Earthquake and Tsunami Hits Macaronis

posted by / News / October 27, 2010

Nate Yeomans nabs a Macca-shack in less quakey times. Photo: Nate Lawrence

Nate Yeomans nabs a Macca-shack in less quakey times. Photo: Nate Lawrence

 

The most wave-rich area on earth just lived up to its other reputation as among the most seismically active. On Monday, a magnitude 7.7 earthquake shook the Mentawai islands 175 miles south of Padang and sent a tsunami directly at the world’s most rippable left, Macaronis. To find out more than the recycled information we found on CNN and the World Wide Web, we rang a boat captain familiar with the region. He’s been in contact with people on the ground and in the water around the Mentawais since the quake hit, and what follows are excerpts from our conversation Tuesday afternoon.

In the captain’s own words:

“I don’t want to be quoted with my name. We don’t to be seen as trying to publicize ourselves through this tragedy. Also, I can’t vouch for everything I’m going to tell you, because it’s coming from the boat association that the western boats are all a part of down there. I believe it’s accurate, but I don’t want to sit here saying something that turns out not to be true because I don’t have firsthand knowledge.

The boats are all cooperating with each other. People dropped what they were doing and searched for the missing boats, and they picked up the guests from Macaroni resort. We’re now organizing with the government to take people who survey the damage to the most affected areas. The government, NGOs and the relief agencies need transport out there so the natural way is the charter boats.

It’s all so fresh that the story is going to change over time. What we’re hearing now are accounts from a couple of the charter boats that had satellite phones and were able to get word out. But whole village five miles from Macaronis might have been wiped out and we won’t know about it because there are no sat phones to call and ask for help.

There was one boat missing, the Southern Cross, but they’ve been confirmed okay.”

Alex Gray, Macaronis. The most playful left in Indonesia turned disaster zone this week. Photo: Nate Lawrence

Alex Gray, Macaronis. The most playful left in Indonesia turned disaster zone this week. Photo: Nate Lawrence

 

“The guests of the Macaroni resort said that the wave wrapped around the peninsula and came at them from both sides, and they ran to the one big, strong structure that I believe was built specifically for tsunami protection. They ran upstairs and the whole downstairs was flooded and all the ground level buildings were destroyed.

The Freedom III and the Midas were moored next to Macaronis [Note: the Macaroni Resort mandates that boats at Macaronis be tied up next to two moorings that this captain says are too close together, dangerous, and that he’s never liked them] when a wall of whitewater drove the Freedom III into the Midas. There were reports from the captain that there was a fireball, which would indicate gas fumes in the air. The Midas burned; it’s a total loss. The crew jumped overboard and made it to the beach. They claimed to have climbed trees out of fear of another surge or another wave. They waited for an hour or so until they felt safe enough to come down. The Freedom somehow survived and rescued everybody.

One point I want to make is that the Macaronis resort has been messing with us all year long with that buoy thing and trying to chase us away [from surfing there]. But when this came and happened, it was the charter boats that came to Mark [the owner’s] rescue. His guests would still be stranded except for the boats that came and helped him out. Nobody said anything about any of [the tension], because there were people in need.

As far as all the charter boat guests and the resort guests, everyone is accounted for. There are probably some ferals staying with some villagers that got into trouble, but who is to know if they were even there? It’s too early to know…

It seems as though the damage was pretty isolated to the Macaronis area. Most of the other boats didn’t even know it had happened. Our boat didn’t know what happened — we had to tell them. I’ve been on the boat when stuff has happened, sometimes you feel quakes, and sometimes you don’t.”

—Taylor Paul

Please emanate positive thoughts to all those affected. Hug your kids and knock some wood. Consider floating some financial support directly to the relief effort here.

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  • charles webster baer

    WE CAN REBUILD THE MENTAWAIS

    http://globalinternetgovernment.com

    .

  • vevulza lover

    heard that guy mark is a dick, which is why i didn’t go there. great to hear the the charter boats didn’t let that keep them from doing the right thing.

  • Imaikalani

    Has Charles Baer learned how to surf yet, or is he still fat and smoking too much Puna butter?

