The day after the night before, overnighting in Bali airport followed by 5 days on the tropical island of Gili Trawangan !!

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June 22nd 2013
Published: July 7th 2013
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Day 279 (Thurs 13thJune)

With my flight at 6am and check in from 4am I decided I would stay awake all night and then when I get to wherever I end up I would sleep the day away.

I walked around trying to find a plug socket to charge my computer and keep me entertained for the evening. There was nothing in the domestic terminal but I found one in the international. I sat on the floor watching a film and various episodes of the big bang theory as hundreds of, I’d guess Australians came through the terminal, all with blonde hair, tans and surfboards. At around midnight I headed back to the domestic terminal and sat in the closed KFC dining area and continued my films and tv night. At 4am I headed for check in, a bit zombie like but I wasn’t the only one who’d done the same.

The flight was a short 30 min up and down to Lombok, where I hopped on a shuttle bus to a coastal town called Sengiggi, this took maybe 90 mins and dropped off right in front of a tourist shop, how handy. I went in and was quoted more than my flight cost to get a little further up the coast and to the Gili islands. It’s amazing this shuttle bus goes most of the way up the coast but yet again stops far enough short of the destination tourists need to get to that further transport is required. I decided the shop was asking way too much at 200,000 so walked off down the road. A guy stopped on his scooter and offered me a lift for 60,000 and told me a boat ticket was 10,000 so I’d done the right thing.

The scooter bit was hard work, as I was that tired everything was trying to cramp up. The coastal trip from Sengiggi to the port is very nice indeed, it goes up and around hills then past various bays. Took maybe 30 mins. I then got on to a small boat for maybe the same amount of time to get to Gili Trawangan, the biggest, I think and busiest island of the 3 here. After being offered various accommodation at the port on arrival I settled for one and off I went to see it. All was fine so I went straight to sleep. I slept the afternoon away and then headed out in the evening for some food in the irish bar before retiring to my room once again to sleep. In the past 50 hours I have used 2 angkot, 4 buses, 5 scooter taxi’s, 2 boats and 1 plane, this is the tiring part of travelling.

Day 280 (Fri 14th June)

Today I took as a pretty lazy day although most days when you’re on an island of beach resort are pretty lazy really. I went to the north of the island to have a swim away from all the crowds on the east side of Gili T. This was after a decent lie in, now fully caught up from my 5 hours sleep in 2 days. In the evening I sorted out some scuba diving for tomorrow, its been 4 months so pretty excited to get back under the water. I then wandered maybe half of the island, I cut straight across and then around the coast, but apart from that it’s been a pretty relaxed day.

Day 281 (Sat 15th June)

My first dive was scheduled for 9am so I made sure I was there in plenty of time to get ready. There was just me and 1 other guy (Sam, Bournemouth) which is always cool when the group is small, its saves hanging around at the bottom for people etc. We took the boat to the dive site and dived on in. I had a few problems on the descent with my left ear which was a bit of a pain but this can happen to anyone. When it does happen you just need to ascend a couple metres normally, sort it out then can resume going down again which is what I did.

We made it down to 30 metres which I can tell you is deep and good fun. The visibility was excellent, still being able to see the surface and the sun, which isn’t always the case, I couldn’t see 10 metres the last time I was this deep.

There were plenty of fish species down there and a lot of nice coral although some of it looks a little unwell so to speak. We saw 2 turtles, one of which was absolutely huge just lying on the sea bed having a nap. It must have been 5 metres long. Sam tried to hover over it to get an idea of length. We were also pointed out some pygmy seahorses which are stupidly small and not something I’d have ever seen on my own, but in reality the very small stuff doesn’t interest me so much. There was the chance for sharks or rays at this site but none happened unfortunately.

We headed back to the scuba shop and my next dive wasn’t for an hour so I decided I may as well have a bit of a swim in the sea while I wait. The second dive took us to manta point, but unlike the name there were none. Again we saw turtles and various fish, although this site didn’t seem as lively as Deep Turbo earlier, maybe as we only went down to 18m for this one or it’s just not as good a site. Also the chance of bigger stuff like sharks here but we struck out, maybe next time. We had 4 in the group this time, 2 americans and a candian.

In the evening I spent a bit of time in the internet cafe as I don’t have internet in my room, as well as circumnavigating the whole island. This took maybe 90 minutes and there is a path pretty much all the way around it, sometimes turning into a sand path but it’s still there. There are many many resorts and accommodations here, very little either side of the path has nothing built on it, soon I imagine it’ll be completely covered in buildings. I remember thinking Koh Rong in Cambodia was getting touristy but that is nothing in comparison to this island. Sometimes I find the islands can be ruined by over tourism but this one doesn’t seem too bad. The locals, although there are few of them are all pretty nice and friendly so it’s not too bad. Gili T is seen as a backpacker party place but I’ve not seen too much of that which I think is a good thing, although I have generally been back in my room at about 9pm, sometimes earlier. I have heard a few people mention hangovers but luckily for me my accommodation is pretty much right in the centre of the island and not near any of the bars.

Day 282 (Sun 16th June)

After some breakfast I headed out to hire a snorkel, mask and fins set from a guy on the street. I wanted to spend the day snorkelling. This cost a fraction of what diving costs and although you can only really see what’s near the surface, it’s still very enjoyable. You will not get to see sharks for example but I never saw any diving yesterday anyways. I took my gear and headed to the north east part of the island, this is where Sam yesterday told me he thought was best. He’d been here 3 times so I took his word for it. Within a couple minutes I’d spotted a turtle so hung around him hovering over his head while he tucked in to some coral. It was pretty cool every 10-15 mins to watch the turtle head for the surface take one huge breath and go back down again, I just wish I had an underwater camera to have taken pictures of it because it was amazing.

In the afternoon after some lunch I went of the south east of the island, this however was not as fruitful as the north, less fish and no turtles. They are obviously trying to counter that here however as they have placed quite a few artificial reefs there, normally look a bit like a wicker basket of sort, its put on the sea bed, with some live coral already attached to it. This then grows and covers the entire basket like thing. Once the sea bed is ruined for coral this is the only way to make it re-grow again, by placing these artificial reefs there. You can obviously tell the coral is growing on a piece of wood at this moment in time but in a couple years I think you’d be hard pushed in places to realise the reef was manmade. In the evening I watched a couple of films as I am trying to stay away from the bars. Beers are about £2 a bottle here which after the previous 9 months is expensive and I won’t pay it. Well maybe the odd one with a nice meal but that is it, no sessions for me in the near future.

Day 283 (Mon 17th June)

I was feeling a little under the weather today I think due to catching too much sun yesterday so decided to hang around my room a lot of the day, popping out for the odd walk and off course for food at the appropriate times. Apart from that it was tv in bed day or napping here and there. My head was pounding and also vey red so paracetamol were taken and after sun applied before relaxing my final full day in Gili Trawangan.

The only really useful part of my day was to get information about where to go to next. I found out there was a speedboat to another island called Nusa Lembongan near Bali. This island had been recommended by an old University friend to me a couple days ago so sounded good and got a plan of action sorted.

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