A Travellerspoint blog

Indonesia

Who wants to go Snorkelling!!

Gili Nanggu

sunny

When reading about Lombok one of the other places we were keen to see was the South West Coastline which has 12 islands off of it, most of which are uninhibited. It is meant to be stunning and a relatively underdeveloped gem. So when we saw we could do a snorkelling day trip to Gili Nanggu, one of these islands, and see this coastline from a boat we jumped at the chance. Although not before Ro negotiated a good price :)

We were picked up early and started the 2 hour journey from Kuta to Lembar harbour on the West coast.

As we passed through the bustling local market Dan and Ro were both soon asleep, with me in the middle.

268B148D2219AC6817D36AEE926816B8.jpg

Our driver mentioned that if we had time after the snorkelling trip we could stop at a local Sasak village. He is Sasak and told us that we would learn that somethings are done very differently in their culture. For example if you want to marry a girl you don't ask her, you steal her! The man has to sneak into the village and steal the girl and they normally do this when the man is around 20 years old. He found it quite funny that Dan had asked me and not stolen me and that we are in late 20s and not actually married yet.

We were soon at Lambar harbour where our driver made the odd decision of going down the lane for traffic coming the other direction so we all held our breath as we tried to squeeze past lorries and trucks that were trying to leave. It seems we were just picking up a guy before going back out of the harbour to the village around the back. It turns out he owned the boat we were using and after getting a few supplies we walked to the back of his house out to the water.

272A90A32219AC68179E7DD767554828.jpg

Going this way was a real eye opener into the conditions that some people are living in. It was hard to see children crouched in the rubbish by the waters edge, some sitting right next to piles of burning rubbish breathing in all the fumes.

8B3A227F2219AC6817469E862C8533A2.jpg8B72953D2219AC68170C41EF4CF30FDB.jpg

I'm a bit cautious on small boats ever since being on one that sank in Borneo so after double checking there were definitely life jackets in the hold I was happy to set off. As we went through the harbour our boat seemed even smaller compared to the huge ferries we shared the water with, many of which were making the journey back and forth to Bali.

8B885F362219AC68170966C95972F4BF.jpg

We were soon out of the busy water and making our way to the islands.

8BB34F552219AC6817B216CD98D4D0FF.jpg

The views from the boat were great and we had plenty of time to take it all in before we pulled up on the white sands of Gili Nanggu.

8BE502FD2219AC6817481EF9084D8239.jpg

This tiny island was beautiful and only has one resort on it which at the time was being used by a school holiday camp for children whose families now live in Bali. Fortunately we arrived a bit early so there were only 2 other people snorkling, so there was hardly anyone else on the beach.

8C1491752219AC6817C8542BBFF10141.jpg

With snorkels at the ready we got into the water and were almost instantly surrounded by fish. Here the snorkel tours hand out bottles filled with bread so you can attract the fish and it seemed they had learned this well. Although this makes it fun for us to have so many fish around it ultimately is bad for the fish as they start to depend on the bread rather than seek their own normal food.

8BFBBB0D2219AC681770A8E31B82AF06.jpg

There were lots of fish to see and as we went further out passed the sand there was even more variety once we reached the coral. As snorkelling goes it was pretty good but I never been a massive fan for some reason, which is odd given how much I love diving, maybe its being on the surface of the water I don't like? Or water getting in the snorkel?

Leaving Dan and Ro to explore, I had my own fun trying to photograph crabs on the beach. They are fast!! Eventually I succeeded.

8C3074E92219AC6817278658C5AFB918.jpg

We decided to go for a walk around the island to see what else we could find but could only get half way round due to rocks blocking our way.

8C50BACF2219AC68179244DC238319A9.jpg

Check out this caterpillar...although don't touch it as its poisonous!

8C6E442F2219AC68171D5E108FEBF5C7.jpg

We would be having lunch at another small island called Gili Sudak and it was the right time to leave as a boat with 10 snorklers had just arrived. When the boat came back to pick us up we were shown that boatman had also been finding fish too to take back for his dinner!

8C66F4C02219AC68179ADD06A0FB5FA1.jpg

The short journey to the next island was beautiful and along the way the pearl farms were pointed out to us and we were told it takes 4 years to produce a pearl.

This is where we had lunch...

8CE428CB2219AC68171235CEB4DBE09F.jpg

With stunning views

large_8CF737D12219AC681701AC466E148B8F.jpg

WOOHOO!!!

8D02A9B92219AC6817E061DDC9106816.jpg

Multi tasking...

8D2003732219AC68171975AF54B646FF.jpg

We were starving and decided to share several local fish and veg dishes between us and when asked how many fish we wanted, we replied 3. And much to our amusement we were told that there were only 2 left on the island. Another couple joined us on the island a few minutes later and they also ordered fish and miraculously 2 more had materialised, maybe they had someone fishing out the back.

It was delicious though!

8C8CFE552219AC681707892B2E87F4FE.jpg

We discovered Ro's talent for volleyball...