  • betinho

    Some information about Indonesia here http://www.indosurflife.com

  • jorge

    What about the surf spot? It change or something?

  • http://surfingmagazine.com scornuelle

    No word yet, but chances are good that Surf Aid International will be the first to know. Their frequently updated blog on the relief effort is here: http://www.surfaidinternational.org/media/news.html#Mentawai_Earthquake

  • Siloinak Surf Resort

    Siloinak Surf Resort’s team for Mentawai Tsunami needs your help

    Surfers send emergency supplies to the Mentawai islands. We need your help.

    Hi, I am Gilles Bordessoule, a Frenchman living in the Mentawai islands since 2004. I manage Siloinak Surf Resort, near Siberut , the largest island of the archipelago.
    The 25 October, a tsunami strikes the west coasts of the islands of Pagai and Sipora, severely damaging or destroying about 30 villages and two surf resorts. Rescue teams have collected 500 bodies as far as now, but the number of casualties in isolated villages is unknown, as there is no phone or radio communication. A rough sea and strong winds make access to these villages very difficult.
    A ship chartered by the American surfer Matt Georges (Last Mile Operation) has left Padang the 27, loaded with food and medical supplies. We plan to sail with our boat as soon as possible and deliver to the population of isolated villages material for building shelters : 4 tons of tarpoline, nylon ropes, hammers, saws, nails for building around 200 family shelters. Transportation and delivery request 4 tons of fuel.
    The cost of this operation is about 9000 USD, of which Siloinak Surf Resort will finance a part, but we hope help from you allowing to repeat this operation some days after with other kinds of supplies.
    This is why we send this request for donations. You can send yours by bank transfer to :

    Mandiri Bank
    SWIFT code : BMRIIDJA
    Address : KC Padang Lapangan Imam Bonjo, Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia
    Account Name : Bordessoule Gilles
    Account Number : 111-00-0445103-1

    These monies will be used exclusively for the purchase and delivery of goods given to the Mentawai people. You can learn more about Siloinak Surf Resort and the sustainable development actions we have organized in the Mentawai on http://www.mentawaiadventure.com . Reports and accounts concerning this operation will be published in http://www.mentawaiadventure.com , « Sustainable Development » pages.
    If you had other proposals for helping the Mentawai people, please contact me at info at mentawaiadventure.com. The reconstruction will last several months.

    Gilles and Novie Bordessoule.

  • Richie Davis

    Interesting to read about the Macoroni resort mooring system and the fact that it has been proven to be placed to close together for boat mooring safety ,the Macoroni resort manager Mark the poo stance surfer , only turned up in 2001 in the Mentawais where he was cooking on a charter boat the neptune ,he camped out at Maccaronis at the end of one season and continued cooking on a few other charter boats ,hopefully now he,ll open up his eyes and realise where he started, and who originally made it possible to surf waves like Macoronis !the charter boat operators! the very people he has been limiting access to surf this wave by implementing a mooring system under the guise of handing this operation over to the local village who profit from his idea,not to mention the resort has been advertised for over 4 million dollars with a 100 year lease ,sheer greed ,great to see the boat operators,
    have come through and been kind enough to help the resorts guests out otherwise they would have been stranded there for
    alot longer after the Tsunami smashed its way into the bay .

  • Mick

    One important point missing from that article:

    Like it or not the 2 boat, bouy system in this case has been an extremely good thing, if it hadn’t been operating, it’s highly likely there would of been much more charter boats anchored in the bay, before the system there was often between 3 to 5 boats anchored in the bay even up to 8 or more in peak season.

    I personally know Mark and he is a good guy and a good surfer and i must add i also know a % of profit from the resort goes to helping the local (silabu) village in particular there funds payed for the church that sits on the highest ground in the area, and right now(if the quake hasn’t knock it down?), that church would be playing a huge part in that village providing shelter for victims whom houses have been destroyed (on the lower land that most of the village houses sit)

    Before the Tsunumi Macaronis resort also had a complete medical centre that was used regularly by aid groups(mostly christian aid groups) to service not just the local Silabu village but also Betemunga village and green bush village both villages sadly hit very bad.

