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Published: March 2nd 2014
Yesterday was very lazy. We walked towards the northern end of the island (took about 10 minutes) to the beach opposite the Horizontal Hotel, where our hotel said the best snorkelling was to be had. There were some very comfortable-looking sunbeds in front of a beach restaurant called Gili Café (wifi worked fabulously on the beach too) and we could use them for free if we bought drinks, lunch etc. No problem with this plan, except that the reef was quite dead there and so we had to walk a little bit further north, then drift down with the current. They are trying to encourage new coral growth with sunken metal cages through which an electric current is passed, which speeds the process up X4. Hothot day reading and swimming, fantastic views to Gili Meno, and Sam was the Topless Police – it is very much not OK here, very insulting to the local Muslim population, and can carry a prison sentence. Sam pointed this out to 2 American girls very nicely, while a lot of eye-rolling was going on, and pointing by local men, one of whom took a photo of her belly piercing – cheek of it!
night was Scary Food Night. There is a mini night market, with one stall that had attracted a huge crowd. It was nasi candar (see pics – lots of dishes you point to and then vaguely haggle at the end). We were a bit late, so none of it was hot, it was dark so you couldn’t really see what anything was, but after queuing for ages I went against my better judgement as Sam was super-keen to give it a go. After all, what could go wrong with vegetables, even if they’d been hanging around for a bit? I was eyeing up the yum-looking pancake stall, and was ever-mindful of our scuba day and the need to Not Have An Upset Stomach. What can go wrong is that the vegetables were redhot, even for me, the egg had a rubber membranous coating and Sam gave up after about 3 bites. So epic fail on the dinner front. Went back to the shisha bar on the beach and had an apple one, also mindful of the importance of non-smoking-affected- breathing for the purposes of dining.
Woke up, happy birthday to Sam! Happily we were OK and trotted up to
Manta Dive this morning, carrying a bag of washing to leave somewhere random and cheap along the way, as the charges here are ridiculous compared to elsewhere. Found a dive place called Diversia who would do it for £1 – result. Hopefully it will get more than a quick rub in the sea…..
There were 4 of us on the Discover Scuba day – bargain at just £40 each – 2 English girls just out of uni. One filled in the medical questionnaire and then was disallowed as she’d had a collapsed lung after a car accident 4 years ago. She needed a proper med cert from the UK and she didn’t have one, but her friend still did it. We watched a video about safety in complete silence, then did the pool stuff – got to practise a few drills like filling mask with water and losing regulator, then did the swim round the pool and keep flat on the bottom routine, then that was all – lunch break and out on the boat. Seemed very short, considering it is all quite a big deal, but same as last time as much as I can remember. Very funny,
personable instructor from Belgium and her assistant, who was a young British guy. Manta Dive is great – so friendly, and planned for drinks after, not just because of Sam’s birthday.
Off we go in the boat to the north of the island and feeling a bit panicky, can’t remember how to do the going down bit, pressed the wrong button and shot to the top like a cork, luckily not from very deep down. Eva the instructor had both Sam and I by the hand and more or less dragged us down, got us in the right position and pointed in the right direction and off we sort of went, ending up at about 36 feet. It was really difficult to stay flattish and at the right depth – can’t say I took much notice of the fish (though we did see a turtle – quite exciting) – mainly concentrated on breathing and seeing where Eva was. Hated the moments when I was in the front and couldn’t see anyone else. Sam loved it but I wasn’t so sure – think I’m happy snorkelling where it’s good, like Koh Tao in Thailand, and not fussing with the equipment
and unblocking my ears all the time. It felt like a huge responsibility for the instructors having us down there –must be horrendous if someone panics, which must happen – like taking a new baby home from the hospital! I was very relieved when we got to the surface, and then where was the boat??? Nowhere near us – we had to wait for it and wave a balloon thing about a bit, all bobbing up and down with jackets inflated so no danger of sinking. Back to the dive centre for drinks – all very friendly and chatty.
Another lazy day in the shade today, speedboat to Sanur tomorrow for 2 nights.
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