Kraken’s Stories From The Deep: The Full Shipwreck Classic
Welcome to Stories From The Deep, a new series presented by Kraken Spiced Rum. Over the coming months we’ll gift you stories that you may have (but more likely haven’t) heard, focused on some of our favourite surfer’s heaviest experiences. Think: black horizons, two wave hold-downs, unfriendly locals, or more pertinently today, being stuck at […]
Welcome to Stories From The Deep, a new series presented by Kraken Spiced Rum. Over the coming months we’ll gift you stories that you may have (but more likely haven’t) heard, focused on some of our favourite surfer’s heaviest experiences. Think: black horizons, two wave hold-downs, unfriendly locals, or more pertinently today, being stuck at sea… In part one, our boy Patty Gudang describes his shipwreck nightmare 12 hours from nowhere in the Mentawais. We’d just call it terrifying. Let’s hand the mic to Patty…
It was a trip we did with (legendary photog) Jeff Divine and Martin Daly on the Indies Trader I. We ended up going down south to that wave the Hole. We went down there and we were chasing this one day of swell and it was pumping all day, it was sick. We came back into this little lagoon kind of thing. We were going pretty fast, cooking with gas, like kinda moving. It was dark and we killed all the lights and (Martin) cut it a little too short, ten feet too short. We were going at about eight knots and came to a dead stop.
The Indies Trader
The Indies I has an iron hull so when we hit there was this crazy instant blast where we all fell forward as the momentum of the boat launched it up onto the reef. It was like hitting the brakes and then getting rear-ended, that kinda vibe – KAKOOGE! It just launched us up onto the reef. Everything went haywire inside the boat, everything flew off the shelves, everything in the kitchen went over the floor. We were just eating dinner and the chef was cooking; the grease blasted and went all over the downstairs in the kitchen. Hot grease everywhere. Super trippy.
Your mind goes through the whole gamut of possibilities. It’s the furthest south in Ments chain you can go. The first thing that goes through your head is that you’re in the middle of the ocean. You already know it took you 12 hours to get down there, even if someone wanted to help you, you’re a long way away.
Where we hit was right where all the swell was hitting. The swell was increasing, four to five feet, and hitting the boat. When you think about it it’s kind of gnarly because you’re not used to getting hit, well I wasn’t. We ran aground, I ran downstairs, grabbed my passport, put shoes on when I realised we were close to land ’cause I thought we’d have to run on the reef or something, and a couple of layers of clothes for mosquitoes.
Jeff Divine was super classic, kinda hippie-ish style. He was super epic. Martin was freaking for sure. He said he hadn’t crashed a boat at that point. He was really bummed, 35 years out there and no mistakes.
The waves were hitting us broadside. You can imagine the keel of it and the hull – we’d be on one side of the boat and a wave would hit us and flip us 100 degrees onto the other side. Inside the boat became this pendulum and the higher up you got the more radical and violent it became. We were tripping. (Californian Pro) Nathan Carroll and I were in the same cabin, face down on our bunks. The crew were like, ‘Okay, everyone go back to your bunks and try and weather this out through the night.’ But the swell was increasing and kept hitting us harder. It was like face up to the sky, then face down, then face up. We were tripping, it was like, ‘fuck, this is gnarly.’ Nathan got kind of claustrophobic and was like ‘Fuck this! We gotta get out of here!” We charged up on deck and at that point the Indies II came in. They created an anchor to anchor chain to try pull it off the reef but it was too gnarly for that little boat.
Photo: Tom Carey
Martin ordered everyone off the boat and we had to jump into the ocean at 4 am fully clothed and we did a full chain gang over to the Indies II where you swim out 50 meters and wait for the next person.
The hull had a leak and it ended up clearing out all the fuel. We spent a day and a half on the Indies II and then they bought the Indies III mega yacht and tried to pull it off the reef but because the way the swell was hitting it the Indies I had created this huge hole in the reef and gotten washed down 60 or 70 yards down the reef. It was really stuck.
Once the swell passed, we ended up walking with all our luggage, huge boardbags, into the jungle about a mile. We were tripping about dengue and malaria. We ended up doing a 20 person chain gang with all the Indos to get all the gear back onto the boat later. We finally got it off (the reef) but it took us a couple of days. Martin didn’t sleep in all that time. He seemed really drained by the end of it. In the moment he was just super on but he was definitely super freaking. That was kind of his baby.
It’s funny cause you don’t think of it when you pay the money. You think, ‘Oh, I’m going to paradise’ but that was like a totally hairball situation. We had to swim, well not for our lives but kinda. It was pretty radical to be that far down. It makes you wonder sometimes. – Pat Gudauskas as told to Jed Smith
The Mentawais are paradise, f’sure, but bad things can happen in paradise. Photo: Tom Carey
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