The new month begins with lessons. School time again for the boys. Mateo practiced his letters and numbers writing. Luca dictated his blog to me which I wrote out in my neatest handwriting for him to copy and spell. Oskar had to read a French book and then Tania read it to him whilst he wrote it down. After a few hours I took my leave to go to the ticket office again to sort out the fast boat. Yet again the man couldn’t get hold of anyone and after 20 mins of trying he gave up with a “I try again every hour until I get them”. He was a surly character who did not seem as though his job was fulfilling to him, but it was kind of him to carry on trying to get hold of the travel agent on our behalf.
I returned home to find school time over and Tania elbow deep in washing. I gave her a hand with the wringing and hanging before we got the snorkel gear and headed to the beach. On the way we passed by our teacher-friend’s place and stopped for a wee chat and so the boys could play with the kittens that he had there. There was a street food stand there too and so Tania and I grabbed a bite to eat. It was too spicy for the boys, but very tasty, especially the corn fritters. Finishing up we took our leave and headed to the place we had lunched the day before with the pergolas and seats by the beach – and the turtle, of course.
Whilst the boys shared a pizza and some chips (I despair, I really do!) I went out for a solo snorkel, but with strict instructions not to go looking for the turtle. So I contented myself with the rippling fronds of the coral, their purples and golds and reds, and the black and white, rainbow, “Gill” and electric blue fish circling the reef. Upon my return I read some more of Billionaire Boy to Tania and the boys.
A large ship had anchored just off the reef and a host of men on pontoons heaved themselves to and fro loading bags of cement and stone onto the floating platform and then pulling it from ship to shore. There is no dock to load and unload cargo, and so everything has to be done the old fashioned way. However, they are at the mercy of the tides and physics which meant inevitably the pontoon was too heavy to float over the shallow reef and therefore it got stuck some 30 metres from shore. From then on the cement was manually hoofed from the pontoon to the beach, but the concrete blocks were left for the next day.
Soon it was time for another family outing into the water in the hope of spotting our turtle. We waded out to a depth where we could actually swim without impaling ourselves on the jagged coral or the rocks lurking just below the surface. Then it was out into the blue to bag us a turtle, metaphorically speaking. It was once again feeding on the coral a couple of metres below us. About a metre in length with a broken shell near its tail this magnificent creature repeated its ballet of yesterday, rising up to breathe so close to us that Mateo actually touched its shell. Stunning. Amazing. Throw any number of superlatives at the experience, it was all of those. And then Mateo capped it off by ditching his float to swim in the open water and then back to the shore.
The boys enthused about the experience for hours and to anyone who was stationary for more than 5 minutes. They felt proud and privileged to have had the chance to see the turtle and to “interact” with it. When we asked them how we could top the encounter they answered “two turtles”, “a shark” and then “a dolphin”. Well the first may be possible I suppose, but the sharks and dolphins may have to wait until later on in the trip.
Heading home, we sketched a quick hello to our teacher friend (and to the kittens of course) and after cleaning up we set off to find tonight’s dinner. I stopped by the ticket man to get the news on the fast boat and there was good news! He had finally got through to the travel agent and all was sorted out! He filled out a ticket for me there and then, et voila! We were the proud owners of 5 seats on the fast boat out of Gili T on 5th Oct with connection through to Denpasar. All we then needed to do was get the night bus (this always triggers the re-enacting of the Knight Bus scene from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askabhan by the boys) through to Yogyakarta on Java.
Dinner by the beach was so-so again, but filling. We stopped for Ice Cream on the way back to the bungalows which we dribbled and licked in the warm evening air. The end to another fantastic day’s snorkelling was upon us and we went to bed marvelling at the sea turtle encounter and wondering if it would be there again tomorrow.