Bangka Island



As we get closer to launching the film, it's hard not to look back on all the fun it was to make. And one of the greatest things for me as a filmmaker, was going on an adventure of my own as I filmed Grant's (and Charlie's) journey.


And that's exactly what it was – a grand adventure. And the first stop after Grant and Charlie left Singapore and entered Indonesia was the island of Bangka off the coast of Sumatra – a place where they rarely see tourists from outside Indonesia, and one which I'd always dreamed of visiting.


Where, on the first morning after my arrival, I was walking on the beach at the resort I was staying at when a guy came up to me, thrust his baby in my arms and got me to pose for a photo without any explanation.


But as Grant likes to point out – an adventure is something which doesn't always go to plan. So while I was settling in at my beach resort (see the picture above), envisaging Grant and Charlie pulling up on the beach outside my room, I got a call from expedition project manager Dave Field, telling me that the guys had struck a storm and were headed for the opposite side of the island to make landfall.


So I quickly packed up, found a driver and made my way a few hours across the island to the town of Mentok, where despite a massive language barrier, I found a room in a small hotel, rented a motor scooter from the girl on the front desk, and went riding around the coast until I found a small fishing village with a long jetty that looked good enough for an ocean rowing boat.


And what a blessing that was to visit that place! A fishing village which I doubt had ever been visited by a guy with a drone. And so all the kids of the village came out and we had a great time the next day waiting for Grant and Charlie to arrive, flying the drone, learning some Bahasa and making loads of new friends. So much so, that by the time the guys showed up, the whole village came out to meet them, and the headman of the village did us the honour of making sure the boat was safely tied up. It really was a wonderful couple of days.


From holding a baby on a beach, to a fishing village 3 hours away without knowing any Indonesian except for "I can't speak Indonesian" – now that's the kind of travel I like!



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