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08.01.05 - Indo Surf Charter crews to the rescue in Tsunami ravaged Asia
11 days since the catastrophic tsunamis. We are still receiving a great
volume of enquiries.
Here are a few first hand stories we have heard via our friends involved in the surf charter industry, what we are doing, and what you can do. Talking to Matt Cruden from the Mangalui on the phone from Phuket, Thailand:
"I'd just had a run along Patong Beach 3 minutes before the first surge hit. Went to join Jenny (his partner who is 7 months pregnant) and Elke (his 10 month old daughter) at breakfast at one of the restaurants. I'd just sat down when all these people started running and screaming from the beach.
I knew what was happening as I had felt the tremors earlier. (Matt has felt many earthquakes in his time in Sumatra). I just put Elke under my arm like a football and told Jenny to run. We got to a hotel and ran up to the 2nd floor. It was the second surge that brought the buses, cars and people."
Jenny reckons it was really hard to run, being pregnant and all. But the look she received from Matt was enough to portray the urgency. She does not remember much about the hotel as she went into severe pain and thought she was going to give birth.
Jenny and Elke are back in Australia safe and well. Matt is still in Thailand. The Mangalui was on the drydock with a lot of the other surf charter boats and missed the brunt of the chaos. A lot of the local fishing
boats that were smashed up in the chaos have taken all the workers and he was trying to get the work finished on the Mangalui, so he could get back to Sumatra and lend a hand.
An email from the catamaran "Raptor" sums up the situation for the boats at anchor.

Dear Belinda and John, so relieved to hear you are safe and well and back in Australia (please, just a quickie to let me know when the baby arrives), we all escaped unscathed here in Phuket but it was a very close call for Rob on his fancy power boat. Of course the devastation here is pretty awful, but nothing compared to India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Most yachties escaped unscathed, but many had their yachts disappear under whitewater and were very lucky to escape with their lives and a floating boat at the end of it.
Because of the number of ex-pats on Phuket, help has been overwhelming and most of injured and dead are tourists, so the embassies are working flat out to get people off the island. Don't know what else to say at present,
All our love, Michele, Rob, Drew and Timana.

Brian Williams and his Aceh wife, Dewi, flew out of Sydney the day after the tragedy. They have a camp on the Southern side of Simeulue. Dewi's family home is in Bandah Aceh. They were caught up for 5 days in Medan. Dewi has lost family members in the tragedy. I spoke to Willy and they had hired a local cargo boat from Padang and were heading to his camp on Simeulue.
Unconfirmed reports are that it is ok and he will be operating this year.
From information I am getting, the surfing industry on the whole is 100% behind the relief effort.
The North West Sumatra area was hardest hit. It is an area very close to surfers' hearts. It has brought smiles on literally thousands of surfers over the years through its waves, its physical beauty, and the Indonesian people with their boundless happiness. Ironic that it was waves that caused the damage. We, as surfers know, more than anyone else, what a wonderful place Indonesia can be.
We have always helped the locals. I have no doubt that the surfing
tribe as a whole will band together and do what we can.

Chris "Scuzz" Scurrah (Sumatran Surfariis) and his partner Christina Fowler, who runs the Batang Arau in Padang began rallying the ex-pats in Padang to buy aid in the form of dry goods, medicines, and volunteer buckets that contain a sarong, rope, a small tarpaulin, shampoo, soap, sanitary pads, torch, thongs, a pot, a pan, plates. With the help of Martin Daly (Indies Trader Marine Adventures), they have organised some of the boats to head North towards Nias and Simeulue where no-one knew what is happening.
Martin has also been a great help in organizing relief funds.
Scuzz was the first out on his boat, Asia loaded up with supplies. He is still in the devastated area acting as a type of scout for the other vessels heading into the region. Reporting back to Padang.
Simeulue is about 100 miles from the epicenter. Both islands are visited by the surf charter boats throughout the charter season (March-November).
Barrenjoey is now in the North Nias area with Oliver Langley as Captain.
Our normal Nias crew (Elvis, Firy, and Yudi) are on board as well as 4 Indonesian doctors and one western doctor. They are delivering aid packages and assessing the impact the tsunamis had on some of the more remote villages. The biggest fear is that the ensuing diseases of typhoid, cholera and malaria epidemic could cause more widespread fatalities.
Surfaid International have the best knowledge and infrastructure in the area to handle this looming situation. They have been backed by the big 3; Quiksilver, Billabong, and Ripcurl, who have all been generous in kickstarting the aid relief. Their website www.surfaidinternational.org is a good one to check out up to date information on the surfers aid effort as well as to make a donation.
Quiksilver is setting up the Nias Fund where donors will be able to see how their money is helping the cause. Go to www.quiksilver.com for more information.
Scuzz and Christina have done a remarkable job and their website www.sumatransurfariis.com also gives some updated and interesting insights into the whole tsunami affair.We'd like to give a pat on the back to all the boats that are pitching in.
Asia, Electric Lamb, Southern Cross, Sembilan, Indies Trader 2, Nusa Dewata, and the various local cargo boats that have been organized by Christina and Martin Daly.
I have also heard that the boats coming down from Thailand are planning on dropping aid packages and lending their support. Mark Dyet has organized a cargo vessel through Auscare and his knowledge of the area and its people will be invaluable. Pelagic is another vessel that has pledged assistance.
By all reports, some villages more than others have been hit hard with constructional damage, and loss of life. The whole infrastructure is down so supplies such as building materials, fishing nets and tackle and fresh produce is paramount.
Donations to any of the other reputable aid agencies will be helping victims throughout the whole region.
Besides a donation, the best way you can help any of these people is to continue to travel to these places. Tourism is a major contributing factor to their livelihood.
For us, and all the other surf charter boats and camps in the Sumatran chain, it will be business as usual for 2005 with the added incentive of continuing to assist the victims of Indonesia.