Life here on the Gilis is easy. You get up, get breakfast served to either one of your balconies, go to diving school or out snorkeling, take a nap before dinner, go out to one of Trawangan’s many excellent restaurants, have a few beers and watch the sun set behind the island’s only ”mountain”. There’s really not much you can do on an island not much bigger than the Suomenlinna sea fortress outside of Helsinki. The sea is everywhere and that’s what offers the most activities.
Diving school is over, we graduated as Open Water Divers after three days of some theory but mostly practice. We made four open water dives and at least as many in the training pool during the course, summing up to about 3.5 hours in the open sea. We’ve seen some really amazing fish and animals, including octopus, stonefish, lionfish, eels, turtles, clownfish, angelfish, trumpetfish, razorfish, bumphead parrotfish, triggerfish and so on and so on. We don’t know the name of even a small fraction of everything we’ve seen, but it was completely astonishing. After the course we decided to have a few day’s break from diving, but we’ll probably go for a ”fun dive” as newly certified divers before we leave.
Today we hopped over to Gili Meno, the neighboring island, for some snorkeling with our new friends Jon and Christy. Gili Meno had a whole other vibe to it than Gili Trawangan, where we are based. From the little we saw of the island, there doesn’t seem to be much on it. Some houses, cows, goats, chickens, some humans, one or two local eateries, and a beach restaurant with sun bathing chairs made of bamboo. And as all other Gili islands, a wonderful beach that runs around the whole island. As said, we went there for the snorkeling, so after a horse-and-carriage ride to the other side of the island, we swam out over the coral reef.
After the first session on about an hour, we got up for drinks and lunch at the beach restaurant. Jon and Christy were a bit disappointed that we didn’t see any turtles, so we decided to make another run to a section of the reef that, according to the locals, should be perfect for spotting turtles. Again, we packed our valuables in our water tight Ortlieb drysack and headed out to do some turtle hunting. Some hundred meters out from the beach, the reef made a steep drop, nicknamed ”the wall”, and that was where the turtles would be, feasting on dead coral reef. We changed direction and swam along the wall and in only a few minutes, we found our first turtle. The day was saved! After that, turtles kept popping up, one after the other. Some of them rose to the surface to get air when we passed, which allowed us to get really close to them. It felt like a National Geographic documentary, seeing the turtles swim up to the glittering surface with only dark blue sea in the background. All in all, we spotted about 10 turtles during the about one hour snorkeling session.
Back on the beach, we pulled out our towel from the drysack, and were horrified to notice that it was completely soaked! Fearing the worst, we took up item after item from the sack and spread them out on one of the restaurant’s tables. Passports, mobile phones, money, credit cards, everything more or less wet or moist. The drysack apparently wasn’t properly sealed, so sea water was allowed to sip in during the whole trip. The one thing that suffered the biggest hit was Fredrik’s camera, the newly purchased EOS 40D, which was closest to the opening. The battery and memory card compartments were all soaked, the top LCD display had small bubbles of air under the glass, and the battery was all hot after having short circuited. We couldn’t do much else than try to rinse it with fresh water and let it dry. So far, we haven’t even tried to switch it on again, and we’re not quite sure if that’s a good idea at all. It seems, though, that the sensor and inside of the lens didn’t get wet, so there might be a slim chance that it still can be saved. But for now, it seems that there won’t be any more pictures from this trip, unless we can find some cheap ass pocket camera to play around with the last week. Luckily, all mobile phones and passports and money are still in usable condition.
And as if the camera wasn’t enough, Fredrik even forgot the ticket back to Gili Trawangan in the pocket of his swimming shorts when we went snorkeling, so at the harbor, we only had some soaked pieces of paper with one or two words on them to prove that we had bought a return ticket… The guy in the ticket booth was, however, friendly enough to let us get on the boat with just an explanation of what had happened while holding up a dripping camera in front of him.
So this trip hasn’t really come without mishaps. First the tailor scam, then the memory card that erased images, and now the soaked camera and tickets. And there’s still almost one third left of our journey…