Time to Dive....deep!
Trip Start Dec 23, 2009
20Trip End Mar 15, 2010
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Jan 20th - I wake up at 4:00am and cant sleep. Seems like this happens every few days. Time to catch up on the journal and fall back asleep just to have nightmares that I am missing my boat to the Gili Islands....you know the kind of nightmares where this is the absolute worst thing that could happen. Back awake at 6:30, pack and one last good bye to the Fletcher's who woke up to say one more good bye. Get on the boat and start rocking out on the I-Pod. Nice views from the water of Bali, Nusa Lembongan and Lombok. I arrive 2 hours later and just as Bali was much bigger than I imagined, Gili Tragawan is much smaller. The Island has about 700 residents and you can walk around it in about an hour and a half. While small in size, its reputation as a place to party is big. There are no motorized vehicles allowed on the island so this is the polar opposite of Kutas daunting traffic
My accommodations could note be much cooler than this beach side bungalow with outdoor bathroom just steps to the sand. I head out and grab lunch at a table on the beach and meet my first friend...which is a cat...one of many, many cats. I walk down to the south side of the island as there is a surf spot...but the swell is gone. It does appear that it would get really good as a 1 ft wave peels perfectly across a shallow reef. That night after a perfectly seared and as fresh as it gets Ahi tuna I head to this beach side bar/movie theater. Tonight The Hangover is playing and I may be one of the only people who has not seen this despite all the rave reviews from friends. This place is a super sweet set up with rows of large pillows to prop up on while laughing relentlessly at what now is one of my top 5 favorite comedy movies.
Jan 21st - Time for my first dive at 8:30. The place is teaming with marine life. Rays, eels, sharks and thousands of reef fish. I get buddied up with a guy named Nick from Sweden. After the dive the company offers me a good price to become an advanced diver requiring 5 different types of dives so I go for it. Nick and I grab lunch at this incredible local cafe....Pumpkin curry with rice..$1.50
Jan 22nd - Today is the deep water dive class which I am excited about. We are going to about 100 feet or so down. This ends up being one of my favorites because we are going "into the blue" which means as you descend you can see nothing except the other divers and the blue of the water...no reef around of below you. This is such a cool feeling! We get to the ocean floor and must complete a quick quick quiz of a math problem and writing a few words backwards. We are told we may feel a little "buzzed" from the effects of nitrogen narcosis and sure enough I did! Heading back we see the usual, several sharks, sting rays and reef fish. Lunch once again at the cafe for $1.50, a quick break and its time for the afternoon dive. This class is photography. The visibility was just OK...but I was told I could take the camera out again. After the dive I run around and explore the island. It is just so relaxed here that its hard to describe. Finally not getting asked to buy sunglasses or if I need transport or a massage
Jan 23rd - Meet as usual...this time we are doing a Nitrox dive which allows you to stay under water at a deeper depth for a longer period of time. Dive was nice...seeing the usual Marine life...but also saw a giant Trevelly the size of a small car. Lunch again at my favorite cafe...then another dive class...this one on Navigation. The current is really strong today so we don't get the full experience of the class. The girls that I have been in class with as well as Nick decide that we don't want to dive early the next day so we can go out tonight. I head out on an adventure to climb to the top pf Gili T for sunset with an Australian girl staying in the hotel...but we get shut down by heavy rain and opt for beers at a beach side bar. Head back for a quick nap and wake up around 9:30 thinking "shit...at least I didn't miss my 11:00 dive"...but it was 9:30pm...not the next morning. Grab a quick dinner then meet everyone at the Irish bar. We had a great time getting crazy Gili T style til late in the evening/ early morning
Jan 24th - Up early somehow...feeling pretty good...then the delayed hangover shows up. Still head out for the 11:00 dive. Nick informs me that the air in the tanks will make me feel much better...and it did. This site was my favorite...but the visibility was bad due to last nights rain as was the visibility on the final dive of the trip that afternoon. Oh well...still had a good time as my gills dry out quick if I am not back in the water doing something. My Australian friend and I head back to try the sunset hike after the dive and pick up a nice concoction at a local bar before heading up the trail. The beaches on this side of the island are so pristine as they are not developed. We start heading up the trail and WOW...what a view! You can see all the Gili Islands, Lombok and Bali in the distance. The sunset was as good as they come and this afternoon was on the list of one of my favorites of the trip thus far. We start heading down just as its getting dark. After getting back to civilization I hit a much needed shower and off to meet Nick for dinner. Nick is another super cool person I have meet along the way. He has shared much information from his travels with me including some not so known spots in Thailand. He likes to give me shit much like a good guy friend would...which I find entertaining. Dinner was off the hook...uh...literally. Fresh Ahi once again, seared to perfection at The Beach House
Jan 25th - Sleep in a bit, breakfast, pool time, pack and I'm off to catch the boat back to Bali. This time I sit up on the deck, I-pod cranking, sun shining, dolphins jumping and me smiling as I relive the past 5 days in my head. Gili T was incredible...so peaceful and relaxing. Another encounter with great people in a great place...
Back in Bali I opt to stay at the less expensive hotel and fore go my desire to splurge on the hotel I stayed at for most of my trip. Grab some lunch and do a little shopping. I head to the beach for my last Bali sunset...well at least for now as I absolutely will be back here again. The wave in Kuta actually looks fun for a change as there is no wind and its about shoulder high and not closing out. So I plan to surf in the morning. I make my stroll down the beach toward Legian and say hello and good bye to my favorite Bintang vendor. I stop at Sari Beach Inn to say good bye and have a drink. The owner who I haven't met as of yet is siting at the bar. He is from Austria and has owned the hotel for 18 years. We chatted for several hours and I commented on his wonderful staff and accommodations
Jan 26th - HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!! Up early...and no surf. Run some errands start packing and head to the beach one more time in hope the waves have improved. This could be my last chance to surf for close to 2 months...OUCH! The waves are weak...but who cares. I grab a long board and head out for an hour. One more Bintang on the beach and its time to say good bye Bali.
This segment has been beyond amazing. The 3 weeks here have felt like 3 months. The people are so warm and friendly, the scenery breathtaking, the energy indescribable and the friends I have made along this path are countless. There is no question I will return to this magical land...hopefully sooner than later.
Cheers...next up Thailand!