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Turtle breeding

January 1st, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 10-Indonesia - (1 Comments)

On our first day we were treated to something rather special, the annual releasing of turtles from the breeding centre.  For various reasons but mostly hunting, the turtle population has diminished to worrying levels so a breeding centre was started in recent years. 

This was a very big deal for the island and hundreds turned up for the occasion.  As tourists Zoe, Sam and I were given the opportunity to release three, Sam declined in case she dropped one in front of the crowd and the Indonesian television network filming the occasion, very funny.  Although she did get to hold one.

I managed to follow a few and take some photos as they swam against the current for the first time in the wild, truly amazing.  Out of the 200 hundred released throughout the day, only two are expected to survive to adulthood.

Following the release we were treated to a meal and drinks with local dignitaries including the mayor and the head of island security (somewhat like the mafia). Yet another great experience.

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Gili Trawangan

January 1st, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 10-Indonesia - (0 Comments)

The three Gili islands: Air, Meno and Trawangan all serving different purposes. Air is the smallest and is suited to the elderly (only), Meno is for the relaxed and retiring and Trawangan for the backpacker party animal – guess where we docked.

Accommodation doesn’t come cheap especially this time of year, we checked into the cheapest at 150 RP (£10) a night but most places charge upwards of 600 (£40).  As expected we are competing with the two-week holiday makers, most from the UK and Oz.

We haven’t had a chance to explore the island much at the moment so you’ll have to bear with us.  All we can say at this point is that it is paradise and so laid back it’s almost non-functional. The only mode of transport is to hire a bicycle or a horse and cart – how cool!

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Bali to Gili Islands

January 1st, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 10-Indonesia - (2 Comments)

Having spent the best part of Christmas on the island of Bali it was time to move on to the Gili Islands off Lombok.  As we were far north of Bali it meant we had to get a taxi to the port, ferry to Lombok and another ferry to the Gilies. By chance we discovered there was a fisherman that would, weather permitting, take us direct to the islands and at a fraction of the cost but on a skimpy fishing boat.  All we knew was that the crossing could take anywhere between 2 and 4 hours.

As we left the shore at 5am we could see thousands of fishermen returning with their hauls.  A mile off shore our skipper, Lampa, turned off the engine and erected the sail.  We glided the surface of the water with the sunrise at our stern and 360 degree views of the of the Indian ocean.  This awe was taken to another level when when we were escorted by dolphins, simply breathtaking.

We arrived in a respectable 3 hours, a voyage we are unlikely to forget.

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St. Stephen’s Day diving

December 28th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 10-Indonesia - (3 Comments)

As the diving was so good on Christmas day we decided to go again on St. Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day).  With Zoe being a dive instructor we were allowed to hire the equipment and tanks ourselves.  Much to the amusement of the locals, we hired a moped to carry the equipment saving on transport costs.  Both were off the shore so we didn’t need to hire a boat.

The two dives cost a mere £14, an absolute bargain and the sites themselves were the best that I have done.  Our first was a Japanese ship wreck starting at 5m and with its deepest at 15m.  The visibility was superb and the coral was amazing, which you’ll see from the pictures.

Our second was close to our hotel starting at 6m and a coral wall dropping to 80m.  Again, the visibility was amazing even when we dropped to our maximum of 30m.  The coral wall was beautiful but damn scary, all you could see when looking down was complete darkness.  Having assessed my diving and buoyancy skills, Zoe has assured me that the PADI Advanced Course will be a mere walk in the park.

There are many more beaufiful pictrues on the pictures tab no.50.

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Christmas Day

December 28th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 10-Indonesia - (0 Comments)

After a 15 hour bus ride from Mount Bromo we arrived in Denpasar, Bali, and choosing not to camp in Kuta – the tourist mecca – we jumped straight in a cab and headed for Amed, a sleepy village on the north east coast of Bali.  We arrived at 3am (total journey 18hrs) and all was closed so we camped on the beach until the following morning (Christmas eve).

As expected, there wasn’t a hint of Christmas in Amed other than a piece of tinsel rapped around a Buddha in the entrance of our hotel. We relaxed and toured the area most of Christmas eve and booked two dives (a wreck and coral) for Christmas day, as there was nothing else to do.  Sam chose to snorkel rather than dive to save herself the pain of another ear infection over the Christmas.

We dived early in the morning and although visibility was only around 10m the dive itself was top class and was my first wreck.  I dived to 25m for 50mins which was a new personal best.  The stern of the ship was at a shallow 5m so Sam was in her element snorkeling too.  With the poor visibility we didn’t get many good photos as you’ll see below.

Christmas evening we went off for a drive on the bike sat and watched the sunset and had many beers back on our hotel veranda with Zoe.  Zoe presented us with a handmade kite as a Christmas present, a very thoughtful jesture especially as she doesn’t celebrate Christmas.

It was a strange day overall and we did miss our families and the Christmas dinner but we had some great company which made it somewhat easier.

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