Abbey and I boarded the little boat, sat on the roof, and kicked back with a Bintang Beer each, as we quipped through the waves, music blaring out from the boat and massive smiles on our faces.
We got off the boat, after about two hours of beers and sun, and walked straight to our hostel on Gili Trawangan. There are three islands altogether making up the Gilis’; Gili Meno, Gili Air and Gili Trawangan.
We were staying in the simply named “Gili Hostel”; and plonked our bags down and headed for a wander down to the local reggae bar; Sama Sama.
Here we sat and enjoyed a cocktail and some food with two other people that were in our room; before heading back again to wash up for our first night on the island.
The next day we woke up and went for breakfast. It was the morning of my 26th birthday. For years now I’d dreamt of swimming with a sea turtle; and having lived in Fiji I would have thought I’d have achieved this by now. However, unfortunately, due to the Chinese and their black market, sea turtles, amongst other creatures, are becoming increasingly rare.
So after eating, Marco said he’d come snorkelling with me in the persuit of one.
On the first snorkel we didn’t see much; just some fish and some dead coral; however over the next few days we persisted and my dream came true.
We paid a guy we had met in a bar to take us snorkelling on his boat with a few other holiday makers. He guaranteed me 100% he would show me a sea turtle. And he did not dispoint.
We did a few jumps into the ocean that day, and already by the first we had spotted the turtle. The only thing being; it was about 20 metres below us on the ocean floor and unless you had some serious free diving skill, it wasn’t that easy to get to.
We saw a couple of these and most of the people on the boat trip appeared to get a little bored after a few of hours of seeing turtles on the floor. As everyone was making their way back to the boat, I saw the turtle moving a bit more, and noticed it was swimming up towards me. I thrust my GoPro camera into the hands of the local guy, and I swam towards the turtle. I swam along side it, and held its shell for about one minute, before it delved back down again to the depths. It was the most amazing one minute of my life, and I think I will go as bold as saying that that resulted in the best day of my life. It was so magnificent and beautiful, and I feel so lucky that I managed to get so close to such an amazing creature in its own habitat.
The rest of the time of the island mainly revolved around eating, drinking and more snorekeling, however after the sea turtle experience the rest of the swimming seemed so tame.
I had a great time here and met some awesome people; who all contributed to me having the most relaxed and care free, fun packed birthday to date.
I received no cards nor presents, yet got hoards of love sent to me from friends and family all over the world; so what more could I really want?
Next stop; R&R at the Yoga Shack, Nusa Lambongan. Leaving the party behind in exchange for some good healing vibes. For now at least.