From the busy bustling streets of Ubud we decided to head back to the sea. Not as many tourists make it up to the north part of the island of Bali but we had enough time to make it up there. We had 3 nights in a hotel which had small individual wooden bungalows and a needed mosquito net over the bed.
The pace was different to Ubud and although there were many people asking you if you wanted a taxi all the time, the fact that there wasn’t as many tourists in Lovina meant that people on mopeds were even stopping you in the street and asking if you’d booked a tour or needed snorkeling gear or wanted to eat at their restaurant. We’d already booked a snorkeling trip and dolphin watching through our hotel by our pushy annoying host.
The snorkeling trip was a little confusing to start with having to get picked up from the hotel and then moved to the office to pick up some gear. We picked up two other families on the way as well. There’s a big secret that I’m going to share, although I’m a mermaid… I’m terrified of the sea. But this trip is all about pushing our comfort zones and getting some silly fears over and done with. I’m not the most confident at snorkelling and with previous attempts leaving Stu stranded in the sea as I paddled off away to the safety of the land. But something clicked and I found I had more confidence to have a go. We saw so many different types of fish, it was beautifully clear and our guide that swam along with us was helpful and calm, not rushing us.
The only downside to going to remote areas to snorkel, you got to see the mess that we are making of our seas. The shore was full of plastic and rubbish, it was gross. We were already aware of how bad we’re ruining the seas and our planet but it was a huge wake up call.
Since recycling isn’t really a done thing in Southeast Asia, we tried our hardest to not use single use plastic and bought bamboo straws to take out with us. Please just try and not buy plastic one use bottles, take out reusable cups for coffee and steel bottles for water, and always get those bags for life out of the cupboard when you go out.
The big thing to do in Lovina is see the dolphins at sunrise. They have a pod that travels through to feed every morning. It’s such a beautiful calm part of sea, the sunrise was perfect, we’ve never seen colours like it. Even though there were way too many long boats on the sea it did feel peaceful when we first set off. There were so many dolphins you couldn’t keep count and they were so close to the boats. Mainly because the guides just all go as fast as they can when a dolphin is spotted so it’s like Wacky Races or something ridiculous. To see them in their natural environment where they should be and not stuffed into a glass aqua park was perfect and the way they should be seen.
Between Gili T and Gili Air we went with the chilled out not so party island. We must be getting old… Also we had heard about how great the snorkelling was and the chance to see turtles. The way to get around the tiny island is by horse and cart, but the treatment of the horses made us think twice and we walked to our hotel on the other side of the island. There were other people who decided to do this as well. The poor horses looked exhausted and dehydrated, it wasn’t nice to see at all.
The island is about an hours walk all the way round, our hotel was the opposite side to the small port. We had chosen such a great place, just a little off the beaten track and a balcony. It ended up being on top of the roof the balcony and had a lovely seated area where we had breakfast. The bathroom was outside which was really strange at first since you heard people outside chit chatting away while you peed, but it made sense. The drains aren’t great in Indonesia so it made sure there wasn’t the gross drain smells. Plus it’s mainly hot and sunny so great for showers. The people that ran the hotel were the greatest as well, lovely to chat to in the morning and as you’re passing through.
We spent 5 nights chilling out, snorkelling, eating great food (apart from a tragic burger at one place, but Stu’s not bitter about it honest) and drinking awesome cocktails.
We went snorkelling one morning and swam quite far out, now I was in my stride it meant we could just grab gear from a local and go at our own pace. On the way back to the shore I spotted a huge turtle, I tried to get Stu’s attention but followed the turtle hoping Stu realised. It was amazing seeing it so up close and when Stu had caught up the turtle didn’t seem to mind to have an audience, we even had to swim away from it as it was coming up so close to us. It was the best! We were both so excited. The next day Stu had gone off on his own for a bit whilst I sunbathed and found 2 more. Such an amazing experience.
A certain aspect of the wildlife was not fun however. Right next to our hotel was a nest for the most gigantic, dinosaur lookalike Monitor Lizard. It was terrifying, so naturally Stu crept up to try and get a video of it… There was also many cows that walked by, one did take a liking to Stu trying to give him kisses.
The island is going through some changes at the moment, the government have made the property owners and businesses move their buildings off the edge of the beach. Everything has had to be torn down and moved further in land. There’s a lot of rubble around the edges of the sea, we asked how they were getting rid of the rubble thinking it would be taken into the mainland to be used or disposed of but it’s too expensive. They just dig holes and fill them with the concrete and mess left behind. Not the best solution. I know a lot of people had been disappointed with the mess around but I think we’d been used to this by now, especially after Borocay in the Philippines.
We’d had such a great time on Gili Air, the only problem came with leaving it to get to Sanur on the main land. We had asked about and tried to get a good deal for the boat and hotel transfer to our next place. We were asked if someone would be waiting for us at the next port to take us and assured they were. It was a nightmare as soon as you stepped off the boat. Everyone’s bags were thrown onto the jetty, elbows were out from the passengers to get their stuff and get the mini bus to their next destination. Add to the mix loads of locals trying to get your tickets off you to get in their cab, confusing and tricking you into getting into it. One man said it was going to take 7 hours to get to Sanur and then he wouldn’t drop us at the hotel like we’d paid for, it takes 1 hour to get there, so it seemed like the most ludicrous thing to have to go all over Bali to get to the closest place last. I don’t think he really appreciated that I was having none of it and got just a little bit gobby with him, so much so that a group of travellers started clapping me… needless to say we got in a correct cab and got directly to our hotel and within an hour. We haven’t been travelling this long to get mugged off now! But it was still totally worth it for the views at Gili Air!