Monday, April 04, 2005

Simeulue - Banyaks

Click on the title to find a map of Simeulue and where the boats and needs are

Please report any findings of uplift or subsidence, special navigation hazards, current pressing humanitarian needs, on or around Simeulue, by using the comments button


Blogger Birdie said...

Lots of uplift, exposed reef, new beach at Gusong Bay, Simeulue 3/28 eq

Also: From a Uplift/Sub report Jan 31st for Simeulue from Dec 26th eq:

Reef near town of Ujung Salang. Emergence about 130 cm.
GPS location #36 (N 2°42.511', E 95°45.758')

Northern side of the big bay at the western tip of Simeuleu island. About 150 cm of
GPS location #41 (N 2°44.964', E 95°42.977')

Reef in front of village of Ujung Sumbeu (?). About 155 cm of emergence.
GPS location #42 (N 2°48.399', E 95°42.821')

Reef near village of Lhokmakmur. Emergence of about 25 cm.
GPS location #43 (N 2°54.845', E 95°50.150')

Microatoll on reef on northeastern side of very small island Linggam. About 98 cm of
emergence in 2004. About 5 cm of emergence in 2002.
GPS location #53, N2°36.790' E95°52.335'

Microatoll on reef near western tip of narrow peninsula. About 45 cm of emergence in
2004. About 15 cm of emergence in 2002.
GPS location #56, N 2°34.148' E 95°59.542'

Near northern tip of small island, Simeuleu Cut, off southwestern coast of Simeuleu.
Recently killed highest Porites heads and new HLS on feeding massive coral. About 43
cm of emergence.
GPS location #55, N2°32.864' E95°56.234

Accounts of fishermen of Lauhe village at reef. Water levels after 2004 quake are 10-15
cm lower. After 2002 earthquake, water levels were about 10 cm lower, but recovered to
normal within 3 months.
GPS location about N2°33.7' E96°03.7'

From post-earthquake HLS to top of pre-2004-earthquake living Porites on microatoll,
emergence of 131 cm. Middle of northwestern coast of Simeuleu.
GPS location #70, N2°51.682' E95°45.785'

Die-down and bleaching of HLS on large, living microatoll, 20 cm. Just south of the mouth
of Sibigo Bay, northern end of northeastern coast of Simeuleu island.
GPS location #72, N2°50.621' E95°55.065'

Living head without any bleaching, suggests no emergence, but can~Rt rule out
submergence. Danny inspected this head. I didn't see it.
GPS location #75, N2°45.088' E96°06.566'

Locals say beach has eroded since tsunami at Salur village. No estimate of magnitude,
but this probably indicates submergence of tens of cm.
GPS (#30 on Danny's hand-held), N2°25.981' E96°15.514'.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Birdie said...



Reefs up-lifted all along the coastline. All harbors accessible.
80% of total 78.000 inhabitants are said to live outdoors, well away from coastline.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Birdie said...

Hi Birdie,

We calculated today that our GPS station at the Sinabang airport (a few km west of Sinabang, near the west coast of the island) rose 1.65 meters during the earthquake. That would mean that the sea is this much shallower in the region now. Chris can assume that the Sinabang harbor rose about this amount also.

Give him my best wishes,


2:43 PM  
Anonymous Rick on batavia said...

Batavia currently anchored at Pulau Tepak on the South coast of Simeulue. Just completed a medical clinic on the island. Treated 159 but no life threatening problems. Radical uplift in this area. Estimate 2+m

Follow link on Ricks name to see pictures

5:45 AM  
Anonymous Rick on the batavia said...

We had great success on Pulau Tepak rehabilitating dry wells.
Dug down about 50cm and hit first water. Suggested that locals dig at least 1m or 1.5 if not too rocky. Water quality was excellent but not sure about dry periods and capacity.

Until we got the local men motivated, everyone was in a kind of trance. They were walking 500m or more to get a bucket of spring water and the supply was not enough to bath in. Now we proved that the wells can be fixed they are very excited and we left them with a lot of tools to continue the work. Hope we can get back to see the progress.


12:29 PM  
Anonymous Kerry said...

Hi Rick,

Your report below was really a thrill for me to hear. It makes sense that after an uplift of a meter, the water table would eventually settle down a meter or so, as it re-equilibrates with the new sea level.

If there is further equilibration, the men may have to chase the water in the well a bit deeper.


2:45 AM  
Anonymous Capt Ray said...

