Monthly Archives: May 2012

Snorkeling on Gili T

We spent a lot of our time on Gili T in the water, building up camera footage, using the underwater camera Ang bought me for my birthday. We had wanted to make a movie and you’ll get to see it soon enough. The snorkeling was truly amazing and we saw some awesome creatures. When we first heard out about Gili T, turtles had come up a few times, so we were really excited to see our first turtle. We had been snorkeling a lot around Thailand (mostly Koh Tao which actually means turtle Island and Koh Phangan), but had never seen one.

Well, we were in for a delight as turtles seemed to be everywhere around the Island and Ang saw one on her first entry. When I went in, the green glider had disappeared, but I did get to see one later in the day. The turtle was really something to watch and not really phased by our presence. It was a beautiful thing to see, so close, right there in front of you. A pity they swim so fast otherwise I might have got a little stroke in. One of the main highlights though was seeing four sting rays sailing effortlessly through the water. I was so engaged watching these magical beings that when I finally came up, I was half way out to sea (well, just further out than I normally go). It was quite something though watching them flow through the water as if they were actually part of the water itself. Their motion was profoundly hypnotic. I was in total awe for the whole time. That moment seemed like an eternity and I never wanted it to stop. I reckon I could have sat there for days watching them. I think that moment changed me inside forever and Im super happy I got to see such impressive beings.

A big thanks to Ang for the excellent video. I hope y’all enjoy it!

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Gili Trawangan– A Photo Essay

no cars on this Island, only bicycles and horses

crystal clear water

a beautiful restaurant on the beach

Wow!

a turtle sanctuary

a beautiful spot we found past the turtle snorkeling point

the perfect place to relax. spent most of our days just lazying around

an abandoned boat on the beach

the boats they use are very different to anything Ive seen before

some deck chairs to take in all that sun

blue star (150,000 a night plus breakfast, with an amazing beach just on your doorstep)

our cute little bungalow

the view from our bungalow – we stayed at blue star for 150,000 a night including breakfast

just across the road there is paradise

i can see the bottom

the beaches were stunning

a lonely boat in the ocean

a sunset from a treehouse bar

a full moon rising

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Our First Night on Gili Trawangan

a map of the Gilis

After five beautiful days in Ubud it was time to say goodbye. We were certainly sad to leave, but excited about making our way to the Gili Islands. The beach and scuba diving were calling us! The Gili Islands are three atolls off the bigger Indonesian Island, Lombok. They are surrounded by white sand, crystal clear waters and supposedly many turtles. We really wanted to see turtles!

We had chosen to take the the slow ferry as it was a whole lot cheaper than the fast boat (150,000 rupiah compared to 400,000), but let me tell you it wasn’t our best decision. First of all, we were told the trip would take six hours in total, compared to three hours on the fast boat, which didn’t sound too bad, but that was definitely not the case. We were picked up from our guesthouse at 7:30, taken to Padang Bai and then ushered to an area where would wait for the ferry that was meant to be arriving at 9am. However, 9 o’clock came and no ferry, 10 o’ clock and still no ferry and then finally just before 11am the boat arrived. With the long wait we did make some new friends though, both English boys (Thomas and Adam), but one was living in New Zealand and working on those luxury yachts that travel the world (I hear it’s really good money). They were heading to Lombok to do some surfing, so at least we had good company to kill the time.

The moment the ferry left port, it was way past 11 and we still had 5 hours to go before reaching Gili T (should have paid the extra dollar). Anyway, we were still in for a big surprise. Not really knowing or even being told the process, we arrived on Lombok and didn’t have a clue what was what.

“Where was Gili T and why weren’t we there yet”. Six long hours had passed already and we were getting suspicious.

We started chatting to few people and discovered that we needed to take a mini bus to the other side of the island and then only from there, would we get another boat to Gili T, that would probably take another hour (sad face).

“Okay cool, lets do it, theres no other way”.

That mini bus ride took around two hours through the mountains of Lombok, which I must say were very scenic and we only arrived at the pier just after 6pm. We were then told to wait another 30min as we needed more people to arrive or the boat wouldn’t go. It had to be full or there was no starting that engine. I think we finally got onto to that boat just after 6 and made it to Gili T at 7. Oh my word! 12 HOURS! The flipping journey took 12 hours. I was exhausted, irritable, angry, and every other word you can use to describe being deceived. A twist of the truth, a lie, whatever you want to call it. They had made fools of us. The funny thing is I had actually read about it before arriving in Ubud. There had been a blog and someone had said “don’t take the slow ferry, it takes 12 hours and it aint worth it”. Silly me fell into the trap of believing anything I heard, so when the assistant at our hotel said:

