The sun rose once again over Gili T and swiftly moved from friendly golden orb gently warming the morning to bringer of fire. By 9am it is already fiercely warm as we head for breakfast. Mama Ida has found some bread so the boys have egg and toast whilst we have our usual omelette. Mateo has the sniffles probably brought on by too much snorkelling in the cold sea – when I say cold its probably not that cold by English standards even in the deep water, but its all relative! The wind is blowing strongly which makes any activity involving paper based items fairly challenging, but otherwise its another beautiful day.
We head up the road that runs parallel to the main strip for a change to see what we can see. Not the shop and accommodation lined thoroughfare of main street with its myriad of restaurants and dive centres, more a glimpse of local life and the back end of the businesses lining the beach. It is much quieter here with little or no tourists, but it is clean and well presented nonetheless. Running out of road we turn back to the beach front and then head for our second home on turtle point. A warm Selamat Pagi wishes us a good morning and we install ourselves on one of the raised platform pergolas before heading out for our morning snorkel.
Oskar and Luca have disappeared to play with the kittens so its just Tania, Mateo and me that head out across the rocks (low tide again) and plunge into the strong waves crashing onto the broken coral. We are drawn to a point where a young woman is floating and there is our turtle swimming around and coming up for air. The young lady shows off her diving as she descends with the turtle who then makes off as if spooked. I follow it as it swims away and after a little distance the turtle comes up for air again and is again pursued by the young woman. This time, it dives down and as we follow it with our eyes, it is joined by a second, much larger turtle – almost twice its size, which guides it down to settle by the anchoring block of one of the buoys. A little way off, lying motionless is a third turtle. Yes, count them readers, three turtles! Unbelievable, I had to pinch myself mentally and double check, but there they were.
The little one didn’t hang about and was soon on the move again coming up to shallower waters to feed probably. I did not pursue it this time, but searched around for Tania and Mateo. Bringing them to the spot, they spied the two remaining turtles and we grinned and gave each other a thumbs up. Mateo was getting cold so we headed back still reeling from a multiple turtle encounter. What an amazing way to start the day off!
Whilst the boys spent the rest of the morning playing with the kittens, and a small hermit crab they called Ernie, I read the Lonely Planet guide to work out the transportation for the next few steps; Yogyakarta and Jakarta followed by Malaysia (Borneo or Peninsular) as our visas expire on 16th Oct. Whilst the guide is an extremely useful resource, it rapidly became clear that some research on the internet was needed, especially for finding the best (and cheapest) way to get from Indonesia to Malaysia. Tomorrow we would have to take some time out from the beach and find an internet cafe as the short time afforded us whilst dining was not really sufficient to do much more than catch up on emails, post blogs and satisfy the FB drug!
After lunch we took one more swim to escape the beating sun. Our little party of 5 was joined by a dive boat full of snorkelers who cavorted in the sea and wondered, along with us, at the little turtle gliding majestically through the water. Once their allotted time was over we had the spot to ourselves again as they sped away, the sound of the propeller whining further into the distance. Its amazing how far sound travels underwater, and more than a few times I have quickly surfaced to check that I was not in imminent danger of being run over, only to find that the source of the noise was a long way off. We returned to shore and packed up as we wanted to cross to the west side of the island to see the dipping of the fiery orb into the sea at sunset point, by the lighthouse.
There is a road that crosses from east to west (1.3 Km) which meant we could avoid the long coastal route in the heat. Heading into the interior homesteads became fewer, and livestock more prevalent. Chickens were joined by goats and then cows as we walked through plantations of tall coconut trees. As we penetrated deeper we passed a rubbish dump from which plastic bags of all shapes and sizes had escaped and had snagged on the surrounding vegetation. I lamented the fact that even here, on this beautiful island, the disposable nature of society had made its mark, and wondering why they didn’t use paper bags here. At least if they blow away they will quickly rot.
Carrying along the dusty track we passed a few locals going about their daily routines, a little startled by our sudden appearance, but smiling and friendly nonetheless. At last we arrived at the lighthouse (a box on atop a metal tower much like a tall crane) and before us was the entrance to the beach. The wind was blowing much stronger on this side of the island, and the sea was much rougher and did not have the gentle slope to the deep sea of the east side. We still had a few hours to sunset, so we sat for a while before we were driven back to shelter at the edge of the beach where some trees gave us respite from the whipping sand. Here we rested and played Uno whilst we waited for the sun to set over the volcano (Gunung Agung) on Bali island in front of us.
I have always found sunrise and sunset to be magical. As you watch, it is not hard to see why many ancient peoples worshipped the sun as a god, or that it had great spiritual significance to them. Today was no exception, and as the light changed to that warm yellow that you get towards dusk, I took some photos of Mateo, playing with the light on his face. Tania, Oskar and Luca had explored along the beach and were playing pirates on a wreck left to rot on the sand. Reunited as the sun started to touch the horizon, Tania and I snapped away with the two cameras (Panasonic Lumix TZ-8 and Nikon D40X in case you were wondering). It was a beautiful sight watching the sun dip behind the mountain, its reds and oranges reflected in the small band of clouds hovering above the peak.
We headed home in the deepening twilight and after washing the dusty road off ourselves treated the boys to some Italian fare at the restaurant next to Scallywags where we had eaten the evening before. The pizzas were just as we liked them, ultra thin base and generous toppings, and the staff warm, welcoming and accommodating of our little ones’ needs. The day ended as well as it had begun and we were soon fast asleep. One more day left to savour on Gili T before Yogya beckons, and I intend to enjoy it.