Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sup World Trip Part 1 Yap, Micronesia

Grass skirts, Stone money, and western influences

After our first trip with inflatables in Europe with a rail pass. We wanted to take it one step further and explore far away places in the world. This time we bought a round the world ticket with stopovers at all the continents.

Our first destination was Yap. This tiny island belongs to one of the 186 islands of Micronesia. And is known for their traditional culture. One of the last islands in the Pacific that still resists to the western ways.

At the airport we are welcomed by 2 bare chested women in grass skirts who hang two leis around our necks. With only two planes a week arriving in Yap,  it is not a busy airport.

We get a ride from a police man to a small piece of land in the middle of town where we inflate our tent for the first night (yes we also have an inflatable tent, at least the poles are).

In the next days we travel to the North of the island, to a village,  Wanead, where we ask permission to put up our tent. On Yap the land is owned by the people. You always have to ask permission to use the land or visit certain villages. As soon as we had made camp, we inflate our boards and paddle for hours along the coast.

Yap has a lush green interior full with palm and betel nut trees. The coast is mostly covered with mangroves and around the whole island is a protecting reef where you can find manta rays up to 20 feet wide. One big oasis with only 10,000 inhabitants and no industries.
The pace is slow on the island. Partly because there is not much too do other than fish and find food, partly also because almost everyone is chewing betel nuts. A subtle narcotic which produces orange stained teeth and lips. The Yapese do this all day, every day.

When we paddle here, we see the man-houses at the beech and the Seaworthy outriggers with which they, until very recently, sailed to the outer island and Guam or Palau, often 7-10 days at sea, relying only on the stars for navigation.

One day we paddle to Rumung, the utmost northern island of Yap.  This time with special permission and with a local inhabitant of Rumung. Without him no one can enter the island.

There we see the biggest stone money of the island. A form of payment made out of a giant round carved stone with a hole in the middle. Once Stone money was the only form of payment, now it is still in use today for certain transactions or settling fights.  

There is a lot more to say about this little paradise in the Pacific which we will safe for later

Now  we are on our way to Kathmandu, Nepal where the story continues.

The gear we bring on Sup World Trip

On this Sup World Trip, Franz and I keep it very simple and bring as little gear as we can.

We bring 2 inflatable Starboard SUP boards. They are packed ready for traveling, in a back pack.
One 14'0 x 30 Touring deluxe with bungees front and back to bring gear for longer trips.
Perfect board longer tours almost anywhere, crossings, rivers, lake, open ocean
And one 10'5 x 30  Drive Zen, good allround board which also works in the waves, good for rivers and shorter tours.With these boards we cover most places we will find on our trip.

This time, we choose for the Starboard 3- piece Tiki Tech paddles. Theses are almost indestructible and easy to travel with because the pieces fit in the inflatable backpack.

Rest of the gear
Inflatable tent (3-man, so all the gear fits inside) HeimPlanet
2 ultra compact and light sleeping backs
2 short sleeping mats
2 leashes
Suunto Ambits3 GPS watch
Underwater goggle
Utility knife,  rope and repair kit
Mini iPad and IPhone
A few shirts and shorts
And a lot of cables and other sh!? Franz brought along, ok he is the photographer, I understand
One long pants ( at home I call them my fly pants)
One shell jacket
Trail running shoes and flip flops

Photo gear
2 DSLR Nikon Cameras
2 Go Pros
1 small Nikon underwater camera

Monday, April 13, 2015

The SUP World Trip

After working with Photographer Franz Orsi in Japan and Europe we decided to do another exciting new Project. The Sup World Adventure. The concept is simple. We buy a around-the-world ticket and  visit the corners of the world to explore with a SUP, the people who live with, in  or on the water. Ocean, river, sea, lake. We wanted to see the communities you don't hear or see much  about.  So in the next few weeks we will be traveling to remote places. Leaving next Thursday our first stop is Yap. A remote small island in the Pacific belonging to Micronesia. An island where  only 2 planes a week land.

Our around the world ticket consist of 17 flights. Our last stop will be Suyalito, Mexico where the ISA SUP World Championships are this year.

A small accident last week in Thailand almost put an end to the adventure but after limping for a week, the stitches are out now and my knee starts to bend better and better. This week was suppose to be a hard training week but turned out to be working in the store and no training at all, to give the knee some chance to heal.
Right now packing my bags again. We try to travel as light as possible. With a Starboard  inflatable SUP for each of us, just some clothing, an inflatable tent and the camera gear. 
Next post I will show all you everything I bring.