Our first full day on Gili T starts with a lie-in. The sound of the piped Mullah calling the faithful to morning prayer and the distant crow of the cocks is not loud enough to wake us from our slumber, neither the flock of birds that makes a strange whistling noise as they fly, much in the same way as swans do when they beat their wings. When we do surface it is 8am and we dress and wander around the corner to the Warung that is to be the second part to our B & B. On the menu is sweet pancake or omelette with the muddy Lombok coffee; fine-ground coffee powder to which hot water is added. It is relatively tasty and one only drinks as far as the resting sludge nestling at the bottom of the cup. The lady who runs the place is welcoming and friendly, as are the local people who come to have their breakfast at the tables around us.
With a leisurely breakfast over, we go back to get ready for a day at the beach. We are all still excited about seeing the sea turtle yesterday and are eager to get out into the water for another glimpse of this graceful denizen of the semi-deep. We installed ourselves in the same place as before, not far from the house, and set about our explorations. Luca had decided that he did not need his float anymore as he was perfectly capable of snorkelling and swimming without a buoyancy aid; indeed he was now swimming like a fish, face down in the water without any help from Tania or me the 50m or so to get out to the edge of the reef and back. Oskar would have spent all day swimming around except that he had to come to shore once in a while to warm up. Mateo, although confident in the water, was still relying on his float to give him some comfort and support, but he was beginning to try short periods without it and exclaimed “I can float” after one such experiment. I was still erring on the side of caution and insisting that any foray into the sea was accompanied by a float, even if it was only used occasionally, just in case he got into trouble and panicked.
We snorkelled away the morning spying our regular fishy friends over the reef, marvelling at the colours, enjoying the mild vertigo as we swam over the drop-off point. Search as we might, we saw no sign of the turtle. But it didn’t deter us from looking, nor did it mar the beauty of the reef and its inhabitants. When lunch beckoned Tania (cheekily) asked a neighbouring sunbather if he would kindly keep an eye on our stuff and we headed into town (Central as it is known) to the Art Market in search of Coco, an excellent sandwich bar according to the guide. There was no sign of it at the spot where it was supposed to be, and one can only surmise that it has changed hands or name since the guide was published. No matter, we skirted the edges of the market and found a Warung that served up local dishes for a reasonable price, and here we ate for 203,000 Rp. You may wonder why I remember the price, well that would be because we only had 187,000 Rp on us! Tania left with Oskar and Mateo leaving Luca to finish his plate with me. When I went to pay it was with some embarrassment that I realised we hadn’t enough money. The staff were understanding and I promised I would be back to pay them the missing 20,000 with all speed, which of course I did after depositing Luca at the beach, returning to the house, and walking the length of the island to do so.
It would be safe to say that I was definitely in need of a cooling dip in the crystal clear aqua marine waters. So whilst Tania read to the boys I went off for another solo explore. There was still no sign of the turtle, but I was at least suitably refreshed and definitely a few degrees cooler than I had been. As the shadows of the tall trees behind us lengthened we shuffled first down the beach towards the sea and then along the beach in order to catch the last rays of the sun. We peacefully enjoyed the tranquillity and the gentle crash of the waves against the sand until the sun had dropped behind the trees and then we packed up and headed for home.
Dinner was taken at the restaurant at the end of street leading to the bungalows which had WiFi but not the best fare on the island. Mildly disappointed we returned home to bed. We had learned during the day that there were many turtles and a better reef on the north side of the island and so that was to be our destination the following day. Selamat Tingal, good night.