Sunday, August 31, 2008

August 29, 2008 - Gili Air, Lombok, Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

After our day trip to Gili T yesterday, it was time to get back in the water. Suzy, Sten, and I spent the morning doing a drift snorkel down the eastern shore of Gili Air. After our long, slow drift down the coast, we arrived at the beach in front of the Zipp Bar just in time to join a few other cruisers for lunch. Ever hopeful of making a sale, and seeing many potential customers, the beach hawkers surrounded our table, trying to get us interested in their pearls, fabrics or carvings. We weren't buying, but some of the other cruisers did their part to support the local economy.
The folks on one of the other cruising boats in the harbor has done several dives in the past four days and come back raving about them. They described the shallow dive off of the northeast tip of Gili Air as one of the best dives they've ever done. The sales pitch was "you won't see big fish, but you will see all sorts of little alien creatures that you won't see anywhere else." Easy and interesting sounded like a good combination to us, beginner divers that we are, so Sten and I signed up to do the dive with Dream Divers on our last afternoon at Gili Air.
The dive was great. We had our own divemaster, who patiently spent the first few minutes of the dive helping me equalize my buoyancy so that I could hover just over the ocean floor. We needed to stay close to him so that we could see all the curious little creatures he pointed out. We saw stonefish, lionfish, little translucent shrimp, big manta shrimp, a pair of leaf fish, a three foot long sea cucumber that looked just like the people-movers at Washington Dulles airport, a tiny worm whose back would unfurl like a lotus blossom when the divemaster touched it, and a school of fish standing on their heads. It was a great dive to do with a divemaster - he knew just where to go to find each of these bizarre little creatures.
Sten, caught in a blizzard of fish

We returned from the dive to discover that Suzy had straightened up the boat in anticipation of our hosting happy hour. The two couples who came over both brought appetizers with them. Having someone else clean and other people cook - it was the easiest party we've ever thrown.

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