Maruta Jaya delivers aid to 30 villages
'Despite all the hardship, everyone smiled'

[April 30, 2005] My first sight of the Maruta Jaya was from the plane as we flew over Sinabang harbor on the island of Simeulue. By far the largest vessel in the port, she lay at anchor awaiting our arrival. When we landed at the airport, we saw that the terminal had been leveled by the earthquake and replaced by a tent.

Care had provided a driver to meet us. The short trip into the capital was rough, as the roads were badly damaged and the bridges were makeshift. There were huge gaps in the earth left by the quake. The streets were lined with tents and tarpaulins, and many homes were badly damaged or destroyed. The people were afraid to sleep in their homes even if they could. There have been at least two major earthquakes in the past two weeks and many aftershocks.

When we arrive at the ship, I am welcomed like a Taipan. What do I want? How can we serve you? The captain and officers were all in crisp new uniforms, the crew in new jump suits, with insignias "Windjammer Relief Effort".

Everything has a fresh coat of paint, and we are looking good.
That evening I am invited to the home of the Bupati (the governor of the province). The captain, the ship's officer and I visit with Bupati and he says that he would like to visit the ship. The next morning he arrives, and after a tour of the vessel we meet in my office to discuss how we can help his island. We agree that we will take on five young men as cadets and teach them to be sailors. After a few months on board they will be rotated to the marine academy for formal training.

After much ceremony and picture-taking, Bupati says he will have a special gift for us when we return.

Our mission is to deliver aid to the remote villages on the northern end of Simeulue island. Our first stop is a small village of Labayung on the northeast coast. As soon as we drop anchor, we are surrounded by dugout canoes. A crowd is gathering on the beach. We go ashore and meet the chief.

Everyone is very curious, especially the children. I am the focus of their interest, and wide eyes are staring at me. There is a mosque that had been beautifully situated right near the beach, and it is crumbled by the disaster. The village itself is set back a few hundred meters from the shore. As we walk about through the village, we see the school and many very modest homes are also badly damaged. Most houses have been abandoned, and the people live in tents or under plastic tarps.

We returned to the ship and began loading the life boats with supplies. By 10 p.m., we are finished -- exhausted, and very happy. After three months of planning and working on this project, we have put the first aid supplies in the hands of tsunami victims. They are very grateful and wish us farewell as we sail to the next village, Sembilan. It was pretty hard hit. They used to have a pier for landing, but no more and the earthquake raised the ground level about 2 meters (about 6.5 feet), so what used to be the harbor was much too shallow to get near the village. We had to wade up a river to find a place to land the supplies.

After this was done, we offloaded supplies for a neighboring village that sent a boat for them.

Our next stop was Sebigo. This is a beautiful protected bay with a narrow entrance. The bay is about two miles in diameter with villages scattered about. We go ashore and the pier is destroyed again, this time by the earthquake. Many homes are in shambles with many living in tents, The mosque was completely destroyed. Despite all this hardship everyone smiled, and "Halo Mister" was heard everywhere we went.

It was a long day, but we serviced eight villages, most sending their own boats, which we loaded with aid. Most of the smaller boats are long and narrow. They are powered by what they call a "robin". It is simply a five- or ten-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine, or something similar, that they carry on board and then put in the shaft and connect it to the engine. Most of these boats are a single hollowed-out log with maybe a few planks added. Very simple but very effective.

In the morning, we head up around the north point to the west side of the island to the Alafan District.

Our first stop is again a big bay with many villages. This area took the full brunt of the tsunami. It was actually the closest point to the epicenter. One hundred percent of the homes were gone as if they were never there. The only structures standing when we arrived were those that were built with the debris left behind.

Amazingly, few if any were killed. Because these areas are so remote, they do not have electricity and TV for entertainment. Instead they tell stories that are passed down from generation to generation. There was a legend that says, "When the sea retreats run for the hills, for she is angry and will come back and swallow you up." These simple people knew better than hundreds of thousands whose lives were lost.

Our last stop was in the surf zone. The bay had huge breakers on both sides of the entrance. We loaded the boats and headed for the shore. I was wishing I hadn't brought my camera because I was sure we would capsize in the surf, but our local guides brought us safely into a small protected area where we were able to unload. Here the effect of the earth quake was very dramatic.

