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Akua’s Reign In Spain

Sophie Digby samples some serious stand up paddle boarding and great Spanish food at Akua, Jimbaran. Photos: Lucky 8.


A few of you might know The Yak team up close and personal, in fact quite a few of you, so it probably comes as no surprise that although we work hard we also like our time off. We’d really be quite happy with an eight-day week, if it includes a three-day weekend. #justsaying

So, since we cannot bend time – we try, believe me – and we cannot reinvent the Gregorian calendar, we just have to find a way to slip in that little bit extra for fun and frolics.

Lo and behold we find it. Quite by mistake I admit, but some of the best inventions have been born out of pure chance and ‘whoops, that wasn’t supposed to happen’.

We find ourselves, on a random Wednesday afternoon, heading to Jimbaran to embark on something called SUP (Stand Up Paddle, for those uninitiated) and kayaking – I suppose it goes without saying that Yakkers are naturally good at the latter…


Akua is our destination, located on Pantai Jimbaran next to the first ever restaurants of Jimbaran Fish Market.

To fill you in Akua Bali is a divine Spanish restaurant, spread over three floors with an eco friendly water sports ‘arm’. And so to dinner we have come, but first a calorie-burning session is in order so that we can seriously tuck in and gorge ourselves on the amazing food that Chef Ion Gorrotxategi prepares.

José, boosting our office energy to sporting levels, cajoles us in to taking our boards, paddles and kayaks to the water’s edge. And we are off into the small waves and paddling southwards edging away from the shore. We thought Sundara (Four Seasons Jimbaran) might be an on-the-way watering-hole surprise, and F & I decided we would be ordering the Espresso Martini. We were both wrong. We are here, José reminds us, to get away from it all, to look at Bali and life in general from another perspective; to paddle out in nature, as birds dive bomb for fish, as the fishing boats start their late afternoon fishing trips out to sea, as the gorgeous blood-orange sun starts it somewhat speedier descent into the horizon.

Paddle we did. Tired we got. Calories we burnt.


Passing Sundara we alight on the private beach that belongs to Mimpi Indah resort, and our troupe crafts a mini walking expedition to the old pier returning through and over the rocks. As we make our way back to our trusted water transport we kind of wish for a motorised method of return. Lazy we are.

A gentle paddle to the centre of the horseshoe bay that is Jimbaran Bay, we stop to appreciate the sun in all his glory as, with the sea and the sky, an abstract canvas worthy of God’s gallery comes into being… stunned in silence and aching armed, we flop back onto our boards, look up heavenward and just breathe.

Yes, we have found what we were looking for: we have found the midweek weekend.

Picking our our paddles and our pace, in silence and in awe of sunset, we head back to Akua for that slap up meal we have been salivating about in our mind’s eye.


Back on dry land, showered and refreshed mentally as well as physically, it’s time to invest in some calories. Spanish is as Spanish does and Akua has to be my favourite Spanish restaurant on the island – it is so authentic that if I shut my eyes I am in a bar in Campo Del Prinicipe in the Realejo of Granada. Jamón Serrano is a must, as are the croquetas. Then come our favourite, Gambas (prawns) al ajillo, Gambas plancha and of course the famous paella, in addition we add some Albondigas (meatballs) and a bottle of wine, Spanish of course. I am skipping dessert and going for the Gin Kas – a handcrafted lemonade with a splash of Mother’s Ruin (gin) to start our sobremesa.

Time has stopped, the digestion and the conversations kick in. Yes, we will most definitely be taking a midweek weekend twice a month from now on.

Grateful we are, privileged indeed.