Lords of The Jungle 40 years later.
Tracks December issue #542 features an epic double feature on Gerry Lopez and Peter McCabe’s return to G-land. Below is an excerpt from the story by Dave Sparkes.
…The amazing tree houses Boyum built were almost certainly the world's first ever surf camp.
"He ended up getting it working really well," McCabe went on. "Gerry and me were just talking the other day about how good Mike was on logistics, food and beverage and just ... details. He used to have these insane big igloo eskies – the ice would last 10 days! So we had cold food and drink for 10 days. Almost two weeks after getting there we'd finally be draining off the last of the melted water, amazing. He also came up with the hot water method. We'd have jerry cans painted black and leave them in the sun filled with water. By the end of the day they were too hot, we had to mix cold water with them to shower. Because of Mike we had heaps of fresh water. You couldn't just let it run of course, it was get wet, wait and soap up, rinse, etc. But it worked."
"While the camps have more or less ebbed and flowed over the years, Bobby's, which evolved from the original Mike Boyum tree house camp, has endured and gone from strength to strength. The better rooms now have air con, flat screen TVs, wifi and stylish bathrooms. The main communal dining area features a nicely stocked bar, chilled lounge area, and great food. Given the remote location in the 55,000 hectare Alas Purwo National Park, in Eastern Java, the comfort level is almost bizarre. Delightfully though, the rats will still get in to your room if you leave any food around at all, or even anything organic. They not only demolished my Silver Queen Chunky, they polished off my Betadine too, as a sort of rat nightcap I guess."
"Along with the rodents, the local macaques are always testing the possibility of a free feed. They will work out quick smart if you have any sort of game, and if you shit yourself or mess with them too much they remember you and hassle you ever afterwards. At one point they realised I had more chocolate in my room (yes, my secret shame) and stormed my deck. There were about 10 of them, and although they're small they have canines like demented vampires; those fangs are seriously 40 mm long and they bare them with devilish glee. I was hiding in the room, trying to sneak a peek through the blinds, but when they spotted me they all freaked and bared fangs, kind of zig zagging their heads for improved line of sight, like a cat will do for better eye contact when you spy it from around a corner. (Another secret shame – I sometimes stalk cats. I don't know why I do it, but I love the way they often schiz out when you make that fleeting eye contact.) I had no choice but to scoff all the chocolate to erase the scent, and wait it out."
"There is still plenty going on in that jungle as well. Leopards and panthers, macaques and silver leaf monkeys, huge lizards, hornbills and kingfishers, eagles, wild pigs, barking deer, civets, squirrels, and hundreds of other species. Unfortunately the legend of tigers is probably only that these days, and devastatingly, tiger sightings right through Indonesia have dwindled to almost zero. But there were sightings back in the day."
"I was here once with hardly anyone else," Gerry Lopez said. "The others had gone back to Bali for a few days, and I stayed on with a couple of Indonesians. One of the Indonesians, who only knew how to cook for 10 people, and so made these huge meals despite there only being a few of us here, was cleaning up after dinner, washing dishes on the beach. He said a tiger had stealthily cruised out of the jungle toward the water, and stopped and slowly turned his head and looked at him for a few seconds. The Indonesian froze, and the tiger turned around without a sound and casually walked back into the forest. I'd been in my hut at the time, but when he was telling me about it later, trying to describe what he saw, he finally picked up a Tiger beer can (that was the beer around at the time) and pointed excitedly at the label on the can. Then we walked up the beach a bit and saw these huge paw prints in the sand."
For the full feature Check out the current issue of Tracks, #542, on sale now.