    Cheers Mick X surf guide maccas resort 2008

  • Mick

    Richie, your post must of just come up before I posted my last one…Im a slow writer.

    In the begining Mark actually stayed at Silabu village for two months and the village people there were the one’s that convinced mark to build the resort as strange as that may sound, i have had locals at Malakopa also try to convince me to buy land of them and build a surf camp, but after seeing what Mark and others have gone through, no thanks, im happy to stick to the so called feral thing.

    And if we are talking about the original trip, that’s were it started not the charter boat’s.

    As for the moorings see my post above, without the system things for western surfers could of been far far worst and I must also note it is well known the bay at maccas is not a very safe overnight anchorage as it is very shallow and open to any big change in swell and winds(there was even remains of a charter boat that came to grief there years back)and you will find operators like Martin daley etc always anchor overnight in the deeper more protected anchorage behind Silabu Island, thats not to say they would of been much better off in a Tsunumi, but I beleive the mooring bouys there were never really intended for overnight anchorage.

    As for charter boats helping the resort, thats generally how it works out there, apart from a few boats, generally people try to get on and help each other, sometimes the boats help the resorts and sometimes the resorts help the boats.

    As for Marks poo stance, hey it works, ive seen him fully shacked better than anyone at Maccas and Green bush and thats more than can be said about many charter boat and resort owners.

  • Richie

    Mick some mates from Victoria amd I were on a surf charter in May 1995 on the Sirius we were the only boat there ,at the time we only saw two other boats the whole trip the Katika and electric lamb and that was when we were at Lances right and they motored past we surfed with some guys at Maccaroni,s from Christchurch Kiwi,s who had shipped a zodiac in from Jakarta ,and got it out to Macca,s they had been camping there for a few weeks anyway that was agreat trip! no surf resort only surfers like the surfers camping, and some charter boats as for refering to the original trip above that Mark did, are you saying he went out to maccaroni and camped there prior to cooking on the Neptune! because I think you,ll find he had completed the season on the neptune boat first and was out there, not only to surf but because his plan all along was to see if he could somehow set a camp up there ,you,ll also find he used a local Mentawai captain Ril to negotigate and make connections out there through that mans direct village relations,and knowledge, Ril just happened to be the Captain of the Neptune that Mark was working on I mean to say that the village people were the ones that tryed to convince Mark to build the resort that is strange !do you think they just happened to mention it in passing look at what was built i mean the guy already had the developers money lined up now its a crumpled heap and wasn,t even insured why because who in there right mind would want to spend money on a place where 15 years ago there was sinking trees on the shore stuck out in the water the fault line out there is an accident waiting to happen again!anybody who builds there needs to seriously consider the future effect of that choice, in my view charter boats have proven they are a better option one things for sure they won,t use those morrings again and it will be open season next year to who ever wishes to surf Maccas pull up, and get barreled charterboat operators and guests looks like mother natures cleared this control on one of the funnest lefts on the planet which is the only positive thing to come out of this Tsunami and disaster.

  • Richie Davis

    Mick as for the whole Tsunami disaster thats happened out there ,the only positive thing I can see is who in there right mind would even consider asking chaterboats to use a mooring system like this again I mean after this Tsunami it will be open season next year at Maccoronis! resort ,with or without the resort who is going to take any notice of a so called semi share resort rule on who can surf this spot anymore I think mothernatures accidently cleared that up she just tore a fault line open and churned her way through this bay and it didn,t matter who owns a resort there near the surf break.

  • Mark

    Nice vomit Richie, I dont usually waste my time with forums, but your email was great. Mark the dick, poo stance, on ya mate!! Well apart from the boats, I think the locals should have some say don’t ya think? Is it terrible they make money out of tourism in their area? Is it so bad that the govt tell us to build resorts because it employs their people and benefits their economy? U act like I am a first rate criminal for working with the locals to build a resort that directly benefits them. As for the mooring system, it has been heaven on earth for those lucky enough to surf macas with a couple a boats in the bay (with approx 16 guests on them) and max 16 guests staying at the resort. Remember how your trip was in 1995 Richie when you were anchored there on your own? The good old days. Try 6-8 boats there, do ya really think people want to pay their hard earned to go to the Mentawais to end up with that circuis Richie? As for how it all started, yeah I was on Neptune. Got pretty sick of being on a boat after 3 years, and saw benefit to do something with the local community. drag my name through the mud as much as you like, what have you done in your life Richie?

