I had never travelled in a boat before. I actually remember having done it just once, just for a few hours across the Mediterranean. Everything was new and inspiring, I had no idea of what I was going to do and what was going to happen. The normal rhythm changed and, suddenly, I felt that life turned simple, basic. Primitive, in a certain way.
A boat trip is something that every surfer wants to do. Some friends —all long-standing surfers— had suggested this to me. They told me it was a rite of passage for a surfer: nothing else around but blue waters, surfboards and friends, far away in the Indian Ocean. Before leaving, I was wondering if I would be able to get used to floating all day, sharing your time from dawn till dusk with people I didn’t know. I now feel happy.
In this part of the world days start very early. If none of your travel mates hadn’t woken you up whilst messing up with surfboards and gear, then the 6am alarm rings would have. At that hour, the sun is so strong you can not stay in the water for long. Before having breakfast you had already enjoyed the first waves of the day, then you get some sleep, you surf, have something to eat, take another break, surf again. Time is fragmented and discontinuous, everything flows at a different rhythm and pace to ordinary life. Surfing days are very long and stress is something I didn’t see too often on the boat.
The unhampered horizon lies ahead. When you are floating off the coast of the Maldives, incredible views open up in front of you. Vivid and astonishing colours appear, while you sit on your gently rocking boat after surfing all day with the sun slowly setting. If you rode the perfect wave or not it doesn’t really matter at that point. While nature is disclosing in all its beauty, you — tired yet happy — enjoy the show.
The next chapter “Atolls and bubbles.
The importance of (not) being a tourist” will be out in two weeks.
Pictures. Raul Rúz
Map. Ángela Palacios
Words. Vincenzo Angileri & Raul Rúz