Thunders in the Mentawai Islands December 25th 2023
Here is our checklist for your trip. This is a rough guide and a good reference point to get you prepared for your travels to Indonesia
Passport and all travel documents with photocopies, Passport, Travel Insurance, Airline ticket (Passport over 6 months expiry). Keep all your important documents safe in a small carry bag. 30 day Visa on arrival is available at the airport and costs about 35USD. You can also apply for the E-visa online.
Health Precautions - check with your doctor regarding malaria medication and any other vaccinations needed. (Hepatitis A and Tetanus Vaccines). Make sure you tell your charter operator about any serious health conditions. The mandatory Covid vaccine restrictions were revoked June 9th 2023
Hooded Rash Vest and surf hat for them long days in the water. With the hooded vests even if you don't like wearing the hood it gives you good sun protection on the back of your neck. A rash vest will also protect your skin from irritants like saltwater, sand, and wax. Might even be worth considering a 2mm vest to help with extra buoyancy and protection from the reef.Sun Cream - Good sun cream that is water-resistant and provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Look for a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, but preferably 50 or higher for maximum protection. Get some after sun lotion that contains natural ingredients like aloe vera, which to help soothe and hydrate the skin.
Leash - No comp leashes. Get a decent leash and don't use an old one. Try get a quick release system just in case you get caught out on a coral head. Look for a leash 5mm or thicker and around 6 foot long. Always good to have a few spare packed in your bag.
Reef Boots - Boots will help protect your feet from the sharp coral reef. It's worth having a pair packed even if you don't use them for surfing. We like the split toe boots with the thicker sole. Perfect for scratching up the reef to collect your surfboard if your leash breaks.
Wax - Tropical surf wax, warm water wax. Normal wax is useless. Tropical wax is typically harder and more durable than standard surf wax, which can melt or become too soft in warmer water temperatures Clean your wax off your boards before the trip.
Fins - Bring a variety of fin sizes and a spare fin key. Always good to have a couple of sets of fins on standby. Pack some large fins for them bigger days. Double check your fin system before purchasing fins. (FCS or Future)
First Aid Kit - painkillers, ibuprofen, antiseptic and antibiotics are a must. Bring a small first aid kit with you. Make sure you have a Docters note for any subscription drugs. Triple antibiotic ointment for your reef cuts.
Sea Sickness can be a real problem, Bring some Dramamine or motion sickness medication. Sea sickness can end a trip so make sure you bring something to help if you are affected.
Extra cash & Credit card for emergency. (IDR Indonesian Rupiah) Its always handy to have spare cash for transit, extra beer money tips for the crew etc... You can get cash from the ATM or one of the banks in Padang. A good tip for the crew is around 100 USD and an extra carton of Bintang costs about 35 USD. Visa on arrival costs 35 USD.
Malaria - Mosquito Repellant for day trips ashore. Mosquitos aren't usually a problem onboard but always good to have repellant for transit. If you are worried about malaria, please check with your doctor regarding best practices and medication
USB Stick - Bring a spare USB or hard drive for photos from your trip. Check your other electronics like phone and charger. Check what electrical sockets are on your charter boat. Might have to get a travel adapter.
Board Shorts - Most your days are spent in your board shorts. Make sure you choose a decent set that are comfy and fit well. Get a couple of spare sets for the trip, we recommend at least 3 pairs.
Supplements - Eat well on your trip and stay hydrated. If you're going to spend a lot of time in the surf its worth bringing some extra supplements like Vitamins, Magnesium, Zinc and Electrolytes.
Ding Repair Kit - Solar resin and ding tape for any emergency board repairs. Most surf charters have a kit onboard but always handy to have the basics.
Dry Bag - To keep all your valuables (Passport, paperwork, handphone & cash) Good to have a small bag for them days you're heading ashore to explore.
Ear Plugs - Aqua ear and ear plugs or blue tack. Antibiotic ear drops. Ear infections are commonplace in the tropics so make sure you protect them.
Surfboards - 2 standard thrusters and one step up, depending on surf forecast) We always recommend getting a little extra volume in your boards. Having that extra Paddle power is really important. Make sure you pack your boards well to avoid damage in transit. If you want to order surfboards in Bali and get them shipped to Mentawai, then contact us at [email protected].
Travel Insurance - We have recently partnered with World Nomads. Thier policy will cover you for surfing in Indonesia. Make sure you get a good Insurance policy for your trip, give a copy of your details to your charter operator. For any more information or questions regarding travel to Indonesia please email us at [email protected]
Camera Settings - Before preparing your housing do your camera checks first. Make sure the battery is fully charged, check your memory card is in and formatted ready to go. Check your camera settings are correct before putting it inside the housing. Check your focus settings and make sure your lens and camera are clean and dry. Once you have performed all the necessary checks, insert the camera into the housing carefully, making sure it is seated properly. Make sure the base plate is secured tightly
Fogging - Always prepare your water housing before you leave for the beach, so as to minimize any chance of moisture getting in and causing condensation to form on the inside of the port. In a tropical environment prepare the housing in an air-conditioned room or use the sun to dry out the housing before closing it up. You can use silicone poches to help absorb moisture or for more information on fogging problems check out this Video from Liquid Eye Water Housings
Oring - Inspect the O-ring for any signs of damage, such as cracks, tears, or deformation. Make sure it is clean and free of debris, and lubricate it if necessary with silicone grease.
