Stab Magazine | A Wellness Retreat… On A Surf Charter In The Mentawais?

A Wellness Retreat… On A Surf Charter In The Mentawais?

Two Brazilian sisters are ditching the post-Macaronis macaroni.

news // Nov 5, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 6 minutes

We are living in the Age of Artisan. You probably shouldn’t be surprised that this reaches even the most exotic corners of the core surf world: Mentawai Island boat charters.

Stepping onto the Santana Laut in Padang Harbour, bound for the Mentawais, many seem surprised that an Indo boat charter’s hosts could be so a) cute b) wildly-efficient and c) ruling (in the male-dominated world of boat charters).

Meet Maira and Barbara Roquette, sisters in their late 20s and early 30s, two very unlikely but wonderful hosts and part-owners of the 1971-built, 70-foot trawler.  


IMG 3768

Maira and Barbara Roquette, an upgrade from the typical salty characters one encounters in the Ments.

If you’re familiar with Indo boat trips, you’ll know the wild juxtaposition Santana Laut poses against the typically testosterone-heavy affair. It might not be for everyone, but it works in subtle ways you’d never expect. The energy is just… different. And, not in any creepy way. But certainly foreign, at least from the atmosphere often associated with sitting on a boat in the middle of the ocean with 10 other men.

Lemme try to explain without using the word “boutique” (whoops). The boat is cleaner. It has attention to detail. You get the kinda premium touches associated with boat charters like the Indies Trader 3, but for something like half the price, and which we were happy to pay (i.e. this is not a pay-for-play review). While you don’t get the exquisite leather and teak finishes of the Trader, those who appreciate a nice hotel room will still enjoy the small things: white rooms accentuated with timber-clad walls, coupled with luxurious cotton, navy bed linens, coconut moisturiser and aloe aftersun products for sunburn.

There’s generally a better overall scent, too.


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Built in Fremantle, West Oz, the Santana Laut was converted from a single screw fishing trawler into a surf charter in 2015. She’s got a massive deck, shaded board racks, two toilets, a saloon with television, two dining rooms, three sleeping cabins up top and six cabins below.


Photo by Alan Van Gysen

But the biggest difference comes in the form of sustenance. At dawn, you’re greeted with a range of detox juices. Maira and Barbara are passionate about health, and spend the days before crossing the channel to the Ments doing the rounds at Padang port, chasing fresh fruit and vegetables. Those familiar with boat trips will know that the tail-end usually means meals that are more often than not yellow: Cheese, bread, pasta, fried stuff.

“We want to be the first healthy, organic charter in the Mentawaiis,” Barbara says. “We are in a remote area, so it’s not easy to find everything organic right now. Until then it will be healthy, fresh food as organic as possible.”


The menu is remarkable. Most of the meals are cooked in coconut oil. The bread isn’t that sickly foam pulled from a freezer – it’s made fresh on the boat. Almond milk is as widely available as cow’s milk. And, since they’re Brazilian, the girls make their own frozen Acai, using frozen locally-sourced dragonfruit. Here’s a snapshot of the kind of food and drinks you can expect:

Grilled fresh fish with white quinoa, pumpkin, zucchini, onions and garlic. Rice paper rolls with prawns, chilli, cabbage, carrot, coriander, tofu and vermicelli noodles wrapped in with, boc choy, garlic, and a tamarin sauce. Roasted lamb leg with feta cheese and mint, sweet potato, quinoa, and pumpkin. Chili- dusted prawns tacos, with coriander mango salsa. Any variety of juices (carrot, cayenne, turmeric ginger, for the morning cleanse; cucumber, boc choy, lime and ginger for the afternoon second session). Pitaya bowls with coconut water, fresh bananas and fruit, boat-made granola w/ chia, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds, and shredded coconut. (Full menu below.) 

The boat has all the paraphernalia you’ve come to expect from a modern boat trip but is also equipped with TRX straps, kettlebells, yoga mats, swiss balls, medicine balls and foam rollers for those inclined.

Don’t worry though, the balance is there: As you watch the sun set across the bay at Macaronis, from your perch atop the second story deck, you’ll be poured a perfect caipirinha, resplendent with freshly squeezed lime and smashed mint (offered by the dangerous $30 litre-and-a-half jug). But, that doesn’t mean the boat is above a fridge stocked with Bintang (included in the utterly-reasonable price).

The day before you depart, the crew wash, dry and fold your laundry like a five-star hotel. You step off the boat with exquisitely-clean attire.

As the girls improve their contacts in Padang, they’re working on a few charters a year that will feature yoga sessions and all-organic food. It’s certainly not for everyone, but we get the feeling that very soon this will be one of the toughest boats in the chain to get a charter spot on.

And, before I forget, let’s talk boat trip essentials. These guys have Australian-born veteran Mentawaiian warlord Doris Eltherington as surf guide. For this Stab in the Dark trip – and our second Stab trip (previously Scorched, Thank You, Andy) – we had South African Shayne Whitfield as surf guide. Shayno is the kinda guy you want on a surf trip: everyone from Dane to Kolohe loved his dry tone and he’s the single reason we ended up on the Santana Laut this year. Beyond his good company, he’ll make sure you get the best waves and turn on the brightest lights for a memorable surf trip. He also has a wicked and infectious sense of humor; he’ll make sure he tears strips of every last member of your crew. You won’t regret his inclusion. 

You can follow the Santana Laut here, and here.  Reserve your spot, here. 

