We had an early breakfast at the villa today (Mie Goreng & fruit) as we are heading out on a glass bottom boat for the day for a snorkel trip!
We cycled down to the jetty with the lovely lady from the villa who organised the trip for us – and even packed us a little snack bag of bintang and crisps! After getting fitted for flippers and masks, we headed out on the boat with two guys who would be our guides for the day. The glass bottom boat was so cool as you could see the whole sea floor whizzing underneath you as you sailed along (Owen even managed to spot a little ray!).
Our first port of call was the underwater statues off the coast of Gili Meno. They look positively ancient, but were actually installed last year and are made from an eco rock which encourages the growth of sea life around it. It was amazing to dive down to and see, and we got some great pictures on the go pro too. Some of the Indonesian divers that were guiding the snorkel tours were absolutely amazing at diving, and seemed like they could hold their breath for a life time as they floated effortlessly down to the sea bed to stand and pose next to the statues. Unlike me and Owen who were definitely a bit crap in the breathing department when we first got under the water (we weren’t so bad once we’d got into it!).
After seeing the statues we swam about 500 meters along the shore and saw some amazing coral and fish, before climbing back into to boat and sailing around to the other side of the island. Gili Meno is much smaller than Gili T, and has a completely different vibe too, which we were able to see when we pulled up to shore and got off the boat to have an explore. It’s known as the ‘honeymoon island’ as people tend to come to Gili meno for a more quiet and relaxing holiday than you would get on Gili T. There were way less people, shops and restaurants. Our guide took us on a short walk around the island, and we stopped off at Gili Meno’s saltwater lake. There was a VERY rickety bridge crossing it, made of floating barrels and planks of wood tied together with rope. It was like being on total wipeout! We made our way across to take some photos (very wobbly) and I only almost fell in once.
From Gili Meno we headed back out on the water and made our way around the other side of the island, where we hoped to spot some sea turtles! They are everywhere around the three Gili islands but we heard from people that you have to be pretty lucky to see them when you are snorkelling. Pretty much as soon as we jumped in the water there was one swimming up from the bottom of the sea! It was much bigger than I had expected, and we got to swim right next to it (even if one twat did ruin it by trying to grab it and making it swim back down!). We swam on a little and then were lucky enough to spot another, as one of the guides dove right down to the sea bed (it was incredibly deep – they are amazing divers!) and got another turtle to swim up to the surface. Our guide then told us to follow him and we swam away from the group of people who had now all congregated where we saw the last turtle. After swimming a little way we spotted another two! One was just chilling on the sea floor and as it was a little more shallow here we managed to dive down and get quite close to it. It was much smaller than the other two we saw so was a much younger turtle.
After all the turtle fun we got back into the boat and sailed around to Gili Air. Our guide said that this would be where most of the fish are, and gave us some bread to tear up and throw in for them. Sure enough, we were swimming amongst hundreds of colourful fish! It was pretty shallow here so you could dive right to the bottom and get literally face to face with the fish and get a great view of the coral.
Next we sailed around to the other side of gili Air and pulled up at a sea side restaurant to have some lunch. We had some tasty yellow curry and Gado Gado, and the most delicious Oreo milkshakes! After chilling on Gili Air for a little while we jumped back in to the boat and headed back to Gili T while enjoying a bintang in the sun.
We spent the remainder of the afternoon chilling out at the villa and then headed back out just before sunset. We got a beer at the Exile beach club and then headed along the coast to Ombak Villa. There’s an awesome movie club where you can watch a film while sitting on beanbags on the shore. We got a couple of beers and some chips and watched the most appropriate movie you could possibly see while on an island getaway – The Beach!
Crossing the floating bridge