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Published: March 27th 2014
Still barely able to walk post Rinjani it's time to see a bit at sea level. While I was trekking Geoff had gotten in touch with a driver called Agung who had taken him to the Rinjani National Park for the day. They stopped frequently to birdwatch and visited the waterfall. Geoff enjoyed it but didn't see much in the way of birdlife. Agung had asked if we were planning on any trips to the Gili Islands and suggested that we may be interested in some of the smaller islands that were quieter than the popular, well known ones- Trawangan, Air and Meno. We did want to do a day trip but hadn't really thought it through to which ones/what format, etc. This kind of sealed it - we decided that would be a a good plan and booked him for the Saturday. Agung collected us at 0900 and the hotel waved us off with a bag of towels and water!! We drove for a couple of hours to the west of Lombok, interesting drive back through the old capital and then further into the countryside. So many mosques; all shapes, sizes and colours. I would actually like to do a
bit of a mosque and old city wandering tour next time we visit Lombok- I find the structures interesting. Would love to take some photos. The roads are in very good shape, it's a comfortable drive. We arrived at a fisherman/boatman's place in Sekotong around 11am and were straight off into his boat armed with some snorkelling equipment.
The trip to Gili Nanggu only took 15 minutes or so across beautifully calm, aquamarine waters. We passed a few other boats, some stilt platforms and very little else- there is a distinct lack of bird life in Lombok for some reason. Hopped off the boat and waded ashore onto the island. There would have been 5 other foreign tourists and 20 domestic tourists tops- mainly family or school groups picnicking. Geoff went "inland" with his camera (got a photo of a boring, common as mud dove), I circumnavigated the island in about 20 mins. The beach where you land is sandy and white with a lot of shell and coral. Walking around the island you need thongs or sandals as the coral and shells rip your feet up. I climbed around rocks at one point as the tide had come
in and I couldn't climb through the big bolder on the other side of the island. The sea where the big boulder is located is not as protected as where the boats land and the sea was quite choppy. Went snorkelling after this and was entertained with a decent number of reef fish. Also had the opportunity to inspect some bungalows on the island- I would love to stay 2 or 3 nights on the island next time. The bungalow I looked at was fantastic- sea facing, little 1st floor verandah, bed with mossie net, western toilet and shower, electricity and hot water. There is also a public toilet and shower block on the island as well as a cafe (which we didn't try).
Another interesting thing on Nanggu is that there are coral reef projects going on. There was a team of workers transplanting coral into glue plugs to construct new reefs- apparently with about an 80% successful strike rate. The French had been filming a documentary about it the previous day. Oh, and there is a Buddhist temple on the island. There was a retreat here that doesn't look like it has been used for a while
but the temple is open if you would like to have a look or sit for a while.
Link to book huts- http://www.gilinanggu.com/
Link to a blog with pictures that are way better than mine. http://mixedupalready.com/travel-story/asia/to-the-west-of-lombok-1-gili-nanggu/
From here we got our boat over to Gili Sudak- even smaller, just as lovely. We ate lunch on Sudak- fresh fish and squid barbecued with soup, acar, sambal and rice- really delicious. You can buy cool drinks or beers form the kitchen there too. There were only 2 other tourists on the island this time and a bunch of school kids. Really idyllic. Fabulous snorkelling here- way more fish and fish diversity than on Nanggu. The water was cleaner too, with good visibility. Had a look at two bungalows that are being built for tourist stays, they aren't open as yet but look good. We left after a couple of hours of snorkelling and swimming and hopped over to the "honeymoon" island- Kedis- little more than a sand pit with trees. There are no facilities at all over there and you can walk around the island in about 2 minutes. Sensational visbility, beautiful colours. I snorkelled around in
about 10 mins- not so many fish but still very pleasant.
Retraced our boat trip back to the village, said good bye to the boat guy and his family and took the 2 hr drive back to Sudamala. Arrived back at 6.30 after a fantastic day.
Agung can be contacted on +62 878 601 555 15 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I highly recommend him- really lovely guy, good driver, good vehicle and good English language skills.
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