Alive! Surfer found in Indonesia
MELBOURNE (AAP). ? After surviving a night on his boat near the epicentre of an earthquake, Australian Marcus Keeshan will now use the luxury vessel to deliver aid to Indonesian islanders.
Mr Keeshan was anchored near the Banyak Islands when the 8.7 magnitude quake struck on Monday night.
More than 700 aftershocks have rattled the Indonesian islands since the disaster.
The 33-year-old surf charter operator was watching a movie on board with his fiancee Ayu Sepvrina and fellow Australian Gus Honey, of Geelong.
"Then the boat just started doing some really strange things," Mr Keeshan said.
At first it made booming sounds, as though it was hitting something, then it began to get sucked downwards.
Mr Keeshan, from Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, thought about moving to deeper waters but decided to stay put.
"The ocean went calm for about 20 minutes then the current just started running. It was incredible, it just started rushing," he said.
"The current changed 180 degrees in direction, somehow the boat held."
The 280 horse power V8 engine was turned on to resist the tide.
On the deck, the Indonesian crew members recited prayers, while Mr Keeshan and his companions watched the water.
"We were all thinking 'tsunami' but none of us wanted to say it," Mr Keeshan said.
"For about two hours the water just rushed with this incredible force and then it just went calm again."
Mr Honey, of Geelong, was not taking any chances.
He went to bed with his surfboard, Mr Keeshan said, so he could bob around like a cork and survive.
When they awoke a few hours later, all on board were pretty happy to see daylight. But with that came the evidence of the disaster on land.
The crew moored in the port of Singkil, where a 50-tonne oil tank usually provides a landmark.
Instead it floated past them.
"I actually saw a mosque collapse. You could just see that something big had happened," Mr Keeshan said.
"There were houses across the road and houses on the road."
Mr Keeshan said he would now use the 21-metre Antar Pulau for whatever was needed.
"There's no communication, no electricity and there's no water because the ocean has got in the water catchments," he said.
Mr Keeshan and his brother Myles run Gaia Surf Travel, a boutique charter business based on Sumatra's west coast.
After the Boxing Day tsunami they helped set up a permaculture program on the islands and were raising money for aid.
Mr Keeshan said his next charters were not until May and he may have to find some new sites.
The reefs have been pushed up above the water line, he said.