This little island that consists of only 3500 people was a big pin in our list of places to visit. There are no cars or gas powered modes of transportation, only pedal bikes and horse and buggy. We had heard so much about the beauty of the Gili’s and were super excited to see them first hand. A two hour ferry ride from the port of Padang Bai had us among the islands where we would both make new friends, overcome a fear and achieve something monumental in our lives.
The boat ride there was fairly calm, we passed under a small rain cloud that had us worried about the weather on the island. It turns out that we had arrived at the perfect time, every one we spoke to told us how much it had been raining in the past few weeks, but the sun was out in full and it stayed that way for the entirety of our trip. The first and most important reason we were on this island was to attend Blue Marlin Dive Resort to get our open water P.A.D.I. certification. It wasn’t long before we had signed up and were ready to begin lessons the next day. Our instructors Firman and Nic were two of the best instructors we could have asked for, they led us through the course with a firm grip on whats important, intertwined with comic relief and reassurance. We were in the water at the end of the first day and experiencing aquatic life like never before. This was a giant hurdle for Rachel, who had always had a fear of open water and I was absolutely beaming to see her so comfortable, happy and even eager for the next dive! Three days later we were certified, had four dives under our belts and were excited to be able to take what we had learned around the world with us.
The next couple days were spent riding around the island on our rented bicycles, snorkelling and flying the drone around. As easy as it was to bike the entirety of the island in only an hour, we found that we spent most of our time close to the dive resort. We had made friends with our instructors and saw them regularly for lunch or a beer. We had also befriended the fruit lady and her daughter on the first night of our arrival. The price of fruit went down every night for us until the last day, when she packed us a gift bag of the sweetest mangosteen and dragon fruit we’ve ever had. The night market is known for its fresh fish served with a bowl of rice and all for 100 rupiah that we had for dinner almost every night. We spent one day on the island of Lombok, seeing waterfalls with a friend we had made in the dive course. Our friend Yazan who met us almost every night after dinner to either get our ears candled, play chess or just eat some fruit and talk under the stars, he proved to be a wonderful person who helped shape the memories of our time in Gili.
Gili was an amazing experience for both of us, we met amazing people, basked in the beauty of its white sand beaches during the day and waded through the hilarious hallucinating crowds at night. We can’t wait for the day to come where we book a flight back to Gili.