Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fast times at superslow Gili Air

When we left Lovina early, we took a car to a small harbor town called Amed, then a boat to the Gili Islands, off of Lombok. Out of the three islands, We chose Gili Air due to the overwhelming number of friends who recommended it, and we were not disappointed. After settling down at out hotel by the ocean, we both had the same thought: "This is the paradise we were expecting in Lovina."

The island is very small (we walked around it in 1:10hr) and as far as we could tell there are no vehicles on it, save for small horse carts used to carry stuff and people around. As a consequence there is no road, but just a dirt path. It's impressive how the absence of vehicles just makes everything more peaceful.

We stayed at a place called Manta Dive, which doubles as a dive shop, since we had decided to get our scuba diving certification there. The place was nice, with very friendly staff that made us feel like family. We really enjoyed our time there.

Our outdoor shower, but salt water only
 So for the next couple days our life was rythmed by the pool sessions, ocean dives, and theory classes of the dive certification. It all went by pretty fast and before we knew it, we were certified! We took the opportunity to do a couple more dives, and got a deep dive certification as well. The only sad part is that we don't have any photos of any of this as we didn't bring an underwater camera. But we got to see more big turtles, clown fish, pigmy seahorses (they were 1cm tall), a rockfish and a cuttlefish and a huge grey tipped reef shark. I even got to see a wreck and a bicycle.

Beyond diving, most of our time was spent eating the excellent food at the fantastic restaurants and reading. We went to bed early and woke up early every day -since Gili Air is not exactly known for it's partying and diving can be pretty exhausting.

Up with the sun at 6:30 (while Denise is still sleeping)

It feels like a small friendly neighborhood.  And since we were there in low season, by the time we left, people from the restaurants we frequented were waving goodbye and wishing us well on our travels. It was awesome.

Because we left Lovina early, we were able to stay an extra day on the island and were definitely happy we did. You can tell the place is growing fast, with many bungalows being built while we were there. It makes us wonder how it will feel even 5 years from now. I hope it keeps its simplicity and the friendliness that made our stay there truly unique.

Find the rest of the few photos here.

View Lombok - Gili in a larger map

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