19 May 2009

Gili Trawangan

Our next destination after Ubud was Gili Trawangan, one of the trio of tiny Gili islands off the Northwestern coast of Lombok, a four and a half hour boat ride from Bali.

We made the crossing with a company called Perama on a funny old boat where the back half of the upper deck had been turned into an ocean going beach complete with sand. We had an unexpected bonus on our way over when we encountered a massive pod of dolphins just before sunset. Unfortunately we didn't manage to get any usable dolphin photos as we were more interested in watching them than squinting through the viewfinder and missing the spectacle. Got a nice picture of a boat though!

Trawangan is the largest of the Gili islands but it's still fairly tiny, it only takes about 10 minutes to walk its entire length. It also has a bit of a reputation for being party island. However; we haven't managed to find where the party is yet (maybe we're too old or square to be invited these days). The most noise we hear in the evenings is from the goat in the field next to our bungalow!

Despite its party reputation the island is still fairly undeveloped and cars and motorbikes are banned. Other than a bicycle the only transport option is the domo, a traditional rather wobbly looking horse cart.

Even though it's fairly undeveloped the island, for its size, has an unusually high number of really nice bars and restaurants to while away our evenings in.

We're staying at a place called Manta Bungalows which is a small complex of 8 traditional style bungalows each with an open air Balinese bathroom. It's not often that you can sit on the toilet and top up your tan at the same time!

We've spent most of our time chilling out on the beach still recovering from our various ailments. Yesterday Liz's mangled toe had recoved enough to allow a gentle bit of snorkelling action.

Towards the Northern end of the beach we found a turtle centre where they hatch and release baby turtles back into the sea once they are strong enough. When we were there one of the workers was holding a baby turtle no bigger than a couple of inches long in his hands. Just as the words "I wonder if they are about to release one" left my mouth the guy threw the poor turtle overarm, with his little flippers flailing, across 5 meters of sand and into the sea. Liz heard him mutter the words "stupid turtle" as the poor amphibian was hurled into the ether. It certainly wasn't the way they returned them to the sea in Sri Lanka. Needless to say, the donation that we were about to make stayed firmly in pocket.

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