The land had risen a full two meters. The people walked out to meet us on the coral that was alive only a few weeks ago. On the distribution to the second village, one of the boats capsized. No one was hurt, but it took all of the next day to get the engine going again. We comple our distribution to more than 30 villages and return to Sinabang.

Arriving in the night, we berth at the town dock. In the morning I come out on the poop deck and hear a chopping sound below. I look out and see the Bupati has sent his gift.

The crew is butchering a water buffalo. The horns, about four feet long, are on the hatch.

We will remain in Sinabang and discharge cargo to the local communities near the capital. We leave for Banda Aceh in about a week. I'm not sure what is next: we are looking for a new mission.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Bill Sharp said...

Following is a older dispatch from the Mikumba, off northern Simeulue Island, Aceh, sumatra.

From 20 January 05

Bill Sharp
Acting Director
sumatra Surfzone Relief Operation for this project,


One more big day for the SSRO crew.

We began early by visiting yet another village located on the banks of a river deep within Alafan Bay on the remote northern coast of Simeulue Island.

Many villages throughout this region are constructed next to the fresh waters flowing from the hills, and while they are quite near the coast they are often not actually visible from ships offshore. This has lead to many severely-damaged villages being overlooked in early inspections all over the region.

These watersheds are only scarcely above sea level and the tsunami's hydraulic forces had no difficulty surging kilometers inland up rivers and streams wreaking havoc along the way.

And just like in all the villages visited to date we saw more people whose possessions had all been swept away, leaving them without means to obtain food, or cook it if they did.

And a population stricken with all manner of post-disaster medical afflictions. In our ever-increasing efficiency we determined their needs and did what we could to satisfy
them throughout the morning.

Today we were rejoined by the Asia, which we had not seen since parting ways in Gunung Sitoli a number of days back. After dropping helicopter fuel in Sibolga for Caltech geologist Kerry Sieh, operator Chris Scurrah boldly decided to resupply there and -- with funding from Surf Aid -- loaded up with 50 tons of staple supplies like water, rice and potatoes and made way for this corner of the world.

This arrival was rather timely as our original cargo is nearly depleted.

Today also saw the first local response in the form of a TNI (Indonesian Armed Forces) gunboat and another vessel carrying the equivalent of a Civil Defense group.

We greeted them and were relieved that there were no political or bureaucratic hurdles -- they seemed truly stoked we had been the first responders to the region. It was smiles and handshakes all around.

Later in the day the Mikumba ventured outside of the bay to the west and dropped anchor off a small village. It was here that we came face to face with an unbelievable sight -- the land was clearly raised a good four feet by the earthquake.

The beach upon which the village has built an eon ago is now far inland, with a vast stretch of dry coral reef now separating it from the ocean water. On Christmas Day, it would have been quite simple to land a small boat upon the sandy shore.

Now, the formerly routine act of moving from land to sea is fraught with peril and one must wonder how this village can possibly remain viable.

For the many surfers who have been wondering if the big geologic event might have affected the shape of breaking waves in this region, you now have your answer.

With some difficulty we made it to shore and went to work once again distributing supplies and administering medical aid.

By the end of the day, we knew that the first phase of this operation was nearing its end. The last bit of what was originally 37 tons of food, water, shelter and other survival materials was given out this afternoon. With the local response teams now on scene and more supply boats on the way, we felt we could turn over operations in this spot to others and move on.

After consulting with Chris on the Asia, a plan was agreed upon to jointly complete a full circumnavigation of the island and try to improve the intelligence available about some of the more remote spots of Simeulue.

The Mikumba will head north to the top of the island and move clockwise around toward Sinabong. Meanwhile, the Asia will head out the west and then continue around in the island counterclockwise past the wild west coast where there are believed to be quite a few areas where outside aid has still not reached. We will then all rendezvous in Sinabong in a day or so, compare notes and develop the ongoing action plan.

The spirit of the SSRO team remains high, and the will to keep going is strong.

As of now we are sailing north and a storm can be seen brewing in our path. This is not the first rough patch we have encountered, nor will it be our last. We will weather this storm as well.


The bay referred to as Alafan is also known as Alaman, Alavan or Alunam depending on the chart.

