Gili Islands

Bali 2010

See those three tiny dots near the letter "A"? That's the Gili Islands.

Bali is on the left, Lombok on the right and the Gilies are the three dots off Lombok's NW coast

It's about a 6 hour ferry ride fron Bali, or one can cut that down to two or so by taking the "fast boat." There are many different companies and the prices vary wildly because there are hawkers everywhere. It is a gorgeous ride from Padangbai on Bali's east coast. Looking behind us, we can see Bali's active volcano and largest mountain, Mt. Agung (10,300 ft), and ahead is Lombok's big volcano, Mt. Rinjani (12,000 ft.).

After the "fast boat" drops us at Gili Trawangan, we band together with some other travellers and negotiate a price with an onrush of local boatmen who want to take us to Gili Meno. We're talking 2 kilometers, max, and the prices range from $2 to $25!

Sharon on the local skiff from Gili Trawangan to Gili Meno.

This is our home for a week on Gili Meno, Jepun Bungalows. No hot water, no A/C, but we splurged on a place that had a fresh water shower. There is only salt water on Gili unless it's shipped in. They call it "sweet water." By "splurged" I mean $30 a night. BTW, Jepun is another name for the flower known as 'frangipani.'

a lending library on Gili Meno. After you've finished a book, just take it in and trade for a new one. Or just go take a fresh one. No one's minding the store.

On an island that takes an hour to walk its perimeter, you can surmise that sunrise and sunset are pretty monumental events. Because Indonesia is so near the equator, the amount of day and night is about equal, so if sunrise is at 6:30 a.m., then sunset is 6:30 p.m.

Here is a movie of the sunrise. The waves cycle at about the same rate as breath.

There are no cars or motorbikes on Gili Meno. So, other than walking, these little pony carts are the only way around. One can walk across the island in about 20 minutes; around the circumference in an hour. The drivers range in age from 60 down to whatever.

Pony cart parking lot at the beach.

Criss-crossing the island is a series of paths. This is where the island's approximately 350 residents live. The land is scrubby, compared to the lushness of Bali, but still beautiful.

Pathway through Gili Meno's interior.

I took this photo around sunset. It is a laneway that passes by Gili Meno's Salt Lake, which is just off to the left in this picture. See next two photos.

A rickety dock on Gili Meno's Salt Lake. It's a tiny lake, maybe 200 yards across.

An abandoned boat at sunset on Salt Lake. It's a completely inland lake.

One of our daily routines is to buy coconuts and pineapples from two characters named Annie & Imo. They will trim up a pineapple so you can eat it like an ice cream cone, or hack a coconut, so you can drink the milk with a straw. When you're finished they'll cut it up for you so you can eat the meat.

The cost? 10,000 Rp. That's about one buck.

Here's my little movie hommage to them:

Sharon gets sick for about 3 days. Sore throat, no energy whatsoever. Not fun. She sleeps pretty well constantly. On one of those days, I decide to go visit neighbouring island, Gili Air. It's the one closest to Lombok. To get there, I can hire a personal boat taxi for $20 or so, or I can take the "Island Hopping" for $2. No, not The Island HoppER. It is referred to as The Island HoppING.

The "Island Hopping" makes two trips a day. Around 9:00 it starts from Gili Air, comes to Gili Meno, then Gili Trawangan, back to Gili Meno and finally makes its return to Gili Air. It's about a 10-minute ride between islands, so the whole hopping routine takes maybe 2 hours. It is repeated around 3 in the afternoon.

A Gili resident waiting for the Island Hopping.

Over on Gili Air, I rent a bike. It's pretty sandy, so half the time I end up walking it. It's a hot and beautiful day.

My ride. That's Gili Meno in the distance as seen from Gili Air.

The path along the beach on Gili Air. It takes me maybe two hours to ride and walk it.

Banyan trees on Gili Air.

While touring around Gili Air, I come across some boat builders. They're making fishing boats of various sizes.

Every joint is highly crafted, old skool.

Hammer & "nails." These wooden pegs are as close as this boat will ever get to a nail. The big blue hammer is used to whack the glued tongue & groove boards together.

How they make the curve in this 15-foot plank, I have no idea; but its perfect mirror image is on the other side of the skiff.

After circumventing the island, I hop it back to Gili Meno. Here's a parting shot of Gili Meno. We could have easily stayed another week...

Sunrise meditation.

... but we didn't. On to the next leg of the journey: back to Bali and our final four days in Ubud.

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