8C9A5E802219AC681706E3ED54548693.jpg

and the boat owners son, who had skipped school to come on the boat, seemed to take a shine to Dan taking him out on kayaks, showing him fishing and also offered to go surfing with him.

8CA49E7F2219AC6817017896EFE20467.jpg

He was also a music lover and almost constantly had his headphones on and we were treated to him singing along to Gangnam Style on the way back. He particularly liked to shout out the 'sexy ladies' part.

8CADF7872219AC68174ADE8AFE64DDFC.jpg

We chilled out after lunch and were taken back to the first island incase we wanted to snorkel some more. The weather had started to turn though making the water more choppy and we could see rain clouds over the mainland. It was time to head back and hopefully not get caught in bad weather.

We spotted a beached ship on the way back, turns out its engine had failed 4 months and so all they could do was beach it.

8CB8D8292219AC6817F08BFBAE4DFE9F.jpg

It had been another great day although maybe a bit too much excitement when you have jet lag too :)

8CC8EEFF2219AC6817682D3BE3564B5A.jpg

Sxxx

Posted by doyledan 03:04 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

100th entry!!

Reunions, scorpions, chocolate and general amazingness (Kuta, Lombok)

sunny

Wow this is our 100th blog entry of our trip!!

It goes without saying we didn't get much sleep because we were so excited about having a friend from home joining us. Unfortunately it was also because the room was so hot! The fan wasn't going to be enough this time and definitely wouldnt cut it with three of us in the room, so we decided to upgrade to an aircon room which so was much better all round. This was one of Kuta Indah's newer rooms with not a broken window in sight! We found out that 'Indah' means beautiful and it wouldn't be long before we saw just how beautiful Kuta is.

With the day to kill before Ro arrived that eve we decided to just make the most of the pool so the three of us could explore the rest of the area together later.

C7B4B5702219AC6817E4AE4B5CE21037.jpg

When it was finally time for us to head to the airport we still didn't quite believe she was coming and I think I had to pinch myself several times just to make sure I wasn't dreaming. It took about an hour to get to the airport which is just out of Praya and despite this being the new intertnational airport in Lombok, it felt a bit more like a bus station with all the sellers everywhere.

19E80A9B2219AC6817B4D1D472B747FB.jpg

We were a bit early but were kept entertained by some kids who were amazed at how tall a group of guys were that had arrived at the airport. It was a mixed group of Aussies, Americans and think a few Brits all around 6ft so they towered over the local men. They must have seemed like giants to the kids who kept trying to see who was brave enough to stand near them before giggling and running away. After being in SE Asia for so long even we stared a bit!

1A5A67E12219AC6817ED820DA667C0BF.jpg1A61B0042219AC68176E656465E82BB7.jpg

We waited for what seemed like an age after Ro's flight landed from Singapore but saw no sign of her. Then we realised there was another exit and maybe she would come out of that one. I joined the throng of drivers leaning over the rails to get a better look. They were all shouting and waving signs for their hotels and guests. I felt like I should have had my own board with her name on!

And finally there she was!!

1AD3019A2219AC68174EE78E147463CC.jpg

The biggest reunion of 2013 so far...

large_1BA1326F2219AC68173A0F07BA76BFD4.jpg

We practically danced out of the airport and were soon back at the hotel catching up on all that had been happening back at home over some bintangs and also Smirnoff vodka!! So good to have a decent vodka and coke and so good to see a friendly face!

1BBAD3982219AC6817EF9026CFAA9559.jpg

...

As we packed our bags the next morning to move to the home stay, Ro and I suddenly heard Dan cry out "Shit! I ve been stung by a scorpion!!"

The little buggar had been in Dans bag and clearly wasn't too pleased about having clothes rammed in there with him. Not knowing how poisonous scorpions are I quickly grabbed a glass and a laminated menu from our room and set about catching it incase we needed to take it to be identified for anti venom or something! I think I had read somewhere that its the ones with small pincers that are most harmful but I didn't want Dan to worry to so kept those thoughts to myself till we had got some local advice.

large_1C6FAEFF2219AC68172A870E30D88D17.jpg

We went to show it to the staff at the hotel and they gave Dan some alcohol to put on it and said he only needed to go to the hospital if he had an allergic reaction. I googled the symptoms so we would know what to look out for and decided best to sit and chill out a bit before moving to the homestay.

1C8746402219AC68170A40B6BEC6876D.jpg

Fortunately Dan didn't have a bad reaction to its sting although his finger did swell up a bit. It was quite a shock and definitely one way to wake yourself up in the morning!

Susie the owner of Kuta Bay Homestay came to pick us up on some bikes and soon we were getting settled into what would become our home from home for the next week.

1CD044772219AC68172980629690AA63.jpg

Ro produced 2 bags full of treats from home, which definitely helped us to get over the dramas of the morning! It was like being kids at Christmas again!