For additional details on the amazing efforts of the Asia and Chris "Scuzz" Scurrah and Christina Fowler, see

It includes some additional details via Kerry Sieh:

"Scuzz had an opportunity to speak to Professor Kerry, and he shared more of his findings. His research shows that the island of Simeulue rose 2-3 feet in the northern part of the island, and dropped maybe 1 foot in the south. In Nias, he calculated that the tsunami wave that hit Sirombu was 4.2 meters high. In Simeulue (which is north of Nias), the wave as estimated at approximately 6.2 meters high. Most villagers in Simeulue reported that the biggest wave hit around 9am –10am; while reports are that an odd wave hit Nias around 3-4 pm. Kerry thinks this is because the wave reflected off Sri Lanka, and bounced back onto the islands. This is only theory at this point, but if accurate it’s just an amazing example of the power of this quake and subsequent tsunami."

Bill Sharp

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Bill Sharp said...



For the SSRO crew aboard the Mikumba, the scale of Southeast Asia'stsunami disaster has been narrowed down to a single life. A newborn baby, barely a week old, laying in his young mother's arms in the wreck of a village named Teluk Delam (aka Lhok Delam, not to be confused with the other Teluk Delam region on Simeulue's east coast).

SSRO's medical team diagnosed severe infection -- umbellitus with tetanus accompanied with serious respiratory complications and high fever. The prognosis -- absolutely fatal without immediate medical care (or the next best thing, considering Teluk Delam's location on the remote northwest coast of Simeulue). The response -- load the young mother Umi (19 but looking 12), her ailing son and aged mother aboard the Mikumba, up anchor, fire up the engine and race south to Busung, where an ambulance could transfer the seven-day old patient overland to Sinabong, Simeulue's capital city, and more sophisticated medical facilities.

In the rush to evacuate, the day's activities blur. First contact
with the blasted village, the shock of seeing 100 yards of dry reef lifted into the air by the earthquake, bleaching and dying in the sun, where there once was verdant sea. The toppled buildings amid the rice paddies, eaves slapped the ground. Thatched huts, canted at crazy angles.

The smiles of the wonderfully resilient Simeulue villagers, their delight at SSRO's gifts of food, schools supplies and the, all-important fishing canoes and tackle.

"The fishermen have not yet gone back in the sea," the Kempala
Desa, (or local head man) explained. "Not only because the wave took
most of their canoes, but because they are afraid."

The SSRO was founded by surfers, it was then explained, who also
know the ocean can be a terrible power, but that after each wave passes -- any wave -- life begins again.

Two more canoes were delivered to the joy of the village's fishing team.

The SSRO crew was extremely gratified to provide at least a small measure of renewed life to Teluk Delam; from the school's new chalkboard to the three braying breeding goats who sailed so far on the Mikumba to reach this shore.

And with luck perhaps, save a life.

A new life, born amid the
wreckage of the life-changing cataclysm. This single heart, beating bravely -- with the blessing of his young mother christened "Radja," the arabic word for hope.




After sailing south from Leukon on Simeulue's northwest coast, the
Mikumba arrived back in Busung Bay on the southwest tip of the island at 2:00 a.m.

Throughout the six-hour voyage, SSRO's medical team worked to stabilize the seven-day-old boy brought aboard at Teluk Delam, near
Leukon. While his young mother and grandmother stood by, efforts were
made to reduce fever and introduce an antibiotic course.

Twice throughout the long night the little patient's heartbeat stopped,
requiring emergency CPR. Upon arrival in Busong Bay, the Mikumba
rendezvoused with SurfAid doctors on the vessel Indies Trader 2.

Dr.Ben Gordon, roused from sleep, immediately transferred to the Mikumba and spent the rest of the early morning setting up an IV unit and further stabilizing young Radja, who was diagnosed with acute tetanus.

At daylight the family was ferried to shore where a van was arranged to medevac them to Sinabong, where aid organization doctors waited to provide more extensive medical care.

The child's condition is very grave, yet we remain hopeful. Dr. Alyssa Scurrah has accompanied the young boy and will remain with him.

The rest of the morning was spent assembling fishing and construction kits as well as packaging school supplies. At 3:00 p.m., the anchor was raised and the Mikumba headed back north along the densely wooded coast of Simeulue, its palm-lined beaches bracketed by steep headlands.

Cruising well offshore to avoid a maze of coral reefs, the Mikumba traveled two-and-a-half hours to the Barat province, where a string of coastal villages were reported to be in need of immediate aid, even though it is now well over a month after the tsunami.

Washed by intermitted squalls then dried steaming hot by the brassy tropical sun, the Mikumba reached the villages of Laayon, Naibos and Inor.

