of the channel Jails is 2-3ft and running in perfect glass down the reef. On the opposite side of the channels Honkies, a super fun left hander, is feathering and empty, tempting the palate of the goofy footers among us while just further on the tip of the reef Sultans is throwing peaky little tubes to an audience of a dozen or so surfers from another charter. All three waves are screaming “Fun city” just a cast of a net from where we’ve dropped anchor in the channel.
On the recommendation of Bob, our surf guide from Western Australia, we decide to hit Jails collectively. Jails is the most user-friendly of the three breaks and gives us an opportunity to stretch our legs and shoulders, rinse the jet lag and serves as a chance for Bob to suss out our competency so he can make sure we get the best out of the seven days of surfing we’ve got ahead of us. The water’s warm, the waves are fun so we’re out there with zero hesitation.
Day One draws to a close with beers on the back deck as the Carpe Vita ambles through the channel and inside Male Atoll for comfortable, safe anchorage for the night. When our first dinner of the trip is served up, it’s obvious that fulfilling the additional energy required for an itinerary of 3 surfs a day isn’t going to be an issue; there’s that much quality food!
Get the drift?
Thats just a brief snapshot of Murray’s first day.
He said, “We surfed 2 to 3 times every day for 7 days. The swell was consistently in the 2-5ft range and the guide ensured we surfed lefts, rights, dawn patrols and lates. There was something for all levels, rippers, ladies and long-boarders.”