Tag Archives: diving

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Gili Meno – The Girl and The Sea

20th October 2015

gilimeno_04 Gili Meno is the smaller of the three Gili Isles so you’d assume it would be less developed, but you’d be wrong. Gili Meno has the feel of a rich persons playground, or at least a middle class persons sandbox. There are nicer bars, bigger shops and lovely hotels lining the main area of beach…and then there is nothing. This island feels like it’s about to be a crazy popular tourist destination, but right now it’s still peaceful and well stocked. I still prefer Gili Air , but I’m glad we went.

We basically repeated our first few days on Gili Air, but with a little more snorkeling and a lot more sleeping. Being lazy turns out to be hard work.

gilimeno_05 gilimeno_03 I don’t have photos of our snorkeling adventures (Go Pro, you will be mine). It mainly involved me having a panic attack the second I stepped in the water and climbing onto Lee as if I was Scooby Doo. He calmed me down and I soon got use to the tide and the current, which is very strong on the Gili’s. We also both had to master the art of walking on the sharpest rocks known to man. I swear that Gili Meno once had a boat filled with broken glass crash on it’s shore and now it’s coast is a challenge even John McClane would fear.

gilimeno_07 gilimeno_02 We persevered and managed to snorkel enough to see a casting session for Finding Nemo down there. Bruised, battered and bleeding from the coral I headed back to the comfort of my sun lounger, happy with my day’s sightings. I told Lee I was tired, but the truth is I was scared my tiny cut was chumming the water enough for all the worlds sharks to descend on me . While I was shading myself from the midday sun I looked out to see a flailing Lee in the water. I instantly assumed a herd of Jelly Fish were trying to get his lunch money and I started to panic. There was no one around so I had to wait like a nervous maiden in a Bronte novel as Lee came back to the beach.

A manic Lee finally made his way to me and started dragging me into the water…”come on, come and see”.

I instantly assumed he had Sea madness and fought him off.

“Why do I need to go in the sea?” I screamed, digging my heels into the sand.

This is the part in the story where Lee turned to me with a face filled with more excitement and glee than I’d ever witnessed and screamed “theresaturtleinthewater”. That, by the way, is not a spelling mistake. He definitely didn’t put a single breath or break in his joyful sentence.

We waded out into the late afternoon waves , which were swelling quite a lot and becoming quite scary. Lee tied his size 13 waterproof shoes tightly on to my tiny feet so that I didn’t lose a toe on the razor like coral and we swam out to the deep waters. This is where it all started to go wrong. Lee’s shoes got tangled on my feet and were getting pulled the wrong way by the current, Lee was swimming far ahead and my mask was leaking water into my eyes that contained more salt than the rim of a good margarita. Suddenly all the water around me turned freezing and I felt I was getting pulled down. Panicking comes natural to me anyway but at that moment even Woody Allen would have asked me to “geez lady, just calm down” (please read this sentence in Mr Allen’s voice for full effect).

Lee was too far away to help so as I got dragged down I had to compose myself and untangle the shoes with my eyes closed telling myself that as soon as it was fixed I could just swim to the surface. Unfortunately I was wrong and I was never seen again…. No , of course not otherwise you’d be luck enough to not be reading this drivel. I resurfaced , emptied and tightened my goggles and went back down into the water just in time to see a beautiful sea turtle swim past us and away into the very wide, very blue, very scary ocean. Lee and I were elated. We hadn’t expected to see one at all and felt very privileged to have been given the chance to see this fantastic animal in the wild. We left the water on a high, my high not only from the turtle sighting but from the exhilaration of remembering how to function like a normal human in the water and not let my anxiety take over. That sea be damned scary.

Over all the Gili’s completely shocked us. The coffee was foamy, the people nice , the cocktails plentiful and the views…spectacular. I am not going to lie to you, I am extremely happy that Australia happens to be within a long weekend distance of these small islands. See you soon Gili.

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Well deserved wine and a cut up leg.

