We wound up spending about a week in the beautiful and tranquil island of Gili Trawangan. It was so relaxing! 2.5 miles of uninterupted beach all the way around the island, nice little surf breaks on each end (although very small), awesome coral and sealife right off shore, and great, cheap little bars and restaurants all over the place. There are also no motorized vehicles on the island, which makes it nice and quiet (although there were some very skinny, disgruntled looking horses as a result).
On my first day snorkeling, the water had about 60 feet visibility right off shore. I wound up swimming with a sea turtle for several minutes, and even saw about a 5′ shark. It was so great, I decided to take my PADI dive certification course while there. What a great experience! I saw all kinds of sea life (including a close encounter with a couple of very curious cuttle fish), a wreck, an artificial reef, lots of real reefs, a sea cliff, a dive down to about 24 meters, and a night dive (featuring the very cool bioluminescent plankton).
I have some great photos to show you, but it is a little inconvenient to show them right now because the hard drive in our MacBook laptop crashed! It gave no warning. One minute it was working fine, the next it got really slow and started making weird noises, and the next, it was dead. Fortunately, there is an Apple store in Tokyo- where we just happen to be going next week. My (Adam’s) mom went to the local Apple store in Portland to make arrangements for a replacement hard drive to be waiting for us there (Thanks, mom!). It isn’t a done deal yet, but hopefully Apple will come through and help us out. If so, it should be up and running in about another week. Unfortunately, all of my software, including the disks for my Apple and Windows operating systems I had installed, and my photo editing software, are back in Albuquerque. Looks like I’ll have to buy a new operating system (maybe Apple could give us a deal???) and get ‘open source’ software replacements. What a pain. I guess Tokyo is a good place to deal with tech problems though.
Fortunately, I had almost all of our pictures backed up between our detachable hard drive and our iPod, so I’ll be able to upload those diving photos once everything is up and running again.
In the mean time, we’ve spent a few days in Ubud, Bali. It is sort of a trendy, artsy town, with lots of galleries boutiques, and music halls. Nice place to spend a few days. One just needs to be careful where they step here. Large sections of the sidewalk are frequently….just not there. Below is the sewer, which the locals also use as their trash can (yes- they actually empty their trash into the storm drains, which is why there is so much trash in the surf here. Stupid).
We have about another week left in Bali. We’ll probably spend another day or two here in Ubud, and will then either go diving in the north of the island, explore the inland and volcano a bit more, or head down to the southern peninsula (PAST Kuta) for a little more trash surfing and, maybe, offshore diving. We could’ve very easily spent our entire visit in Gili though. We only left when we ran low on money- there are no cash machines on the island. It’s funny- we left with “a couple of days reserve”, which amounted to about $17 between us. It’ll be a shocker going back to the west when we consider $17 for two days traveling for two people “comfortable”.
In other news, it looks like we have 4000 total hits on this site since November or so, when I installed our “stats” widget. It is always good to know people read this, and even better to hear comments. We’re glad we started this site- people get to hear more about what we’re doing than on a postcard, we have a record for our own use, and we don’t have to write 40 postcards saying the same thing once a month (in case anybody is wondering why we haven’t sent any actual, physical cards yet).
It’s starting to get late here in Ubud, which means those of you in the US are just about to get up, so we’ll sign off now.
Until next time…
-Adam (& Shawn)