“No sir, it only take 6 hours, I said ” are you sure?”, and he said ” yes sir, 100 percent”, I crumbled and went for it! It actually wasn’t that bad though. Looking back it was all part of the experience! It’s a learning journey and I loved all of it. The good and the bad. When we did get there, everything was forgotten. This is what we were greeted with.

the three gili islands: Trawangan, Meno and Air

goodbye sagatarius and kadeka

The ferry trip was long but it had its charms. We met some cool people and had some interesting conversations. If we had just been told from the beginning that it would take such a long time, we could have been mentally prepared for what was ahead of us, or we could have just taken the fast boat and been there in two hours. Another problem we had was that we were meeting friends on Gili T. We had convinced each other that because we were on the slow boat (poor teachers from Thailand) and leaving at 7, we would probably arrive on Gili T around 1. They were taking the fast boat (pounds go a long way in Asia) and would be leaving at 11 and probably be arriving at the same time, so surely we would run into each other. But as you now know this was not the case. When we did arrive, six hours later, we booked into the first room we could find at 100,000 rupiah a night (not the greatest room, but we were too tired to look for anything better), got cleaned up and went on the hunt to find our comrades.

time for the 6 hour journey (so we were told)

a view of padang bai

the big blue ocean

lost at sea

the long journey ends

the new journey begins

a tight squeeze

nearly there

making new friends

a tired face

im surprised we are even smiling

totally amazing

what a beautiful moon

After coming back to life with a shower and a couple shots of arak (local palm wine, that I had dodgily bought on Lombok), we walked the street a few times looking for the crew but no luck. Greg and the girls were no where to be found. A quick stop in at the net cafe, and I was able to send a message telling them we had arrived and would be going to the famous wednesday night Irish party. We had heard on the way, that Gili Trawangan has three main parties. One on Monday at Blue Marlin. Wednesday is at the Irish Bar and the Friday party is at Rudy’s. This seems to be the weekly occurrence, which was in our favor. It was wednesday, there was a party at the Irish bar and surely we would run into them there. Where else could they go? We found a restaurant along the road leading to the irish pub, started drinking mojitos and waited. After our second round and a pizza, who did we see, but Mr Greg himself. Success! We had found our friend and now it was time to experience what Gili T had to offer.

finally found Mr Greg

party time!

getting a little tipsy

ran into another saffa from cape town

Ang and her lovely French friend

feeling the pain

who knows why we were laughing, but it don’t matter

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A Sunset at Tanah Lot

The main reason we ended up going to Bali over any other destination was that I had connected with an old friend (lovely facebook) that I used to live with in London (back in 2004) and he had said he was off to Bali and I should make a plan to get there. There wasn’t much to it after that. Bali was always on that list. We checked flights (airasia.com was extremely cheap) and there was no turning back. We arrived on the 30th and were initially meant to meet them on the 2nd I think, but problems with their flights had changed their arrival times, so they only made it to Ubud on our fifth day. We were ready to go to the beach (after 6 days in the country), and had told them it would be our last day in Bali. That was all good though, as everybody seemed happy to head to Gili Trawangan (the famous island just off Lombok) the following day, which gave us just enough time to do one last tour in lovely Ubud. We had mentioned a sunset tour to Tanah Lot which included a view of some rice terraces, a coffee plantation, a monkey park (different to the scared monkey forest, which we didn’t even go to) and lastly a sunset at Tanah Lot. Tanah Lot is home to the Pura Tanah Lot which basically means Tanah Lot temple. It is a pilgrimage temple which attracts thousands of people each year, some for religious reasons, others just come to take pictures of the holy place. Tanah Lot is also famous for its sunsets, and all I can is “WOW”. They (Greg, Candice, Laralyn, and Julie) had organized the tour and we were told to be ready at 2pm. What a reunion it was! I mean I hadn’t seen Greg for nearly 6 years, but that hadn’t changed anything. It was like we had not been apart at all. A few things were different though. We both had girlfriends and he was engaged to be married so there would definitely be none of the shenanigans we used to get up to in the Uk.

An assortment of cacao and coffee beans

Thats one big mortar!

we got a few tasters of different coffees and teas

Myself and Greg (haven’t seen the boy in 6 years)

knocking back some arak (local palm wine)

the girls turn!

the road to nowhere

rice terraces

more rice terraces

a reunion with old friends

those clouds are looking scary

tanah lot

nice rock formations

an angry ocean

this place had some big waves

awesome power

beautiful

somethings trying to break through

its all about the sunset

magical

the endless coastline

a couple of beers with old friends

i dont remember what this was, but it was great. maybe nasi campur

This was a indonesian potato dish. Very tasty!

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