Sponge - We use sponge inside our housing. The idea behind this is the sponge will absorb any water before damaging your camera if you do have a small leak. This tip was given to us by Federico Vanno at liquid barrel
Secure - If you have nuts to tighten on the housing tighten opposite corners first. Tighten the nuts evenly by hand working corner to corner and checking the seal as you tighten. Don’t overtighten the nuts and make sure you have a good seal between the Oring and the backplate. If you have clips on your housing make sure they are locked in place.
Seal - Double check all your seals before taking it in the sea. Check the seal on your back plate and the seal on your port. Do a quick dunk test in the shallows, study the seals and the inside of the housing for any leaks before swimming into the line-up
Lens Port - Water droplets - Keep your port clean: A dirty port is more likely to attract water droplets, so make sure to keep it clean. Wipe it down with a microfiber cloth before and after each session. If your using a dome port try using saliva to help keep water drops off. If your using a flat port then wax works well.
Check - Before swimming out test some shots on the beach. Double check all your settings are correct. Check all your buttons are engaging on the backplate. Double check your trigger and zoom controls.
Monitor - While shooting keep checking your housing and the seal. Make sure there are no leaks and if you do have any problem or notice anything unusual then get out and check
Clean - After every session make sure you give your housing a good clean. We rinse our housing with fresh water at the beach then clean it again when we get home. Every month we give the housing a deep clean. Keeping all your equipment clean and well maintained is so important.
Take your time - When setting up your water housing and camera take your time. Most of our mistakes in the past were made when we were rushing. Keep all your gear clean and double check all your settings before swimming out. Have we missed some tricks and tips? Leave your suggestions below.
Here is the schedule for the Mentawai fast ferry that runs between Padang and the Mentawai Islands. The ferry operates every day of the week but travels to different locations.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday the ferry runs between Padang and Tua Pejat (Sipora Island)
- 6am Padang - Tuapejat | 3pm Tuapejat - Padang
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday the ferry runs between Padang and Sikalabuan / Siberut (Siberut Island)
- 7am Padang - Sikalabuan - Siberut | 2:30pm Siberut - Padang
Friday the Ferry runs between Padang and Sikikap ( Pagai Utara Island)
- 7am Padang - Sikikap | 1pm Sikikap - Padang
Sunday the ferry runs between Padang, Sioban and Tuapejat.
- 10am Padang - Sioban - Tuapejat | 3pm Tuapejat - Padang
Please check the schedule on the website as these dates can change. Also please note the ferry is sometimes cancelled because of bad weather so check with the ferry operator the day before departure.
Mentawai Fast Ferry Price?
A ticket for the Mentawai Fast ferry will cost you 350.000 IDR ($25 USD) per person. You can buy a ticket at the local office on the day before departure or you can contact them online.
There is an extra charge for surfboards
Small board 1kg-15kg 230.000 IDR
Medium board bag 16kg-25kg 460.000 IDR
Large board bag Over 26kg - 680.000 IDR
Mentawai Fast Ferry Location
The Mentawai fast ferry departs from Harbor at Muara
Other Information on the Mentawai Fast Ferry.
The ferry trip usually takes between 3-5 hrs depending on the weather and where you are travelling. Always check if the ferry is running with the operator day before departure. The ferry leaves Padang early morning so you need to arrive day before departure. You can buy snacks and drinks onboard the Ferry. If you get seasick take some Dramamine or motion sickness pills before the crossing.
Are there any other ways to get to the Mentawai Islands?
There are overnight ferry's that run between Padang and the Mentawai islands. Both the Ambu Ambu and the Gambolo operate trips a couple of times a week. These are both slow ferry's and the crossing can take up to 12 hrs or more. Good for budget travel but they can be crowded and sometimes overloaded.
Can I charter a private speed boat to the Mentawai Islands?
Most the surf resorts in the Mentawai islands offer a private speedboat transfer from Padang. The prices vary on which resorts you use but this can be a dangerous crossing and its only advisable to do this trip with the more professional operators. There are also numerous surf charters running between the Islands.
Can I fly to the Mentawai Islands?
They are building a new airport close to Tua-Pejat on Pulau sipora Island. Currently Suzi air fly there twice a week but you I'm sure there will be more flights available once this project is complete.