1D12D05E2219AC68171AB717F7F979E4.jpg1D1B1F542219AC68171B069DF149330A.jpg

Now you can find dairy milk over here but its just not the same as it is made in Malaysia and think they use a different recipe so it tastes different. Then most will have melted and re melted so many times they start to crumble. So you can start to imagine just how good it was to have chocolate from home!! YUM!!! And Jaffa cakes, chocolate fingers....the works! Thanks Ro! :)

It was time to explore!! We decided to walk along the coast and see how many bays we could check out. This area is 10kms pristine beaches, one bay after the other.

1DDA00762219AC68179EF398498A0029.jpg

We were staying at the west end of Kuta beach and so it took us a good 40 mins to walk the length of the first bay, as Dan and I had walked this part the day before we decided to see what the others had to offer.

1DF67AF42219AC68176C359672A78260.jpg1E10E6802219AC68172D1862CE896ADB.jpg1E1AFC502219AC6817B8F16611CC5540.jpg1E21EF522219AC68174C03ACC46A3F7C.jpg

As we came around the headland we arrived at the next beach and were literally the only people on it!

large_1E3964852219AC68179E216434FEC125.jpg

Only problem was that walking in the sand in the heat is thirsty work and there was no hut or stall to buy one from or to take shelter from the sun. The sand here is a bit like couscous and as you walk you sink a bit which makes it harder, felt like was back trekking the Sahara at one point!

1F1685A12219AC68179C1C9A0B40EC5E.jpg

We decided to keep on going to the next bay where Novotel, the only resort so far on this coastline is, and thought there would be other places nearby it on the beach too. Literally it is just the Novotel and then gorgeous beach so decided to throw the budget out the window and stop for some cocktails!

large_1EB0FFD22219AC6817FFBDAF6817FC07.jpg

1EBB81832219AC6817DEF263312BF48D.jpg1ED7973F2219AC68176218F2D964DF2A.jpg1EE7AE7B2219AC68176CB9115124AE63.jpg1EF1FF702219AC681708B16E819E60CA.jpg

After cooling off we continued to the end of the bay and came to a stop at one of the dodgyest bridges we have seen on our trip so far.

1F6845BE2219AC68172D2314788E9006.jpg1F557D442219AC6817E358594FAE59A8.jpg

Against my better judgement I followed Ro and Dan over the bridge not without a few squeals at any creak it made as I was almost certain it was going to collapse with me on it! Fortunately it didn't!

1F49178C2219AC681742CB2CF46FBFCA.jpg

On the other side we had to go off road a bit to find a path to lead us over to the hill to the next bay. By this point we had a dog companion who seemed to have taken it on himself to lead the way or he may just have liked the music Dan was playing on his guitar.

Stunning!!

large_1F9FA00B2219AC681796D82A071BC107.jpg

Again we had the next beach to ourselves apart from a handful of local sellers, surfers, fishermen and kids playing. Looking back over the map I think this must have been Segar beach.

1FB153152219AC6817FD6EC8606F37FF.jpg1FD181362219AC6817A42F08D0042C5C.jpg1FD990752219AC68178EF9116E11BE9A.jpg1FE8E6DD2219AC681724ADA126D8C4F9.jpg

We took in our surroundings with a few Bintangs, it is so peaceful here that definitely an awesome place to relax. As the sun began to go down we decided to head back as we still had that bridge to contend with...

209A993C2219AC68177758DDC80A961C.jpg

Needless to say I bottled it this time and preferred to wade through the water instead!

20A5B2F62219AC6817B0AC74F6DD5FED.jpg

We headed back to Shore bar to have dinner on the beach. When it got completely dark we could see loads of lights far out on the water. Initially we thought they were fishing boats but if you looked hard enough (and had a zoom) you could see it was people out in the low tide. Turns out that they were all hunting for octopus!

20AB18D72219AC6817ABBA38CDBDED4D.jpg20B41DC92219AC68177FD5EC4FE3DB12.jpg

Not a bad first day of adventuring!

Sxxx

Posted by doyledan 00:10 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Lovely Kuta Lombok

sunny 30 °C

Kuta, Lombok was to fast become one of our favourite places on this trip (which is saying something!) and the following blog posts will hopefully show you why. I just wanted to flag from the start that this is NOT Kuta, Bali. If like us, and most other people we have met, and find that Kuta Bali is a massive turn off then do not be put off that Kuta, Lombok has the same name as seriously it is AMAZING! Beautiful with almost untouched and pristine coastline, friendly people and so far it has managed not to be so consumed by tourism to have lost its charm. Definitely get here before this changes!! Although not too many of you at once!

....

We had booked a Bluebird Taxi to come and pick us up from the hotel to take us Kuta, Lombok which would take about an hour and half. We definitely would recommend using Bluebird as they use the metre and are cheap, the difference in costs we have been quoted from hotels or on the street versus bluebird metre have always been higher.

Despite the amazing hotel we were happy to move on from Sengiggi as we felt as it was predominantly resorts that we hadn't got a feel for Lombok yet and as soon as we got on the road we started to see more of it out of the window. There was one gorgeous moment where I saw a man washing his white horse in a river in the morning sun. I wish I had had the camera out to have caught that moment.