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10

Island Hopping in El Nido

5th April 2015

banner There was one thing and one thing alone listed on our ‘to-do’ list for El Nido. Island Hopping. After I recovered from the demon that was food poisoning we booked a trip for the next sunny day and got ready to enjoy a day of sight seeing.

In El Nido the government has formed four routes that tourists can travel. These are called A,B, C and D. I had heard really good things about tour C so we signed up for it and before we knew it we were wadding through the sea at waist level to get to our boat.

1 Each tour costs around the same price no matter where you go and every tourist is required to pay an environmental tax before doing a tour. The tax is only 200 pesos. This money is then spent keeping El Nido’s beaching and water clean. Since the island is quite new to tourism it is trying it’s best to combat the mess that goes with having hundreds of foreigners suddenly attacking your beaches.

As soon as we were all seated and in our stylish life jackets we hit the high seas. It was nice just to be sailing out on the water we’d been staring at for a few days. The islands towered around us and we took in the view.

We made 5 stops in all. Each stop was about 40 minutes and allowed us to try out our snorkeling skills. Tour C is a little quieter than the rest so the coral and sea life are still abundant. I have mentioned before that I have a fear of being in the sea but I was determined to throw myself in the deep end (so to speak) and snorkel.

12 At first it was terrifying just to be waist high but once I got the mask on and saw how the fish were happily carrying on with their day despite us being there, I relaxed. I unfortunately (due to my sea fear) don’t have a go-pro but we saw rainbow fish, angel fish, neon specimens and even a mummy clown fish and her babies swimming through the coral. It was spectacular. I was instantly addicted.

We stopped on the second beach for lunch where we were treated to a feast of grilled fish, shrimp,rice,pork and fresh mangoes. It was delicious.

9 11 13 15 With full bellies we headed to our next destination. Secret beach. As we approached a rock with no beach the boat passengers glanced at each other. All of us a little confused. That was when our guide pointed to a tiny hole in the rock and instructed us to jump in and swim through it. I had only just managed to handle being waist deep in the sea and now I was swimming through a hole with ten feet of water below me. Despite the dread that was knotted in my stomach I swallowed my fear and dove into the water. We swam through and we were rewarded with a beautiful lagoon filled with fish. We had to avoid a few tiny jellies but other than that it was fantastic. I was starting to like this sea faring life style.

8 We sailed on to an island that had a large abandoned church and shrine. It had be left to gather moss but had still retained it’s beauty. We climbed the treacherous rocks and were rewarded with a view of the surrounding area. It was breath taking. El Nido is definitely one of the most beautiful islands I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. It is like living in a screensaver.

3 4 5 6 7 As we headed to our last destination everyone on the boat was in good spirits. That was until the was a clunk, a ‘thunk’ and silence. The boats motor had died. We all let out a embarrassed giggle since none of the passages knew what was happening or what was to be done. It turns out that the protocol in these situations is for the youngest member of the boat crew to get on the roof with a towel and wave it like his life depends on it at every passing boat….even if they are miles away, until someone see’s us. It turns out that the quietest tour isn’t the one you want to break down on. An hour later and a passing boat tugged us to our last destination. Hidden beach. Hidden around the corner of a large rocky wall is a small lagoon and beach. This is a much more popular spot that other tours also visit so unfortunately the coral had mostly died and there weren’t many fish. But the beach was beautiful and peaceful. We both sat and took in the surrounds. It was a great day.

Our day ended by being towed back to El Nido and being thrown around a bit on the choppy waters. This ended up triggering a seasickness effect that had many guest throwing up over the sides…It is high praise for the trip that not even a broken boat and a line of hurling passengers could detract from the day. But maybe the passengers with their heads hanging over the side of the boat would disagree. I would recommend tour C if you do visit El Nido which cost 1400 pesos and i’d also pay the extra 100 pesos to hire a snorkle. Happy Island hopping everybody. 2 10 14 signature