Remote Control on Marshall Islands
Photographer Damea Dorsey spent a month in the remote Marshall Islands. He found the clearest water in the Pacific, stunning beaches, uncrowded surf, World War II wrecks and time to do absolutely nothing. He also found a resort that takes care of everything for its big name surfers and fishers.September 2, 2018
Pacific Island LivingSeptember 2, 2018
Photographer Damea Dorsey spent a month in the remote Marshall Islands. He found the clearest water in the Pacific, stunning beaches, uncrowded surf, World War II wrecks and time to do absolutely nothing. He also found a resort that takes care of everything for its big name surfers and fishers.
It’s quite the journey from Bali to Marshall Islands, but I wasn’t the first to do it and I wont be the last – surfers will travel anywhere on the promise of great waves and good times. A chance meeting in Indonesia with Aussie surf explorer Martin Daly saw me join his crew on the Indies Surveyor and sail to Solomon Islands. During the trip, he spoke of his resort, Beran Island in the Marshall Islands and showed me photos and videos of the surf – unbelievable water and waves, a stunning private 45-acre island, five star service and no more than 16 guests at a time – of course I just had to see if for myself.
So a month later, an overnight flight from Bali to Brisbane then a Nauru Airlines flight to Majuro saw me island hopping my way to the promised remote wonderland of Beran Island.
The flight from Brisbane stops at Honiara, Nauru and Kiribati before finally arriving at Majuro’s airport. The runway looks like something out of Top Gun, with military aircraft parked on the aprons. But flying in, it’s easy to see this former outpost of the United States is a sleepy hollow.
The capital Majuro is a bucolic place, but the harbour is a hive of activity with fishing boats and lots of local people walking around.
Many locations can be reached on foot, but the local informal taxi service is fun, economical and functional. Taxis stop to pick up passengers anywhere along their island-long route and will never cost more than a few dollars.
The Marshallese are known for their laid-back nature – no one is in a rush here and for a tired American, I had to chill and realise everything will happen eventually here.
The next day I’m on an Air Marshall Islands Dash-8 flight to Wotje – the nearest airport to Beran. Most of the flight is headed to Beran; global sports brand owners, a country music star and his entourage and a few others. All had the same look on their faces – excited to be on this adventure and blown away by the scenery below.
The Marshall Islands are about as remote as you can get, most of us know and certainly older Marshallese still remember the post-war atomic tests such as the famous Bikini Atoll explosion, where an entire fleet of captured and retired warships was obliterated in a single blast. There is also a persistent, but lesser known story surrounding the disappearance of Amelia Earhart in 1938, which places her forced landing in the Marshalls.
But today, this plane is full of keen surfers and fishermen, ready to enjoy spectacular sport fishing, amazing scuba diving and perhaps to explore the poignant war relics left behind after the fierce battles of WWII.
The landing at Wotje is a blatant reminder we’re not in the first world. The runway is straight off the reef, with a little more grass than coral but the plane lands safely and reasonably smoothly.
Beran’s staff is waiting to greet us, with a truck to take our gear directly to the resort. However the guests are loaded into local taxis at the airport and headed for the sea to board Martin’s other boat, the Indies Trader – it seems we’ve come to surf and Martin is adamant we’re going to get our money’s worth.
So before check-in, before laying eyes on the resort, we’re on a boat heading for what promises to be magnificent surf.
Beran Island Resort has hosted big name surfers and celebrities but it too has a laid back feel to it. With just 16 guests at any one time, the service is personal and attentive. Surrounded by stunning white sand and coral beaches, sunset BBQ’s, hammock lounging, sun tanning and meandering strolls are the norm. Beran has a nice stretch of white sand beach that wraps around the South Western tip of the island and ends at the boating dock. It’s perfect for swimming, snorkelling, and day walks.
The island offers several included charter boats, which take guests out fishing, diving or surfing. A floating hotel of sorts, you can surf all day without needing to go back on shore with lunch and snacks catered for.
In fact, all meals and standard drinks are included in the $3200 per person, per week tariff. There’s even a fridge full of Dom Perignon – but that’s not considered a standard drink quite rightfully.
A week at Beran feels like a month and it’s difficult to leave.
With patchy phone service throughout the Marshalls you’re forced to switch off, engage with others and take in one of the most beautiful scenes in the Pacific. Martin has got the mix right here – privacy, luxury, adventure, service and relaxation. I’ll be back.
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