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10 Questions You Should Never Ask An Indo Boat Captain

So, you and the bros have plunked your hard-earned coin down on an all-inclusive Indo boat trip. You’re going to be sailing the high seas in style, scoring empty pits, slamming Bingtags, you may even dip in for a massage in Padang. Just don't tell the wife. 

Reality check. Once you get onboard you’re at the mercy of your captain. Don’t be a dumbshit. And don’t think for a minute that they’re going to put up with any of your dumbshit antics. Indo boat captains walk a fine line between gracious host and ruthless pirate. They don’t need your incredible inability to grasp the obvious distracting them.

Some say the stupidest question is the one you don’t ask. That’s not true. We asked Captain Martin Daly of the famed Indies Trader fleet what are the least favorite questions he gets asked. He was all too happy to oblige. just launched what may be the most comprehensive catalog of boats operating in the Mentawais today. They’ve included a lot of really detailed information about what you should be looking for if you’re going to be booking a charter this summer, as well as insights from Captain Daly’s nearly 50 years at the helm. But in terms of what Captain Daly doesn’t want to hear coming out of your pie hole, here’s his top ten questions you don’t ask an Indo boat captain:


Is that an island?

An island is defined as a body of land with water surrounding it on all sides, so if that chunk of rock you’re looking at fits that description, hot damn, you’re looking at an island.

Is there water all around that island?

See above. 

Can we go to these breaks in this order, please?

A good boat captain is as much a surf forecaster as he is a navigator (as well as a diplomat). If you’ve never been to Indo before, shut the fuck up and put your faith in your captain. If you’ve picked the right one, that’s what you’re paying him for.

Is it raining?

If there’s water falling from the sky, then yes, it’s raining. Indo’s in the tropics, it rains…a lot. Seems like this vital bit of meteorological information shouldn’t require the captain’s input.  

Is Lance’s Right a left?

No, but if you were at Lance’s Left it would be a left.

Is that a boat?

One word: binoculars. Use ‘em. 

Can you score us some weed? / Is it ok if we bring drugs on board? 

"No, it’s not, it’ll get you the death penalty, you idiot." - Martin Daly

Is that a village?

File this question in the “Look honey, natives!” category. Make cultural sensitivity great again.

Can you guarantee we get perfect six-foot waves every day with no one out?

The illusions of grandeur that are dancing around in your skull aren’t a reality. There are over 50 boats operating in the Mentawais and the proliferation of land camps and resorts have infused a lot of humans in the various lineups. The best boat captains, like Daly, have a few secrets up their sleeves, but asking for an iron-clad guarantee is just asinine. 

Is it onshore?

Different setups in the Ments face different directions. Sometimes it’s onshore, sometimes it’s offshore. The best way to solve this puzzling conundrum is to use your two eyes and actually look at the wave. If spray’s billowing off the top it ain’t onshore. 

How many guys are gonna be at the next break?

Hopefully none. Maybe a few. Maybe a couple dozen. Boat captains live a nomadic existence, sometimes the tides carry them together at the same reef at the same time. Other times they roam further afield.  

Why don’t you get a boat full of hookers to follow the charter boats around?

The fact that this question made Daly’s list speaks to how often he probably gets asked it, which is crazy. Just extend your layover in Singapore, you creeps. 

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