  • Mark

    By the way, I had a malfunction with my magic carpet to rescue our guests from Silabu. I pressed the button and it didn’t come?? Our boats were swept away at the resort, but instead we arranged a govt speedboat to go pick them up, but had to turn back due to the treacherous weather. A day later, the ferry was headed to Padang so we used it to get our guests back to Padang safely. Thanks to Tenggiri for transporting the guys to Sikakap, Phil is a mate of Damien’s who is a part owner in Macas Resort, we would do no less if the situation were reversed. Why winge about petty shit mate, we have been wiped out, all you do is glote about it, of course we are supposed to help each other in a crisis in the middle of nowhere. I don’t know if I will revert to this page again, but petty stabs to the ribs only makes you look like the dick mate, not me!

  • Richie Davis

    Thanks for the reply Mark,for what its worth poo stance was just a comical observation of you taking off and sticking your butt out on waves while waiting to line up a barrel! as a Aussie surfer you know how we pay out on each other! if you can,t take the heat get out of the kitchen ! being a ex chief you,d know that saying, as for Mark the dick ,if you read my emails I never wrote that, refer to response 2 above Vevulza lover wrote,heard that guy Marks is a dick,and commended the charter boat owners for doing the right thing in helping out,if you read the article
    above and read the story In the Captains own words!, the point is made how the macoroni resort, has been messing with the boats all year long with this bouy thing and trying to chase them away from surfing there.The fact that the resort employs local mentawai people is good and yes this benefits there economy as for limiting surf charter boats numbers from being free to surf the reef break why do this.
    The real reason is the Macoroni resorts profits and own guests would possibly decrease if the mooring policy wasn,t in place the resort would still be able to employ locals and give a percentage of there earnings
    to the local community ,as for a Circus the mooring system and boat limit is the main act!surfers paying there hard earned cash
    to surf the Mentawais should be free to ask there Captain to take them to any of the breaks out there including maccoroni and surf it free of this resorts phoney policy,good luck with the clean up and resort, I hope you reconsider this draconian policy
    and abolish it …red line it Mark.

  • Tex

    All I can add is this. I was one guest at mark and damiens resort, at the time of the tsunami. All the staff, owners and villagers broke their backs to sort us all out. Hats off to them thanks rebuild we will come back. Fantastic effort and the resort was beautiful and focused on all travelers needs. Hey mark chin up my man

  • Mark

    All that I can add to this forum topic is this:

    the boats that were struck by the tsunami and collided with each other in Macaronis Bay were NOT using the ‘day time’ moorings provided (as the captain in this story had claimed).

    These two boats were actually anchored on the inside of the bay at Macaronis at the time of the tsunami which is too shallow with sandy bottom, and clearly a high risk factor in bad weather or in the event of tsunami; the proof is several other boats have been wrecked here before, and now Midas…

    The reason the 2 moorings are there in the first place is because they are managed by Silabu Village (on behalf of the Mentawai Govt) which allows 2 boats a day to visit Macaronis, sharing with Macaronis Resort guests, providing epic surfing conditions for all involved. It is not hard to book a mooring for a charter boat as per their charter schedule, but we do understand it is an inconvenience….

    The original plan with the moorings was to offer 2 day moorings at Macaronis Bay and 2 overnight moorings at the safe anchorage at Silabu Island, where Deborah was actually anchored that night of the tsunami and was totally unharmed. The moorings Macaronis Resort had set up at Silabu Island have been totally ignored and wasted / not maintained, as the vast majority of charter boat operators have refused to use them, and prefer to drop anchor in the shallow bay at macas which is clearly a risk.

