Being an intrepid adventurer is not always idyllic. Sometimes things don’t exactly go according to plan.
The plan was – transfer from Bali to Gili T by fast boat. Leave hotel 9.30 (reasonable time) 2 hours bus to port then 1.5 hours on a fast boat to the island.
God and nature however, had other plans. The day before we departed there was an underwater earthquake near the Gilis. Now it was an underwater earthquake which caused the tsunami back in 2004 so these events are definitely to be taken seriously. This one, although nowhere near as big was apparently causing swells of around 5ft so the harbour master cancelled all fast boats. We were given an alternative option.
What actually happened- 5.15am wake up call and check out at 6. Bus picked us up at 6.30 (late) and we did the 2 hour drive to the port arriving about 8.30. By 9 all the other displaced passengers had also arrived. We were walked through to the port area along with our luggage and put into a line behind barriers (so no option to move). Then another line then a sort of scrum. This went on for over 4 hours. Some people were extremely lucky and able to lean against the railing. Others suffered standing in the direct sun. It was pretty gruelling. I ended up sitting on my case for a while. Being a port, we were lined up alongside where the freight drove on and off the ferries. 4 ferries came and went before we could board. During that time we enjoyed the close proximity of the diesel fumes from the passing lorries!
At mid-day the company passed out some fried egg sandwiches with cold oven chips! I have never had cucumber in a fried egg sandwich before! Little did I know it would be the only thing I ate that day.
On board the ferry we were lucky enough to get actual seats. As you can see from the photo many people were outside on the floor. Mind you after 8 hours even the seats we were in became uncomfortable!
On arrival in Lombok (I should mention that both embarking and dis-embarking required us to haul our cases up and down 2 flights of steep ship stairs! That was hard) we boarded coaches for the next port. This was easily an hour and a half journey up the coast of Lombok. It was dark by then so we couldn’t see too much.
We got to the north of the island at 10pm from which it is a short 10 Min speedboat ride to Gili. Only problem was that there were only a limited number of boats available at that time of night and large numbers of us!!! We had to wait and wait for the boats to shuttle back and forth. Hungry and spaced out from exhaustion we landed at 11pm wading through the water with our bags. From there is was a short taxi ride to our accommodation. This was our taxi
The Gili Islands have no motorised vehicles so the only modes of transport are bicycles and horse drawn cart (which go at a fair lick). It was like stepping back in time to a pre-industrial era and had the tang of stables to accompany it.
It was at this point that we learned that the fast boat back had also been cancelled so we will have to do the same journey in return (joy!)
There are 3 Gili islands. We are in the furthermost one called Gili Trawangan which has a Cornish ring to it. But it was nothing like Cornwall. It is a haven for snorkelling and diving. Pretty much everywhere has diving lessons.
The 3 Gili Islands were uninhabited until about 50 years ago. No one thought of living on a place with long white sandy beaches, crystal blue water and year round sunshine until the tourist industry sprang up. Consequently there was no infrastructure and everyone who lives here works in tourism. There is nothing else.
Kevin had booked us into a budget place on the seafront called Mango Dive. It turned out it didn’t have any hot water!!! Can you imagine?!?!? Why would anyone offer accommodation to tourists without hot water? It’s crazy. Maybe divers like cold water. Maybe blokes feel tough showering in cold water & it’s a ‘macho thing’. Clearly people with next to no hair can manage a quick sluice but for me it’s different.
Our beach was lovely
But after a day of sweat, sun cream, sand and salt I needed to wash my hair. Not happening. I took the speediest of showers amidst squealing but couldn’t stay long enough to wash my hair. And we were booked in here for FOUR nights! It’s budget remember so not even a kettle that I could improvise with…
I don’t know about other ladies but when my hair is dirty, itchy and sticking up every which way it is quite stressful and I personally get a bit grumpy (as Kevin has discovered) I was tempted to hide in the room for the entire time because I feel so dreadful. What saved our marriage was the chance discovery of a small hair salon at the far end of the beach. A wash & blow dry has now been booked and I am willing to pay whatever it costs!! Anything.
Today we hired bikes and cycled around the island.
We found a beach swing which I’ve always fancied having a go on.
At the northern point we stopped for a beer & pina colada (only £2.50) which was a bargain (perhaps I should have had more!)
And later a couple of beers on the beach and a beautiful sunset