Travel Insurance - Are you travelling to Mentawai soon? We have recently partnered with World Nomads. Thier policy will cover you for surfing in Mentawai and around Indonesia. Make sure you get a good Insurance policy for your trip, give a copy of your details to your charter operator. For any more information or questions regarding travel to Indonesia please email us at [email protected]
Protection - If you’re coming to Indonesia for a surf trip, then protect yourself from Injury. If your planning on surfing shallow reef breaks then we recommend getting a decent pair of reef boots. I surf with a 2mm neoprene vest for extra protection from the reef. It's also worth considering a helmet especially on the more critical reef breaks. When you wipe out tuck your legs up and don't kick off the bottom. Use your arms to protect your head and try and relax during every wipeout. Reef cuts are common place in Bali and across Indonesia, Staph infection is a real risk and Infections can get nasty real quick. Here is our breakdown of how to treat a reef cut when your in Indonesia?
Clean the wound – Use sterile water (bottled water) to irrigate
the wound. If you have a syringe use that to flush out any debris. You can also
pierce a pin hole in the top of water bottle and use that as a high pressure
flush. This works well with a two-litre bottle and you need to repeat this
flushing process over and over again. Thorough extended cleaning is the key to success. Wash around the wound with soapy water and remove any dead
skin or hair. Use sterile tweezers or a pin to remove any tough bits of coral
stuck in the wound. Use a torch light or headlamp to check the wound after you
have finished cleaning.
Sterilize the wound - After the cleaning process use saline
solution and alcohol wipes to clean the wound again. People use Lime, hydrogen
peroxide and rubbing alcohol to kill the bacteria but you have to be really
careful not to damage the skin cells. If the skin cells are damaged then the
healing process can take allot longer. If you have cleaned the wound thorough
with soapy water and flushed it well with saline solution then a rub over with some
alcohol wipes should do the trick.
Treatment – Once the wound is cleaned and sterile the next step is
to decide if you’re going to carry on surfing. Leaving a wound open in a
tropical environment can create a breading ground for bacteria and infection. A
handful of studies suggest that keeping a wound covered and moist helps blood
vessels regenerate faster than a wound that is allowed to dry out. If you carry
on surfing the wound will take longer to heal. My advice
is to keep the wound clean, free of debris and out of the sun. Make sure you apply
antibiotic cream ointment daily and keep an eye out for Infection.
Staph Infection can soon cause severe sickness and even death so if an infection starts spreading you need to get on some strong oral antibiotics ASAP. Mupirocin is an antibiotic ointment that prevents bacteria growing on your skin and Ciprofloxacin is a strong oral Antibiotic that is good for bacterial infections but please check with your doctor before your trip.
Covering the Wound - If you decide to cover the wound then use hemostatic gauze to help encourage blood
clotting. Cover this with an adhesive stretch dressing but make sure the area
around the wound is dry and clean before you apply the dressing.
Monitor the wound and apply antibiotic cream daily, keep the dressing clean and change when needed. Use an Ice pack to reduce swelling and keep yourself hydrated to help the healing process. Seek medical attention if there are signs of the Infection spreading. If the wound is large or very deep and you can’t clean it properly yourself then get to a medical facility to be treated ASAP.
There are lots of First Aid Kits on the market, here is our checklist for the basic supplies you will need to treat a reef cut. Antibiotics, Oral (Amoxicillin & Ciproflaxin) Ointment (bacitracin) Check with your doctor, Alcohol & Antiseptic wipes, Scissors, Tweezers, a needle, a razor, Saline Solution, Syringe, Hemostatic gauze, Adhesive stretch dressing, Pain killers and Ibuprofen, Iodine, Alcohol or Hydrogen Peroxide (Use carefully) Torch light
What are the travel requirements for entry into Indonesia?
The entry requirements for Indonesia depends on the purpose of your visit, the length of your stay, and your country of origin. Here are some guidelines on what you need to enter Indonesia
- Passport with at least 6 months validity from date of arrival.
- Immigration documents, appropriate visa papers (Visa on Arrival)
-Visa on arrival is available at the airport. The V.O.A costs $35 and gives you 30 days in Indonesia. This can be extended for a further 30 days
- Going through immigration you may also be asked to show your return ticket and proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay in Indonesia
As outlined in the Covid 19 Handling task force circular letter Number 1 of 2023the government has reviewed the ongoing management of Covid-19 in the country. The original Covid 19 restrictions have recently been relaxed and the mandatory vaccination requirement for both foreign and domestic travelers has been revoked. There are still precautions in place and the government still have some Health protocols in place.
Are you traveling to Indonesia for trip soon? Always have a copy of your Travel Insurance and make sure you have a doctors note for any prescription drugs. Double check for the latest health requirements, Polio, tetanus and Hepatitis vaccines need to be up to date.
These requirements can change so check with your Visa agent or Immigration before travel. Below are some useful links for future reference and more information on traveling to Indonesia.