C3191C3C2219AC6817C92FAB45F3CDEE.jpgC33B577A2219AC681779E05072249661.jpg

I not sure if these guys were all heading to McDonalds but the outdoor advertiser in me clocked the 8km directional. Think this may be a bit far out to work but then on the other hand maybe it is the only one on Lombok as have since seen another one that was 15km out!!

C2F2F2DD2219AC6817C15C6D8F677203.jpg

On the way down to Kuta we passed this roundabout which appeared to have a mosque in the middle. We would find out that Lombok is also known as the land of 1000 mosques and this roundabout was tribute to that. As when we were on the Gili islands the call to prayer from the local mosques would regularly be in the background during our time in Kuta.

C400C1412219AC6817C9CC51FE589341.jpg

We had found another deal online for a hotel with pool for two nights in Kuta and so we decided to go with that to give us a base whilst we scouted out somewhere cheaper for us to stay when Ro arrived. It was on the way that I suddenly realised that I had got my days and dates mixed up and that Ro would be arriving tomorrow and not the day after!! Whoops! We had already booked the hotel but fortunately they said that for a small charge we could have an extra mattress for Ro the next day and they helped us organise pick up from the airport and weren't going to charge us extra to go along too.

C48B753E2219AC6817AD211A49AACB53.jpg

The grounds to the hotel were lovely with a nice pool but the room we were shown to had seen better days, dingy with broken windows stuck back with tape and part of the bathroom door falling off. This is sometimes the problem with online deals as they try to fill up their empty rooms which can be the ones no one else wants. Despite this we decided to keep the room as maybe we had been spoilt at the last place and it was a cheap deal.

C4BB36B52219AC68171323311239873B.jpg

Rather than being tempted into the pool we headed out to check out the other accommodation the area. We had been warned by the owner of our homestay on Air to be careful with cheap accommodation right on the beach itself as it might not be safe and also to be careful renting bikes to get to other beaches, basically just keep an eye on your stuff and be aware (FYI we had no problems whilst in Kuta). Baring this in mind we started our search, I had already done some looking up online and had some places I wanted to check out the first being Kuta Bay Homestay which was just down the road. It had great reviews and also was able to sort out surfing lessons and boards, knowing Ro was keen to surf it was top of the list.

We didn't want to jump the gun though and so kept on our search. The lane lead straight down on to the beach and so we decided to take a walk that way to get further into Kuta. It took us out to the fishing part of the beach and it was great to see all the local people going about their daily lives.

C393A9042219AC68173FD29B7B9168AD.jpgC4FDF1D92219AC681759C972E1A9C14B.jpgC5219C442219AC68173D897AAFA90E87.jpgC56576E22219AC681755A4C530BF7963.jpg

One thing we noticed straight away was how many dogs there were on the beach. We didn't have any problems with them at all but if you ve never had a pack of dogs run in your direction whilst barking at each other it could be quite intimidating. They definitely could use a BAWA here as we saw several with nasty wounds and clearly there is a problem with population control. We have since found out that BAWA visited Lombok a week or so before we arrived to help sterilise/neuter dogs & cats as well as treat any medical problems but were only able to touch the tip of the iceberg.

C36E17562219AC6817824D65360DAD61.jpg

Check out these gorgeous puppies that we found whilst having a drink at Shore Bar!

C58CF7A22219AC68178C7074D5E98C4F.jpg

Whilst we took in the view over a Bintang and grabbed some lunch we soon had several young boys around us wanting to make conversation. One called Tom was a really cheeky character but we liked him a lot. As we thought after a lot of chat on where we were from, what they learnt at school etc they soon were trying to sell us bracelets as a souvenir from Lombok. When I told Tom that I had my souvenir from Lombok as I had bought some flip flops in Sengiggi the day before. He put my flip flops on, looked at them and said very seriously after a lot of contemplation "but these aren't from Kuta, these are Sengiggi souvenir, you need Kuta souvenir!" :) This guy sprung to mind!

C6BA074F2219AC6817093CCA927AE652.jpg

We had got distracted by the amazing beach which had hardly anyone on it that we decided we needed to walk along the road if we were to actually stop and check out some other places. Can you blame us!

C393A9042219AC68173FD29B7B9168AD.jpg

We must have checked out at least 7 other places. The plan was for the three of us to share a room so once you factored in the extra bed/mattress a lot of rooms we saw wouldn't be big enough, out of our price range or not as good as the room we had seen at Kuta bay Homestay. Decision made we cut back down to the beach to walk back to our hotel at the other end.

We met this family along the way that as soon as they saw that I was carrying a camera asked me to take photos of them and I spent a good 20 mins entertaining their inner models. Its been a while since we have had people so mesmerised seeing their own image on a camera, this shows how relatively few people come through here compared to the resort areas or Bali.

C5E37D892219AC68171920B199F0A4E1.jpgC5FDC4992219AC681789FCD383B65EAE.jpg

As the tide had gone out families had come down to the beach, scouring the shallows for shellfish.

large_C6213C712219AC6817F22D2725862DC6.jpg

We met these kids that were playing with crabs. I think they may have been trying to make them fight each other but I was amazed they had been able to catch them and tie string on them given how fast crabs can move!

