Lots and lots of diving

Trip Start Aug 22, 2005
Trip End Jul 17, 2006

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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Sorry, that last post was a bit of an epic, so I'll make this one brief. The photos pretty much speak for themselves anyway. The Gili Isles are a group of three islands off the coast of Lombok, which are slowly but surely succumbing to the tourist industry. Some of the workers can be a little sleazy when trying to get you into their restaurants, but on the plus side there are no motorbikes allowed so all transport around the island is by horse-drawn carriage. The islands are undoubtedly beautiful, and the diving is excellent (though not as good as in Sulawesi - I was spoiled from day one). We dived with a very professional outfit called Blue Marlin (no relation to the Black Marlin of Kadidiri) and so impressed were we with their expertise that I did my Advanced Diver course and both Sarah and I took a Nitrox course. This means that using a blend of enriched air we can now dive deeper for longer. Our instructors were two super-cool French guys called Foued and Didier. They were highly amused by the fact I had been taught to dive by Wolf, whom they deemed a crazy m*therf*cker and who apparently was banned from teaching there as a result of his flagrant disregard for his own safety. Another instructor at Blue Marlin, Bob, was a Yorkshire lad and with his handlebar moustache he reminded me of a young Trev Barker, one of my rugby coaches at school.

On my advanced course I did my first night dive which was pretty scary but was rewarded with a sighting of a spanish dancer (a large red sea-slug shich "billows" through the water like the dress of its namesake). I also had to test my tolerance to nitrogen narcosis (basically, going a little loopy) at depth, and I actually performed the task set faster at 30m down than on land. On our dives we got really close to turtles and reef sharks, but my highlight was the orang-utang crab we found in an anenome. It really did look just like a tiny little orange monkey!
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