If you’re lucky, you might get to wash down empty Macaronis, with a carrot, turmeric, ginger and lemon juice, made fresh by one of these smiling lovelies:  

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Empty Macaronis, as seen and photographed from the Santana Laut by Alan Van Gysen

IMG 3758

Seriously, who’d you rather spend your time on a boat with than these two?

*Here’s the full menu, because we want you to really try and wrap your head around just how truly good an experience this goddamned boat is. (All meals can be made vegetarian, dairy- or gluten-free).

  • EGGS ON TOAST: Home made bread toast, Any stile eggs, Spinach and Avocado. Add bacon (GLUTEN FREE BREAD AVAILABLE).

  • BREAKFAST TACOS: Tortilla, Black beans Egg, Tomato salsa, Avocado. Add bacon and cheese

  • TAPIOCA CREPES: Tapioca flour, Eggs, Avocado, Tomato salsa.

  • BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES: Buckwheat flour, Almond milk, Fruit of the day, Agave syrup.

  • PITAYA (DRAGON FRUIT) BOWL: Pitaya, Banana, coconut water. Add Granola , Chia seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Sunflower seeds and shredded coconut, fruits

  • GLUTEN FREE BANANA BREAD: Rice flour, Banana, Cinnamon, eggs, agave, coconut oil, Walnut

  • VEGGIE BEETROOT BURGER: Beetroot patty, Tomato, Lettuce, Chilli chutney.

  • LENTIL SALAD WITH VEGGIE PATTIE: Lentil, Brown rice, Tomato,Carrot and parsley. VEGGIE PATTY: Quinoa, Zucchini, carrot, eggs and herbs

  • RICE PAPER ROLLS WITH PRAWNS AND BOCK CHOY SALAD: Prawns, Chilli, Cabbage, carrot, coriander, tofu and vermicelli noodles wrapped in steamed rice paper, box chop, garlic, tamarin sauce

  • CHICKEN BURRITO WITH TOMATO SALSA (GLUTEN FREE AVAILABLE): Lemon Chicken, Beans, Tomato salsa with Corn, Guacamole and Coriander

  • BROCCOLI PESTO PASTA WITH ROAST CHICKEN: Broccoli pesto, Gluten free pasta, zucchini and roast chicken.

  • STEAK SANDWICH WITH SWEET POTATO BACKED CHIPS: Home made bread, Roast tomato, Caramelised onions, Sauerkraut. (GLUTEN FREE AND VEGETARIAN AVAILABLE)   

  • SQUID SOFT TACOS WITH MANGO SALSA: Tortilla, Crumbed squid, Chilli sauce, Mango, Tomato, Onion, Lettuce, Cabbage and Coriander.  

  • BROWN RICE AND CHICKPEA SALAD WITH LEMON CHICKEN: Brown rice, Chickpea, Turmeric, Broccoli, Onion, Garlic, Chicken beast and Lemon sauce.

  • MEXICAN STILE BAKED SWEET POTATO: Sweet potato, Tomato, Capsicum, Onions, Chilli, Guacamole, Lemon and Beef skewer.

  • VEGGIE GREEN CURRY: With black rice and tofu salad.

  • STEAK WITH SWEET POTATO SALAD: Broccoli, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Walnuts, Egg salad with mustard sauce and Steak

  • ROAST CHICKEN GREEN SALSA, WITH CUSCUS AND ROAST VEGGIES: Cuscus, Pumpkin, Zucchini, Sweet potato, Onion Chicken Green tomato and Celery.

  • QUINOA SALAD WITH FISH GRILLED: White quinoa, Pumpkin, Zucchini, Onions, Garlic  and grilled fish.

  • YELLOW DAL WITH TURMERIC CAULIFLOWER RICE: Yellow Lentil, Roasted Veggies, Fresh turmeric, Cauliflower, Chicken Skewer.    

  • LEG Of LAMB WITH QUINOA SALAD: Roasted leg lamb, White quinoa, Sweet potato, Pumpkin, Feta cheese, mint.

  • NASI CAMPUR: Red rice, Baked tempe, Tufo, Green beans with Shredded coconut, Ginger, Chicken.

  • BAKED FISH WITH BROWN RICE SAFFRON RISOTO: Fish of the day, Tomato, Olives, Onions, Brown rice, Saffron, Veggie stock, Green beans and Parsley.

  • VEGAN RICE BOWL: Onions, Ginger, Coconut oil, Carrots, Corn, Pumpkin, Brown rice, Sesame seeds, Chia seed, Tempeh.

  • THAI-STYLE FISH STEAK WITH ASIAN GREENS: Fish of the day, Zucchini, Bok choy, Beans sprouts, Coconut cream, chilli, garlic, onion, ginger

Cold-pressed juices and smoothies (2 fresh juices a day + smoothies)


  • Carrot, turmeric, ginger, and lemon

  • spinach, cucumber, apple, and ginger

  • Carrot, beetroot, ginger, and lemon

  • Spinach, pear, ginger, and lemon

  • Pineapple, turmeric, and ginger

  • Cucumber, bok choy, ginger, and carrot

  • Watermelon, cucumber lime, and mint

  • Spinach, cucumber, lime, and ginger  


  • Spinach, avocado, coconut water, and lemon

  • Pineapple, turmeric, Spinach

  • Banana, maca powder, cocoa, almond milk

  • Banana, Mango, pineapple, almond milk

  • Blueberry, coconut water, flax seed, yogurt


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