C610F9292219AC68170265DC900C223A.jpg

Others were playing football in the surf and these two girls had a giggle as they copied movements that Dan was doing.

C65F6BBA2219AC6817A2B6A61A7E1466.jpgC67D3F8F2219AC6817A6E78774CE6286.jpg

Traipsing round had been hard work and we were definitely appreciative of the pool when we got back!

We couldn't believe Ro would be with us tomorrow! :)

Sxx

Posted by doyledan 06:29 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Next stop Lombok

Sengiggi

We settled with the idea of leaving Gili Air mainly because we only had a few days before Rosie would be flying into Lombok. It was also a possibility that on route to Kuta in the south we could meet up with Sarah's old work colleague in Sengiggi. So we checked out the area in the usual places and found out that Sengiggi seemed to be more for resort based holidays. This made us apprehensive that we wouldn't find somewhere within our budget, but luckily on Agoda we found a deal and snapped it up. The place was called Kebun Villa Resort, the reviews were good, the price was not too beyond budget so we thought why not treat ourselves. Its those times that usually throwing caution to the wind pays off and boy did it! More on that in a bit..

To get to Sengiggi we had to buy a boat/bus ticket from one of the randomly posted shops around the island and hoped that it wasnt going to be cheaper down at the harbour. I think there wasn't much difference in the price having made our way to the harbour in the morning, the prices we heard flying around for late comers was similar but I think we were lucky in the end because we got our shuttle bus with a better company.

9050EB3F2219AC6817DE865324B15941.jpg90F608132219AC6817EDDD07C62C8979.jpg

Waiting in the harbour we saw the boats coming and going and they were similar to the ones that ferry people between the Gili islands.

90D58E262219AC68174C100326DF4659.jpg910A7F022219AC681747F1DF99866E84.jpg

The round up call was made and we all made our entry onto the boat. Our boat wasn't packed as the one that we got from Trawangen to Air so we moved about when the boat set off. This proved to be the worst thing I could have done as I had my IPod on my lap and it fell off into the middle of the boat and got covered in water. This IPod has been on its last legs for a while so I was surprisingly calm about the whole situation which I am the first to admit is quite out of character as similar situations have brought the rage out of me.

9123FBA12219AC6817453A36A2DAF523.jpgAEF8169D2219AC681733B60693520B76.jpg

Leaving the island we got to see it in its perfect form with the sun beaming and the mountains of Lombok in the distance.

ADBEF0BE2219AC6817BDD424DAE9FF9C.jpg

We could see larger boats along the Lombok shore and wandered what our liveaboard boat would be like in Komodo.

ADCAFC402219AC6817B1AF0E84C50FB3.jpg

Once we hit the mainland the details we were given were that you get a bus to Senggigi from the harbour which was included in the price. What they failed to divulge was that you needed to walk a good 10 mins to where the shuttle bus station was. This is where the mis-information lends itself to chaos and also cheeky scammers looking for a payout, and typically it occurs in many places in Asia but I wouldn't be surprised if it happens to all backpackers/tourists in places around the world where people do not earn much.

The reason I say this is that these guys will say anything to get you to jump in their 'transport' (horse cart) even if like in this case you can walk to it with no real strain assuming you can carry all your bags quite easily. The guys left a bunch of us alone pretty soon when they realised none of us were having it. One did try to tell us "the bus is leaving, you will miss the bus if you don't get on", even following us for a bit in his horse cart, but we didn't fall for it.

ADB080732219AC6817756C707536CF4E.jpgADFB9D442219AC6817251BDCD38F1291.jpg

We took the short walk which seemed to be on the main road out of the harbour and by the entrance gate there was a car park and opposite a courtyard. A helpful guy looked at our tickets and ushered us to the courtyard to wait for our shuttle bus, which wasn't due to leave for another 20 mins, so much for missing it without the lift down the road. The guys were all friendly enough and it wasn't long before we left with a full mini bus trying to make it up and down the large hills that hug the shore line where we caught glimpses of great views. At some points we didn't think the rickety old bus would make it and that we might have to push it!

Gladly, it did and we made it to Kebun Villa Resort and felt a little like the other people in the bus who were hot and sticky and making their way to their next ferry would get a bit jealous of our hotel as we drove up a private road to the entrance. We were a bit unsure if we would be let in ourselves! Our bus left and we checked in and we were so pleased with our choice!! After living on a sort of budget it was so nice to upgrade and have these luxuries!

AE1C43972219AC6817B4F39BC31E67A2.jpg

A big bed! With A/C in the room

AE435FB52219AC68179C5EC2B3054B7F.jpg

DVDs for free hire!

AE27C14C2219AC6817CB0FB3518BA58A.jpg

A view out across the canopies of the jungle

AE6309EE2219AC6817E52BD1848DDCAF.jpg

Probably the longest pool we have had the pleasure of using, and we had it to ourselves! Sarah was pleased to get some lengths in.

large_AE5449892219AC68172E337CA68B8D02.jpg

And a random Guinea Foul who was a free roamer around the hotel (although it did peck Sarah in the leg trying to get her to share her breakfast!)