Charts show deep water between two shallow reefs -- but then the
maps can only be trusted so far along this dramatically changed

First contact was made by kayak, skirting a reef that produced a clean, five-foot right wall, silver and blue against a dark cliff backdrop.

On shore, crowds of villagers rushing to the water's edge, curious, smiling, but with a courteous anticipation.

A safe landing site established,
SSRO Field Commander Matt George put in with Medical Coordinator Dr. Muhammad Fadil and an interpreter where they learned that the coastal village of Naibos was still reeling from the effects of the 18-foot wall of water that raged through this peaceful shore.

As with virtually every other island village SSRO has visited, the sea-wise population, upon feeling the earthquake and seeing the waters recede, spontaneously headed for the hills.

Not one life was lost in this village, but virtually everything else was. Only two of an estimated 15 fishing canoes remain.

Relief efforts, including a medical clinic, supply distribution and
the presentation of the valued canoes will proceed at dawn. On shore, the villages lay in darkness.

They have no electricity and have had none since December 26. Their lives, as with those of their
predecessors, are now only lit by fire, while offshore the lights of the Mikumba at anchor blaze like a fallen constellation on the still black water of the bay.




The first squall hit at 2 a.m.

In minutes, the Mikumba's anchorage off the village of Naibos in
western Simeulue became a choppy cauldron. Short-interval swells
rebounding off headlands to the north and south warbled the bay, and
with the anchor dragging it was decided to stand off into deep water and ride out this storm.

Dawn came with peals of thunder and lightning flaring on the horizon. The bay from which the SSRO had planned to disburse supplies
to the three villages of Laayon, Naibos and Inor was now stained brown with river runoff and seething under the swell.

During a break between squalls, SSRO's medical team was ferried ashore and a clinic thrown up M*A*S*H-like as our earthquake-damaged community center.

Once medical relief was under way, the strenuous work of deploying
supplies commenced. The Mikumba's tin tender battered its way back and
forth between ship and shore. The shoreline resembled a battlefield,
buildings with walls blasted out, coconut tree stumps sand and debris
piled high.

In Naibos, the battlefield analogy is especially appropriate -- the tsunami surge having scoured out of the berm the remains of a concrete Japanese artillery bunker, its black hulk standing in start relief amid the idyllic backdrop.

Also dramatic was the delivery of the dugout canoes. Eight intrepid
fishermen -- the Brave Eight as the came to be known -- motored out
through the heavy seas to the Mikumba. From the heaving deck of the SSRO flagship, the two-man prahus were then hurled overboard like hardwood javelins, and fortunately only two of eight swamped in the process.

After bailing those out, the Brave Eight took their paddles -- and exhibiting incredible dexterity and seamanship -- delivered the precious craft to shore.

The capriciousness of the tsunami and subsequent damage is startling.

Naibos and Laayon are separated by a single headland, maybe three-quarters of a mile across a steep grade. But while Naibos looked bombed-out with bridges down, trees toppled and walls caved in, Laayon simply no longer existed.

During a reconnaissance trip on the back of amotorcycle, one SSRO team member asked while waiting for a herd of longhorned water buffalo to cross the road between empty fields, "How far is Laayon from here?"

With sad eyes, the driver of the motorcycle looked out upon the
barren landscape and said, "This was Laayon."

The tons of rice, cooking oil, tools, kitchen implements, canned
fish, schools supplies, fresh produce, clothing, building supplies, canoes and fishing gear that the SSRO squad delivered to these villages may seem like a single drop in a bucket of tears, but judging by the smiles and laughter of these resilient villagers as they waved good-bye
to the last boat out, it's a good start.

On a sad note, word came at 9 p.m. last night little Radja from
Teluk Delam died of complications from tetanus. He was eight days old.

But if you measure success in life by having it said that you inspired
others, then Radja's short time on earth was very full indeed.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Quit Smoking said...

Hello fellow fisherman,

Did you know that 16% of the U.S. population goes fishing at least 16 days a year?

Did you also know that over 75% of the nations fishermen do not fish during "prime time"; fish feeding hours?

Those precious few moments before twilight can be absolutely magical. Even up until 11pm at night, the largest predators of any species feed ravenously.

Don't believe me? Check out Daniel Eggertsen's story, and a picture of a couple of his catches here : "Evening Secrets plus more"

I want you to do me a favor and try it out so I can see what you think of it, and if it works for you as well as it did for me.

You will be one of the first to try it out.

Gone Fishin',


9:48 AM  

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