Ever heard of the Gili Islands?
If you have, you’ll already be excited and if you haven’t…you’re in for a treat.
Living in Australia, Indonesia is practically in our backyard and for a few hundred bucks and about 3 hours you can be in the land of $0.50 beers all-day-long happy hour, and some of the best scuba diving in Southeast Asia.
As a good Sydney-based traveler, I’d been to Bali several times but when my American friends were planning a trip all the way across the world, I wanted to give them something really special.
A friend told me about Scuba Diving in Gili Islands, an archipelago of three little islands off the coast of Lombok, Indonesia. I heard that due to the diminutive size of these islands, and their complete lack of motor traffic, the atmosphere was true island-style and the diving was nothing short of spectacular.
So we booked our stay on Gili Trawangan, the largest of the three islands and, I was told, one of the best places to visit if you want to dive, drink, and soak up the Indonesian sunshine.
Despite what the internet will tell you (aside from this site, right now) getting to the Gilis doesn’t have to cost a packet, although many transit operators will try and charge it. Give Dody and the team at Marina Srikandi a call (or an email) and they’ll pick you up (for free) from Nusa Dua, Jimbaran, Kuta, Airport (at starbucks coffee airport), Seminyak, Kerobokan, Sanur, Central of Ubud (The Ubud Palace), Candidasa, and Canggu at Canggu Club. They’ll get you to Gili Trawangan (Gili T) and back for IDR550,000 per person – that’s USD$41, and kids under 5 are free. The price actually included breakfast too which we weren’t expecting but happily nommed.
Arriving at Gili T is a whole other blog post but needless to say, Keith and I were itching to strap on some tanks and get ourselves in the balmy, warm water.
We chose to dive with Blue Marlin Dive, as recommended by the same friend who’d pointed me to Gili T in the first place. The whole experience was fantastic – from the dive site selection to our Divemaster we planned two dives, one to a popular reef and the other, a Nitrox dive to the Japan Wreck (advanced divers only).
Turtles, eels, plenty of tropical fish, and even 3 baby sharks greeted us on Dive 1 (watch the video). The following day our whole crew (except me) came down with a rotten case of Bali Belly (I blame the chicken skewers) and we postponed our technical dive til the afternoon.
The Japan Wreck was phenomenal – 150ft deep and beautifully preserved. Unfortunately we couldn’t go inside as the interior wasn’t large enough to swim through (and believe me, I asked!) but our DM (Divemaster) pointed out ~15 unspent machine gun shells lying on the ocean floor. I did what I assumed was only good business and machine-gun fired while swimming right through Keith’s shot, I think he almost spat out his regulator in laughter. (It made for a great shot though, don’t you think? Shot-pun intended…)
After playing with the beds of garden eels on the starboard side and spotting an itty-bitty baby yellow Boxfish at the top of the mast we made our way to our first of three safety stops.
…and I began to feel a little queasy.
We hovered by the line for a while, making silly faces and looking back down at the beautiful WWII wreck below. Soon we moved higher for our second stop.
…and my stomach definitely wasn’t happy.
No sooner than we rose to our third safety stop did my stomach just keep on going and I am now living proof of what you read in the PADI courses – you can in fact throw up through your regulator. It’s actually easier than you’d think!
Keith looked at the cloud of silt that suddenly engulfed him, then looked at the squeaky-clean bottom line and did a double-take back at me. You see, Keith grew up diving in the Pacific Northwest where the bottom lines are covered in algae and muck, when you run your hand up them the water typically fills with clouds of aquatic gunk so he assumed that one of us had just grabbed a dirty line. When he realized the line was pristine, his eyes widened and he looked back at me, his expression fell somewhere between disbelief, disgust, and absolute hilarity.
Yep, I puked on my brand-new boyfriend of 4 months 15 feet underwater, in Indonesia. Unfortunately, he’d stopped filming by that point, sorry everyone.
We surfaced and I nearly choked with laughter. The boat ride back to Gili T was delightful and we shared our horrible, hilarious story with our friends. And now I’ve shared it with the world. What are blogs for, right?
So next time you want an incredible island island getaway with epic diving and plenty of romance, look no further than Gili Trawangan, Marina Srikandi, and Blue Marlin Dive. Just stay away from the chicken…