Hello Mr. SeaTurtle!
31.03.2012 - 13.04.2012 33 °C
Arriving in Bali there was a strange sense of deja vu. We had been here 2 years previously on our honeymoon. After the trials of traveling around Kalimantan it felt safe. We grabbed a cab and headed for some resort time at the Mecure Sanur.
Enjoying a Bintang in Bali.
There is very little to report from the those 5 days. We swam, we slept, we watched movies on the box and we ate. The food was good after the more basic fare on Borneo. We even broke our self made "pinkie promise" not to eat any more spaghetti carbonara's in Asia after finding a yummy Italian. The only other event was that I pulled my back at a yoga class which made for a very grumpy Justin over the last two days of our trip. However it felt like the well needed holiday from our holiday and we jumped on the fast boat to the Gili Islands.
Arriving in Gili Air.
The Gili islands sit off the north west tip of Lombok. Three tiny coral islands that have caught the tourist wave and are now well on the pancake trail. Trawangan is the largest and furthest out, the party island. Meno is the smallest and next in line, the quiet island. Air sits a short distance off the Lombok coast and lies somewhere between party and quiet. We had one aim here and that was diving. We got a ferry from Trawangan to Air and headed straight to Manta Dive School to book our open water course.
So the next morning we were up early at the pool to start learning scuba diving! I had actually done this once before when I was 17 years old and had already got my advanced certificate. However I hadn't dived for 10 years and couldn't remember much. I was glad to be starting right from the begining again with Lynne. After a day in the pool getting used to the equipment and drills we were ready for our first open water dive. Well I was, Lynne wasn't so sure. However I think any reservation soon went out of the window when the first sea turtle swam by and both Lynne and I's faces lit up.
Lynne is ok!
Over the next two days we did four dives to a maxiumum depth of 18m and saw many amazing sights. Turtles, turtles, turtles, pristine coral and fish, fish, and fish. Lynne just keep humming "keep on swimming". We were loving our diving. So much so that we just went straight on and did our advanced divers course. The 3 days we planned on Gili Air soon became 9, but you couldn't ask for a more beautiful place to waste away a week. The perfect desert island feel (no motorised vehicles), great coral and fish within 2m on the shore line and all this flanked by Gunung Batur on Bali and Gunung Rinjani on Lombok. These huge volcanoes were the perfect back drop and made for some stunning sunrises and sunsets.
Over the first 8 dives we saw some beautiful sights. Our highlights would be:
Bat fish with their crazy eye.
Loads of sea turles. Majestic creatures effortlessly swimming through the clear waters. Green and Hawksbill. Green turtles have clean shells as they carry around moray fish with them. Hawksbills are the scruffier ones.
Bumper head parrot fish. Giant parrot fish who head-butt the coral and then munch up the mulch. Impressive shoal all banging away.
Beautiful corals at Mirkos reef.
White tipped reef sharks. We saw three biggies on one dive 6ft long. Definitely more scared of us than us of them.
Blue spotted rays. The way they glide through the water is beautiful.
Team Woolley go Sub Aqua. Demonstrating hand signals for sea turtles. We went a little sea turtle mad!
However not all was perfect in paradise. Lynne was getting increasing pain from her ear and on waking with lots of muck on the pillow one morning I swung all 13 years of medical training into action and diagnosed a dickie ear (otitis externa) and sent her off to get some drops. I sent her off because yet again had an upset stomach. My proud gut of steel reduced to crepe paper at best. Rob, our dive guru, suggested we take some time to recover. This gave us two days off from diving and a chance to recover a bit. As soon as things settled I was snorkelling and Lynne was pacing the island, and to my horror- finding shops.
Our digs in Gili Air: Gita Gili
Feeling much better we both embarked on our final dive for our advanced certificate. The digital photography dive. Of course this dive had one of the worst visibilites of the lot (15m as opposed to 40m+ on some days) but it came through with some amazing wild life. A green turtles sat in a barrel coral, moray eels, blue spotted stingrays, pipefish (cousins of the seahorse), lion fish, huge puffer fish as well as all the usual Trigger, Surgeon, False clown, Parrot, Angel, Trumpet, Box, Scorpion, Butterfly, Damsel, Moorish Idols, Grouper, Seargent fish and more. And amazingly we can name them all by sight now as well as knowing all the different hand signals for them, which really adds to the experience.
Green Back Turtle in a barrel coral.
Hand signal for sea turtle by Lynne!
Blue Spotted Stingray
Action Man Justin- Sub Aqua version.
We were very sad to leave the Gili's but we had itchy feet and the rest of Nusa Tenggara was calling. Thanks must go to the Chillout Bar where we must have ate over 15 times. Very yummy and a wonderful welcoming manager.