AE0DA4322219AC68178833FD8A1CB521.jpg

All this for just £15 each a night!!

After just enjoying the hotel we headed out to see what Sengiggi had to offer. The town itself didnt seem to have much to offer, despite having some restaurants which looked quite nice. We decided to head to the beach and see what it was like and again it wasn't that impressive and we thought perhaps the resorts had taken the good spots (or maybe we have been spoilt by some of the other beaches we have been on).

AE742F7B2219AC68170263BF6ECD1653.jpgAE7E2CA72219AC68179D0F7358242A8F.jpg

There was a bar on the beach which would take in the sunset which we decided to have a drink at later but before we took a short walk around coast line and watched the surfers and local folk chilling out.

AE8C36D62219AC6817A32AFA94AEFC17.jpg

Sarah was in a happy mood as we looked out upon the sea.

AE97A23E2219AC68175440836E8F48B2.jpg

We went for the drink and watched the sun go down over Mount Agung on Bali.

large_AEA2C1F12219AC68170089CC46FDCB74.jpg

AECB7DE22219AC6817B50584B24F29D9.jpgAED41C322219AC6817DA9D5E9095AB21.jpg

The sunset was beautiful however the local sellers took advantage of the audience staring out to sea and decided to put themselves in the middle, holding up the sarongs they were selling right in front of the view!

AEC4F5E72219AC6817B5E478B54740BB.jpg

Our last day we used the hotel facilities, bought a few clothes and had a proper chill out not that we really needed it after having spent over a week beaching it up on the Gilli's. Sod it ....we are on holiday! Unfortunately we didn't get to meet up with Sarah's work mate but we might be able to rectify that in Australia.

Two days was not a bad shout as we were happy to move on and get to Kuta on the south coast to prepare for Rosie's arrival. Whoop Whoop!

Stay tuned for more tales

Dan

Posted by doyledan 19:07 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Awesome Air

Sun, sand, some diving and sunsets...what more could you want!

I think the title says it all but we had a great time on Gili Air so much so that we ended up extending our stay TWICE...and here's why...

Day 1

Packed again we trundled down the road to the harbour to get our ticket for the slowboat to Gili Air.

5E425F2A2219AC6817DBCB659584D35E.jpg

With the 'slowboat' only taking half an hour (the last slow boat we were on took 2 days!) we didn't understand why people would take the 10 min speedboat for nearly 5 times the cost. Also you have great views of the islands and Lombok to take in, so not a bad way to spend your time.

5E16B3772219AC68176F4F496D2E236A.jpg5E31D75D2219AC6817FB7250609D3A21.jpg

We'd heard good things about Damai Homestay online so we decided to book ahead. When we arrived on Gili Air only about 5 people including us got off the boat, a huge comparison to the hoards that had got off with us and the other boats at Gili T. Hardly anyone was around apart from a few horse carts and their drivers snoozing in the shade, there was no one asking if you had somewhere to stay, no one following you with the 'good price'. As we discussed whether we would walk all the way to the other side of the island given that we had no idea where the Damai really was someone said "Are you Daniel?", the homestay had kindly organised a horse cart to pick us up and I was pleased to see that the horse seemed in good condition.

5FF839332219AC6817830E76FF0E4E4C.jpg8967B5622219AC6817FB3C382820A48E.jpg

The island is smaller than Gili T and criss crossed with small paths. Some parts of the main 'road' around the island are too narrow and sandy so the horse carts need cut through the centre to get to the other side. It was instantly a different experience as we passed people's homes, cows, chickens and coconut trees all with the jingling of the bells on the horse cart in the background.

6137D9392219AC6817510688BA623029.jpg891EB0FE2219AC6817AC126EB0ECE877.jpg

We were so excited as we pulled up to the homestay through a grove of coconut trees and we were not disappointed.

The view from our room...

large_6055107A2219AC6817C0830123A73ABD.jpg

Sometimes its the little touches that make the difference...

609A1B2E2219AC68179A1D83B8250B6F.jpg

Coconut teapots

180_6106E9652219AC6817C23F0216CA135A.jpg

Kittens under tables and trying to catch crickets...

180_610D6F5C2219AC681708C3153299F49C.jpg

And having the sea at the end of the lane...

60EA3DDA2219AC6817CEF3084A4A3243.jpg

It wasn't long before we couldn't resist the beach any longer, we followed the lane around the island past sleepy restaurants and beach bars and we soon found ourselves on a stretch of beach all to ourselves although still in earshot of some chill out tunes being played from the last bar we had passed.

90CCA8222219AC6817E92372A34417A4.jpg

We whiled away the afternoon on the beach, soaking up the sun and cooling off in the sea.

large_61EABB422219AC68172FDD8B526FCF99.jpg

When I was a kid I used to spend part of the summer holidays with my Nan in Bournemouth and we would spend ages on the beach collecting shells (I think I still have a box with some in at home) so I was like a kid again scouring the beach for shells and soon enough in I had quite a collection... Although most of the time the hermit crabs had already nabbed the best ones.