    The reason we put the moorings in at Silabu Island, is because this was advised to us by the pioneer surf explorer of the region who operates the best operated boats out here these days (www.indiesexplorer.com), in an attempt to seek a way for resorts and boats to coexists, sharing wave resources and also promoting safety for our patrons.

    All I can add is our 3 story building saved around 30 lives, the event was absolute mahem at the tine and of course very hard for us to deal with, we would respond the same to any body else in need at such a tragic time, however I would like to thank Tenggiri who managed to help our guests out in this time of need…. thanks Phil.

    Cheers

    Mark

  • Fábio Junqueira Karkow

    I was with Tex, Damien, and all the others, desiring the tower resist against that 2 waves and the 2 replics during the night !!
    I was planning to return always I can, maybe on a charter boat to surf another waves, and not a bad idea PAY to stay anchored in Maccas (2 days for example), with an organized state and controlled crowd !! I think that system will be soon necessary in other spots on Mentawai…
    Thanks Mark (and crew!) for your pioneering and attention work, and to Tengirri Team for our rescue and that spectacular dinner !!!!

  • richie davis

    Mark why don,t you just build a big breakwater in front of the
    Macoroni resort and set up a siren so you can warn your patrons! when the next Earthquake makes a rumble better still just build a big ugly breakwater in front of the Macoroni resort I,m sure if you hand a big enough envelope to the right Government man out there they,ll give a building permit to the resort i guess thats how you got the mooring and 2 charter boat permit restriction through .
    As for your comments above /The reason we put the moorings in at Silabu island is because this was advised to us by the pioneer
    surf explorer of the region who operates the best operated boats out here these days http://www.indies explorer.com Will what a suck you are !why don,t you just come out and say it! Captain Martin Daly
    is who your refering to .
    No wonder you,ll still poo stance surfing you may as will bend over and hand the pioneer surf explorer the vaseline so now you try and pass the buck onto him ,because you claim he advised you to put the moorings there in a attempt to seek a way for resorts and charter boats to coexist sharing wave resources! and promoting safety for our patrons
    How ironic that comment you make is above! I mean wave resources you make waves sound so commercial like because you have a 100 year lease on some land close to the Macoroni surf resort that you have a claim on waves which travel thousands of miles, that phoney restriction on boats that has been slipped through there is a real shame ,why do boat operators bother taking notice of it ?and what happens Mark if they turn up without a mooring booking and there guests go surfing what are the ramifications of a charter boat operator doing that …,?

  • Mark

    Mark why don,t you just build a big breakwater in front of the
    Macoroni resort and set up a siren so you can warn your patrons! when the next Earthquake makes a rumble better still just build a big ugly breakwater in front of the Macoroni resort I,m sure if you hand a big enough envelope to the right Government man out there they,ll give a building permit to the resort i guess thats how you got the mooring and 2 charter boat permit restriction through .

    Free to guess man no law against that, but no need to make unfounded accusations about corruption. If you read the Mentawai tourism laws then you will see that the license we hold is in accordance with that law. We did have a siren on the jetty but it was more for letting people know a boat was going to the surf. Moorings are quite common in marine tourism to manage tour operators actually, you think they should scrap all moorings around the world so tourism operators can do as they please anywhere? Up to the locals and their government I rekon to decide what is best, not the mostly foreign stakeholders. Our guests are privelaged to have access at macas every day, where as boats are restricted to booking a couple of days at a time. Likewise we don’t have the flexibility to surf 30 different waves over 2 weeks, a charter boat does have that advantage, that is the benefit of being on a charter boat. Both operations have their pros and cons, up to the punters what they decide they want on their trip I suppose.

    As for your comments above /The reason we put the moorings in at Silabu island is because this was advised to us by the pioneer
    surf explorer of the region who operates the best operated boats out here these days http://www.indies explorer.com Will what a suck you are !why don,t you just come out and say it! Captain Martin Daly
    is who your refering to .

