Having only a few days in Lombok,we decided to try and fit in a sea-kayaking trip to the Gili Islands and a trek up Gunung Rinjani, the Volcano.
8am next day and we were on the beach ay Sengiggi drinking tea, whilst the kayaks and boat were loaded up, ready for our trip. We had a guide called Agus and his friend, so we took out two double sea-kayaks, along with a support boat carrying all of our gear. Beautiful conditions, calm sea and the current going in our direction, we paddled for an hour passing deserted beaches and palm trees, before stopping to do some snorkelling. Not sure why, but I’ve never snorkelled before so it was a new experience for me. So in warm turquoise sea I saw heaps of colour fish, interesting coral that looked like it had been carved by a machine – the patterns look so deliberate and intricate – and I really enjoyed it. Chris saw a sea snake that we later found out could be quite deadly, but it is quite rare to see them and he was far enough away.
We stopped for lunch on an empty beach and enjoyed Nasi Campur (rice with chicken, noodles, egg and vegetables, in various sauces and spices) whilst chatting to Agus about his plans to attract more tourists to Lombok, to surf and kayak, via the website he is building.
We then started to make the crossing over to the 3 Gili islands, aiming first for Gili Air to do some more snorkelling. It was quite a long crossing but the water was calm and it wasn’t too hard. We pulled alongside the boat and headed off to do more snorkelling. After spending some time on the beach and taking some photos, our final destination for the day was the next island Gili Meno.
The gili islands are beautiful, like little mini paradises – white sands, no cars or scooters, beach front bars and accommodation, very laid back, you get the picture. Gili Meno has a desert island feel to it and as we approached, we had another chance to snorkel and swim in to shore. The coral goes all the way to the beach pretty much and the water is shallow. So swimming with flippers all the way to the shore, we arrived, and I felt like I was in a James Bond movie, suddenly appearing on some remote island in flippers, bikini and a mask.
After a shower and some tea we took a short walk on the beach before settling in to watch the sunset. We had dinner on the beach and camped there later on too.
With all the time in the water snorkelling, unfortunately we both got sunburnt on our back and legs, mine worse than Chris’s as I stupidly thought that being in the kayaks (with spray decks) meant i didn’t need any suncream on, but I didn’t realise just how much snorkelling we’d get to do. Ouch!
Next day, Chris woke up not feeling to well, full of cold and lacking energy. We planned to paddled to the third island, Gili Trawangan, know locally as Gili Tra-la-la-la-la as it’s the party island where people lose days of their life whilst endulging in magic mushrooms and smoking weed, or staying up all night at one of the many bars drinking and talking.
However for us it was morning time and our main priority was finding some turtles. They feed in the morning and with less people in the sea at that time, we were able to see them. We saw two big turtles on the ocean floor below us having breakfast, then we saw a little one coming up for air next to the boat! What a highlight!
The paddle back was a bit tougher as we had the current against us and the water was quite choppy, so it was slow going, but we manage to get a rhythm going. Later on though we were all flagging and had fun getting a tow from the boat, to cover some of the distance.
We arrived back and headed to a nearby restaurant to have a late lunch and Agus joined us for a coffee before we said farewell.
We really enjoyed the trip and it was great to see the islands, I can see why people go there and don’t want to leave! Only downside for us was me losing my only pair of trouser (nice North face ones!) possibly leaving them on the beach, and our waterproof camera deciding that it was no longer waterproof and maybe losing our photos of the trip (unless we can find a XD card reader to check).