89DCB3DB2219AC68171D05D02C78FFD1.jpg

988576222219AC6817DD4519EC92E2EF.jpg

Check out this guy that walked in front of us in the lane to the homestay!! Easily 2.5m long and we re not even on Komodo!

large_61AC9E8B2219AC68171A178C84BDBEB5.jpg

On Gili Air there is a 'party' which rotates between the main bars on the island but instead of rotating every other night, I think it is every other week so when we saw the poster saying it was happening on the other side of the island that night we decided to check it out. We had a vague idea where it was so headed along the coastal path with our trusty torches. It was a good job we had them as certain parts of the path have no lighting at all and with just the light of the moon it got a bit spooky in places, particularly when we knew there were some big lizards lurking about. Somehow despite being a small island we seemed to miss where this party was so just stopped off at a restaurant for some food whilst we watch a group of men fishing in the dark with their head torches.

8AB2B1102219AC6817F145EA3D22CCEC.jpg

Day 2...

We decided to take advantage of the snorkelling gear and headed to the beach to see what we could find. I also wanted to see if I could wear fins yet and fortunately I could...just!

60C070DA2219AC681744568C40C5C043.jpg

Close to the shore we came across a school of tiny silver fish, there were literally hundreds of them and as we swam through they parted and then regrouped behind. At one point all you could see around us was shimmering fish. We had noticed that the beaches were lined with white broken pieces of coral and so it took a while to get out past the bleached coral to live ones. We would later find out that this bleaching was an after affect of El Niño which changed the water temperature, the change in temperature makes the coral release the algae that it coexists with to photosynthsise. This makes the coral more brittle and susceptible to damage.

The water is really shallow and you could be really far out and still stand up, it was worth the extra kicks to get further out as we saw a lot more fish then we had closer to the beach, colourful parrot fish, trigger fish, banner fish the works. I annoyingly had a dodgy snorkel which kept letting water in so went back in to chill on a day bed whilst Dan kept exploring.

On our way back to our room we were approached by a girl who asked us whether we were divers. It turns out she was from Gili Air Divers and as part of Earth Day they were doing a clean up dive the following day which we could take part in for free. We signed ourselves up straight away!

91A696862219AC6817593A2E429F1416.jpg

One thing we loved about the Gilis was seeing the local people going about their daily lives. Although a smaller island than Gili T, Gili Air has the largest population of the islands with many local people preferring to live on this quieter island and going over to the larger island for work.

914E4BEF2219AC68175DA4913D838124.jpg

This is the Gili equivalent of an ice cream van, which plays the most annoying music!

98EB0C2A2219AC68170EE3208B90B2C1.jpg

Sunset on Gili Air in amazing and if you head to the north end of the island you can grab yourself a bean bag and watch the sunset in the distance over Mt Agung in Bali.

91C8B0622219AC6817153E4F7CABEFA1.jpg

Day 3...

Excited about the clean up dive in the afternoon we had a chilled morning...well you can't really have any other type of morning here. Dan went off to the yoga studio down the road.

921090282219AC68177CC7E12B477A6D.jpg

Although I could now put fins on my toe wasnt right and balancing all my weight on one foot was still impossible so I stayed back at the homestay and played with the kittens.

9727A0662219AC681746C5D92FDD4904.jpg

We got to the dive shop at 3pm and filled all the relevant paperwork and got kitted up. It was all a bit chaotic as lots of divers and non divers had turned up to help with the clean up but there was a good vibe and soon everyone was checked in and sitting down for our briefing.

94B7B2452219AC6817A2AD778E787A00.jpg

We were given a presentation on the environmental issues around the Gilis such as the affects of El Niño I mentioned earlier. One of the biggest problems is rubbish which due to the strong currents that pass through this area result in rubbish from the rest of SE Asia coming here and at certain times of year you can even see 'islands of plastic' floating passed.

9498A8F42219AC68175DF773A24EEACF.jpg

One of the main reasons for plastic being such a problem, other than the massive increase in tourism and not having the infrastructure to dispose of rubbish properly is the 'banana leaf effect'. This refers to packaging as until relatively recently in the islands history local people used banana leaves to wrap up food and once it was finished they would just throw the leaf on the floor, this behaviour remains today only the banana leaf has now been replaced with plastic. We were told more about our responsibility as divers to pick up rubbish if we see any on our fun dives if it is safe to do so. How a lot of places on the island now offer to refil your water bottles with drinking water for a small charge which is cheaper than buying a new bottle of water and means the one you are using is not thrown away. Basically the importance of the 3 R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Wetsuits on and armed with huge bin bags and gloves we made our way to the boats. I couldn't take the weight of the tank on my back on my foot out of the water, so had to ask for help which made me feel a bit pathetic when everyone else was carrying their own! But that was soon forgotten as we speeded off to the harbour area for Operation Clean Up... Again the James Bond theme tune sprung to mind.

