David Gilbert, Chris Mauger, Tim Mauger, Sam Middlemiss, Terry Green,
Andrew Mauger, Noah Marshall.
We had a lot of baggage, not the physical type, but the type you get from first visiting the islands in 1997. A week sitting at Macaronis with no other boats. How could a modern Mentawai trip compare? Sam had done six trips since and his answer was get the best skipper in the fleet, beat the crowds by getting to the secret spots. And so the Barrenjoey was chosen for it's legendary captain, John "Buckets" Mcgroder. So imagine the confusion 6 months out when we find out it's not McGroder because he is having a baby, but instead our captain will be Ben Hillier. Who? The website tells us he's done a couple of seasons here and there, some as captain, some as a decky, and he can speak Bahasa.
It isn't what we planned but what do you do? So there we are, drinking beers at the Bumi, and this grommet comes along and says, "Gidday, i'm Hillzy!" This little man turned out to be the saviour of our trip. It didn't even feel like we were in the same place as 12 years ago. The energy, and style Hillzy bought to our trip elevated above anything we could have expected. The solid infrastructure put into place by the McGroders on the Barrenjoey is unsurpassed. There might be flashier boats, but few have the nuts and bolts cold steel surf friendly features of the BJ, and none have the Bynda Laut. This beast of a speed boat is a joy to behold. 2 x 175 out boards and a cruising speed of 37 knots. Put it the hands of Mr Hillier and you have surf trip poetry.
For a bunch of old mutts, hanging for a week on this fine vessel, and charging round the ocean on the Bynda and getting pitted at secret spots, sipping Bintangs, was if anything better than a week at maccas in the 90s.
Thanks Hillzy, Choma, Eric, Elvis, Pim, John and Belinda McGroder. We will never forget that trip.
Tim, Tel, Adder, Mule, CJ, Anus, and Nozza.