    Well I not into blurting peoples names across the internet. But actually this call is right on the money. Just imagine what may have happened with 8 boats moored in shallow sand bottom macas Bay on the night of the tsunami…. the 2 boats that were there got totally trashed, one completely destroyed and Freedom was lucky to be able to drive off the beach with one engine and go over the second tsunami. 8 boats would have been total carnage with peoples lives at risk. Meanwhile Deborah was anchored in the safe / deep anchorage at Silabu Island which Martin has said is the only safe anchorage in the area, and I’m told the crew on Deborah didn’t even feel the tsunami. Kinda makes sense doesn’t it….?

    No wonder you,ll still poo stance surfing you may as will bend over and hand the pioneer surf explorer the vaseline so now you try and pass the buck onto him ,because you claim he advised you to put the moorings there in a attempt to seek a way for resorts and charter boats to coexist sharing wave resources! and promoting safety for our patrons

    Well what is wrong with that Richie? Safety and co-existence. Some boat operators are all for that kind of thing and approve of a mooring system, but have been completely frustrated by those that continually break the rule and act like they don’t know a thing about it, and then the villagers have to go out there and try mediate. I don’t send them out there, it is out of my hands and in their control, we offered the buoys to the boat association in the beginning to manage, but as members of that association could not agree to set a fair carrying capacity at the busiest wave in the Ment’s, instead the village jumped at the chance to manage the buoys them selves and earn $30 per day / per buoy for boats using the facility…. it gave them jobs, basically. It could have actually been free for association members as we had suggested, and the boat association could have been responsible for annual maintenance and upkeep at a standard acceptable to its members. As for poo stance, we all gotta poo mate, at least I’m not standing on my head doing it.

    How ironic that comment you make is above! I mean wave resources you make waves sound so commercial like because you have a 100 year lease on some land close to the Macoroni surf resort that you have a claim on waves which travel thousands of miles, that phoney restriction on boats that has been slipped through there is a real shame ,why do boat operators bother taking notice of it ?and what happens Mark if they turn up without a mooring booking and there guests go surfing what are the ramifications of a charter boat operator doing that …,?

    Well man, there are boats with paying customers and there is a resort with paying customers, and we all are supposed to have licenses to operate here and pay our taxes to the government which is responsible to manage the industry. 50 / 50 sharing between the boats and the resort is fair, the resort guests get a go, and the boat guests get a go, then they move on to somewhere else, 2 days is plenty of time to surf at one wave if you are on a boat charter.

    We no longer have to give up at macas and chase other waves every day in speedboats due to it being over crowded, mostly we stay at macas with 1 or 2 days a week going somewhere else just for a change, makes better sense than the other way around. And like any where if you challenge the local govt and their rules, then that’s your own call, probably better to go and address yourself properly rather than just disrespecting them, otherwise you will probably end up in some kind of conflict.

    The funny thing about this is on many occasions in 2010 boats would book a mooring and not even show up, and not let the villagers or other operators know their change of plans. So a vast majority of the time there was a free mooring in any case. After 8am a free mooring can be taken by another boat. Communication is the key to it working in the best interest of all parties involved.

    For any further complaints Richie, please go to the Mentawai Govt to let them know your concerns, as you are coming to the wrong address complaining to me about it. Of course the resort’s owners and guests support the mooring policy, in our eyes it is fair and promotes co-existence for both parties to get a fair go. I got nothing more to say about it, enjoy your next boat charter, peace !!!

  • richie

    Will thanks for all the explanations to the questions and free to guess ones! now i understand alot more of how the resort and morring system at Macca,s actually operates and for what its worth maybe alot of other people will to .
    Now i can see some of the reasons you are using this booking system Mark and will ….yeah alot of your reasoning for it do make sense to me now.
    Good luck for the Mentawai season ahead and with the Resort and to everyone involved in the rebuild and tear it up out in the waves adios and cheers Richie

  • Garth

    Hi all Maccas survivors,

    Thanks to the Tengerri,for the massive effort,and Damien for the cool head.

    Hope all are ok especially Robo,man you were lucky!!!!

    I hope the new resort now thinks of procedure,evac plans,Satellite phones,Flares and even lift jackets????

    The wave is awesome!!!!great to have some footage and photos

    I hope that all have the same luck as we did, in the future if it was to happen again

    Regards

    Garth Caldwell Newport beach NSW Sydney Australia