The sun came out just as we arrived on the island and we found a nice little cabin near the beach. The first thing we did was hire some snorkelling gear and head out for a swim. The sea was crystal clear and there were beautiful fish everywhere. After a while Mike signalled to me to look to the right just as a huge sea turtle swam right past me, close enough to touch! The sea was only about 1.5 meters deep and the turtle spent the next ten minutes or so feeding around the rocks right underneath us. We had seen lots of turtles in Sri Lanka when we were surfing but every time I put a snorkel on they Disappeared. It was amazing to see this one so close up and to watch for such a long time in its natural habitat.
Later that afternoon we hired bikes as we had heard it was the best way to get around and see the whole of the small island. The island is only a few km long, but the short cycle takes a surprisingly long time when the path is made of sand!! It was like trying to cycle through treacle, hard work in the heat, but very funny. The scenery was beautiful though, the whole island is fringed with white sand beaches and the sea is turquoise and clear. Every time you round a corner the colour of it changes due to the currents and depth of etc, you really are spoilt for choice with beaches here.
After a night on Gili Air we caught a ferry to Gili Trawangan where we stayed for 2 more nights. This island is livelier with more bars and restaurants, although was a bit quieter because we were there out of season. Again we spend our day snorkelling and cycling and generally chilling out on the beaches. There are no cars or scooters allowed on the islands, which makes it even more relaxing, especially after the buzz of Bali's traffic! The only vehicle is a horse and cart, even the police on the island use one to get around.
The next day we visited Gili Meno which is the smallest and quietest of the three islands, with just a couple of restaurants and guesthouses. We walked around this small island instead of cycling, and also visited the salt water lake at its centre. The beaches were stunning, and mostly deserted, and the sea was the bluest I have ever seen. It really is a paradise island... I could definitely come back for an extended holiday.
We had a very stormy trip back to Bali the next day, the boats hadn't been running for days due to a storm, which we caught the end of. But we did see a small pod of dolphins from the boat, which made up for the bumpy, delayed journey! During our last few days in Bali we headed to the West coast to Balian. The scenery here was stunning, miles of beautiful coast on one side of the road, and green rice paddies on the other. The beach here was black volcanic sand but the hotel had a lovely beachside pool where I could watch the boys surf, and keep a look out for sharks! This beach has has had numerous shark attacks recently and Mike and Sean spent most of their time here winding each other up about the sharks... Which made for a rather nerve wrecking surf, especially when they glimpsed something grey as soon as they got in the water! Every evening we ate at the local markets, where they did a great selection of local foods, and the best pancakes we have ever eaten... More like a cake than a pancake!
Our time in Indonesia was nearly over, just time for a couple more nights at SukaBeach, our trusty guest house in Kuta, and a trip to beautiful Uluwatu, one of our favourite beaches on the island. Next we were moving on to Thailand and our trip around south east Asia.