When a sailor first crosses the equator they must give an offering to King Neptune. But what do you give, and what should you wear? As true Brits we dressed up for the occasion and sent a message from THE QUEEN. And within a few minutes, and just one point of a degree, we transformed from slimy pollywogs into glorious shellbacks!

But before we reached that milestone, we stopped at Pulau Asu, one of our top destinations in the western islands of Sumatra. We loved it here so much that we ended up staying for longer than intended, and Liz wondered if we had peaked too early.

Mama Silvi and her family have lived on Pulau Asu since 1996, and now run local-style beach cottages. Mainly used by surfers, the occasional backpacker and local tourists from Nias and Sumatra, it is one of the best-kept secrets of these northern islands.

Her family was there for both the tsunami of 2004 and the earthquakes which hit the island chain in 2005. Luckily some fast reactions from the fishermen (who were able to tell from the movement of the water that something bad was about to happen on each occasion) meant they all took to the boats for safety until both events were over.

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Although the tsunami was frightening, it was less devastating than the subsequent earthquakes. No-one was killed, but there were some injuries and destruction of the island. The land moved upwards, giving Mama Silvi an extra 100m of beach, and exposing acres of (now dead) coral on the west side.

Visa and weather pressures meant we had to move on, and as we headed south the degrees north gradually ticked away. We dressed up in tribute to King Neptune who we toasted with a mixture of rum (because we’re sailors), gin (because we’re Brits), English Breakfast tea (because we’re English) and cat treats (because Millie wanted to make an offering too). One swig each was enough before we poured the rest over the side in tribute to the God of the Sea!

And to cap it all off? The most enormous pod of dolphins came to play with SY Esper in the clear blue water of the Indian Ocean. It doesn’t get much better than that.

🏝️ You can contact Ina Silvi Cottage (Mama Silvi) here:
▪️WhatsApp – +61 (0)822-7734-2628
▪️Email – theinasilvicottage@gmail.com

Peace and fair winds!
Liz, Jamie and Millie xxx


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    1. Arianna, you star! Great to know you are still following along. Don’t be a stranger. 😊 Liz x

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