92D0633B2219AC68176B4105D05D71CD.jpg9370CB2D2219AC68170109B0E37D055C.jpg

With so many divers going into the water the boats spread out and each group took it in turn to do the backward entry into the water. Our dive master was a local guy called Alex and we were grouped with a French couple. The visibility was poor to begin with but got considerably worse once everyone started picking up rubbish from the bottom. There was so much sediment flying around we soon lost Aex and at times could hardly make each other out but we stayed together and soon found Alex again. We had to be careful which rubbish we picked up as some might now have coral growing on it, if that was the case we were to leave it. We picked up all sorts from plastic bottles & bags, cans & crisp packets to cement bags and a bowl.

At one point Dans weight belt unexpectedly came undone, these are cumbersome to deal with out of the water let alone underwater whilst holding a bin bag full of rubbish and with gloves on. Alex and I went to help him sort it out so all was fine. In the commotion somehow my ring came off and there was no way it was going to be found. I signalled to Dan that my ring was missing which we both found funny as this is the 7th 'engagement ring' I have lost since we've been away, good job I left the real one at home! The problem was that the other couple had seen me signal to Dan that my ring was missing and were now intently searching the seabed for it! It was hard to sign underwater for them to stop looking but somehow what I did worked. We all had a laugh about it when we got back to the surface at the end of the dive and it was very sweet of them to try to find it.

It was an afternoon well spent...

952D4E672219AC681742EA8F8F4F832D.jpg

And we couldn't help ourselves and decided to book some dives

Day 4 & 5

When Dan was still sleeping I would slip off down to the beach to see the sun come up, how could you miss this! (Just for the record I did try to wake Dan but it didn't go down too well lol!)

large_96405B6B2219AC68176CE278E126847E.jpg

And I got to say hi to the dustbin man...

96C2A6182219AC68175E69B688E6E9C0.jpg

For the next two days we did morning dives and then chilled out in the afternoon, mainly at our favourite haunt called Scallywags which had amazing chairs that Dan could do more sleeping in :)

975ED4992219AC6817C00B65D3D630B0.jpg

It was fantastic being out on the dive boat in the morning. The crystal clear water and the views of the islands and the mountains on Lombok and Bali were amazing.

large_95D765E62219AC6817A3981EDD7C0AF3.jpg

We even got to see flying fish and somehow managed to get a pic of them! I ve never seen them before and it was stunning when loads of them came out of the water at the same time.

95E722312219AC68179FB949404B8670.jpg

Our first dive was at Jack point and was the first time we tried a 'negative entry' into the water. This is where you do a backward roll off the boat with no air in the BCD and keep descending straight away rather than bobbing back to the surface and descending the normal way. I was not massively comfortable with this method as like to double check mask and regulator again once in the water but we gave it ago...and this one definitely needs more practice as I ended up on the surface anyway lol! The fiasco of negative entry over we continued our descent and were soon in the company of a big turtle having a good back scratch on some coral.

The highlight of the dive was when we were surround by a huge school of Jack fish. They were everywhere and all around us, it was really impressive and we could tell that our dive master Souk was really excited about it. Turns out that even though he has dived 100s of times that this was the largest school of Jack Fish he had ever seen, so it was quite special. Unfortunately there were no underwater cameras available so have no pics of it though.

I don't think there is better way to start the day than diving and a nice cuppa tea.

95FD744C2219AC681733A49EDB67B5F6.jpg
A8BA46CF2219AC68172BCB58124C763A.jpg

The second dive spot the next morning was at Shark Point and within minutes of descending we saw our first white tip shark but unfortunately we didn't get a good look as it was swimming away from us. Having seen one so soon we hoped to see more but they illuded us. We did get to see some other cool stuff though like two huge lobsters, cuttlefish and a big grouper.

It was during this time that I found out that someone I had known at uni had passed away. Even though we werent close it was very sad news and hard to comprehend that someone who had been part of loads of fun times at uni was no longer with us. Dan and I were already feeling after being away for so long that we appreciate our friends and family so much more and want to make a huge effort to see everyone when we are back. Its odd how when someone is just down the road you may not see them because you might be tired or you think I can pop by tomorrow..but when your 100s of miles away and cant just pop round or tomorrow doesn't come then thats such an opportunity missed! Make the most of today!

Day 6...

It was our last day on the island and as we were pondering whether we should stay for just one more day or make a move on to Lombok we had a message from a dear friend from home who had managed to book some last minute flights and would be joining us in Lombok in a couple of days time! You can imagine how excited we both were and decided we definitely should head to Lombok to scout out the area and figure out where we wanted to base ourselves for the fun that was to come.

This definitely made it easier for us to leave but not without taking in one last sunset.

large_97BB0CC92219AC6817C11ABC21CC8F76.jpg

It was beautiful and made better by the local families that had come down to the beach to fish in the low tide, it was lovely to watch them all together

97D6A1AB2219AC6817C9B8AA3C301142.jpg

And these two didn't have a care in the world :)

Sxx

Posted by doyledan 17:09 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

(Entries 11 - 15 of 28) Previous « Page 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 » Next