How has the team at Waves Not Plastic been keeping busy in the Indian Ocean?
Waves Not Plastic has teamed up with an icredible organization, "Waves for Water" in support of their clean water courier program. Our goal is to provide clean water to families and communities in remote areas who do not have access to clean drinking water.
Where did the adventure begin?
Our clean water courier project motored out to the Mentawai Islands located in the country of Indonesia. We left port in southwest Sumatra and traveled by boat for fourteen days.
Why is your clean water courier project so important?
Millions of people around the world live without access to clean drinking water Each filtration unit has the potential to provide clean drinking water for 100 people over the next 5 years.
Photos: Federico Vanno / Liquid Barrel
Our story heading into the jungle:
Out at sea in the Mentawai Islands, after spending countless days surfing from sunrise to sunset, we dropped anchor outside a shallow left reef break. The surf was pumping and I had already been barreled once that morning, just a few islands away. As the anchor dropped and the boys waxed up their boards, I took to a different routine of pulling out my video camera, grabbing a couple five gallon buckets from under my bunk and began assembling water filtration units on the bow of the boat.
Traveling aboard an eighty foot vessel, the “Budyadahri,” we were accompanied by two small motor boats. The small boat skipper, Brahm had taken an immediate interest in the water filters. Living in the port town that we originally departed from, Brahm and his family were without access to clean water and became a community that we were able to support with our clean water courier project.
He mentioned a small village on the other side of the island and agreed to lead us into the jungle and help distribute water filters. Well, that is what I thought he said! Brahm fired up the boat, motored us around the island and brought the boat to shore. Two surfers and I stepped off the boat when the skipper shouted in broken English. “Pick up, one hour,” as he put the boat in reverse and headed back to the channel.
Standing on a remote Island in the Indian Ocean, carrying two water filtration systems, our only guidance was a small path leading into the jungle. “Where are we?” As abandoned shacks, dirty wells and overgrown tropical flora gave no welcome greeting or sense of inhabitance.
Sweating all the way, fanning away countless mosquitos, we eventually encountered a man and his two sons.
"While communication was difficult, the message was simple."
Greetings were exchanged and we were lead to a nearby well. The man could tell we were thirsty from our hike and I began demonstrating the water filtration process. He scooped several buckets of the soiled water into the filtration bucket and looked on with curious eyes as the water poured cleaned into a separate glass I withdrew from my backpack. With broken Indonesian and vigorous hand signals I continued explaining the water filtration process. I then looked my new friend in the eyes, smiled, and quenched my thirst from the filtered glass.
Moments later a large smile broke on the Indonesian’s face. It was at this moment that he realized that the filter was for his village and our thirst was not to fill our own cup but to help his family!
He invited us to his home. As his son climbed a nearby tree and dislodged several coconuts, we continued to share the story of clean water and ocean conservation. We left a few books for his children, an additional water filter to provide clean drinking water for the next ten years and headed back down the over grown jungle path.
Photo credits: Liquid Barrels by Federico “Budyadahri”
Length (base of hull): 24m (80ft)
Beam: 5.5 meters (18ft)
Draft: 1.5 meters (7ft.)
Speed: 8-10 knots
Bonus: Inspire traveling surfers
A big thank you to Jeremy Wise and Justin Hensley for joing me in the jungle. Thank you Sumatran Surfariis, the crew on the Budyadahri and the boys from Santa Cruz for supporting Waves Not Plastic. See you in the water!