Meet Mike Miller, the Pearl Hunter

This is the first time I met someone from a touring boat. I’ve seen several boats anchoring in Krui bay actually but this is the first time I met the crew in person. 

It was a beautiful Sunday morning. The surfs in Krui was small and there was no surfer in the water but some local tourists swimming. A beautiful boat was anchoring about three hundred meters from the shore. I could see the crew walking on the deck, making the lifeboat, and doing something, I could see them even more clear with my long lens camera. I took some photos, hoping that I could meet someone from that boat when he got ashore.

And not long after that, I saw a guy coming down the boat, paddling ashore with a surfboard. I waited for him in the sand, hoping that I could ask him a few questions. And once he got ashore I fired some questions. He was like taken aback by what he heard. “Good English,” he said. And I was taken aback by his surfboard. I never seen such a big-big surfboard before. “It’s eleven feet. I usually surf this board with a paddle,” he said.

His name is Mike Miller. He is the crew of that boat, named Pearl Hunter. He has been sailing with the boat for six years. He has been sailing half of the world so far. He was coming to Krui from Bengkulu with another three guys. One was his partner, and the other two were travelers who happened to take a sailing with them. “They are going to Jakarta overland from here,” he said.

“I am going to Internet café. Do you know where?” he asked, neglecting his big board in the sand, under a coconut tree.

“Is it OK to leave the board here?”

I shrugged.

“OK. I’ll tell the police if someone steal it.”

“Get on my bike. I’ll show you the Internet,” I said. Then he jumped into my bike. I doubled him to the nearest Internet café from the beach.

Mike is from California, but he started sailing his boat from Oahu, Hawaii. And since then he has been to Micronesia, Tahiti, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Australia, etc, and of course Indonesia. In Indonesia alone he has been to most parts of the country. Before he came to Krui, he had been to Java, Bali, Sulawesi, Borneo, Mentawai, etc. “This is the second time I come to Krui. We came here two years ago, on September, 2010,” he said.

Mike’s boat is made of steel. And they have to take well care so the she’s not  getting rusty. “We docked her in Thailand for a whole year for repairing,” he said.

“Have you ever happened to sail in a wild sea during the journey?” I asked.

“Yes, pretty often.” He named a place somewhere down the sea where he and his partner had ventured a rough sailing. “It’s not a big deal. We are used to it,” he said.  

During the journey Mike and his partner always spend the night in the boat. They only got landed when they finished some supply. “Now I can’t stand this noises,” he said, pointing to someone operating a machine which produce a very loud noise. “It’s very quiet in the sea.”***

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