If you go to any of the Gili Islands, you must snorkel!!
The first time I visited the Gili Islands, we stayed on Gili Trawangan. We had an amazing time, but I never bothered to snorkel. I had tried snorkelling in Thailand a few years before, but had found it hard to get used to the breathing, and I didn’t do it for long enough to properly experience it. I was never interested in snorkelling after that.
After experiencing snorkeling on Gili Air, I’m absolutely kicking myself that I didn’t try snorkelling on the Gili Islands before, and at every other chance I had!
As soon as we saw that amazingly clear water that surrounds the Gilil’s, we knew we had to check it out.
We rented snorkels from our accommodation for 50,000 IDR (or $5 AU, €3.40) and headed to the flawless beach to swim with the fish.
For the first few minutes I found it hard to breathe. Water was getting into my blowhole and my goggles (they were too loose), so it was making me a bit stressed! I wasn’t loving the flippers either, so I took them off.
Luckily, I got over it nice and fast, and became completely enthralled by the amazing sights beneath the waves.
I can’t even begin to describe what it was like. There were so many fish and all the colours you could imagine. They were patterned, dotted, striped and streaked with luminous colours. It was like being in a cartoon.
It was so enthralling, being in that underwater world. The coral swayed seductively in the water as tiny fish made little popping sounds as they nibbled away. The way the coral seemed to breathe and dance was almost as amazing as the fish.
I hoped people couldn’t hear me gasping and saying ‘wow’ under the water, but I couldn’t help it.
We snorkelled all day, only coming up for air when we needed a short rest. It was so, so cool.
Much later on, it was feeding time.
From beneath the gently lapping waves, I saw a fishing boat come close.
The tourists on board got into the water, and their guide threw some sort of feed into the water.
Suddenly, it was like an underwater version of the streets of Hong Kong at lunch time as thousands of fish came out of the blue and darted towards the food suspended in the water. It was so surreal, and my favourite moment of the day. I got that cartoon feeling again and I loved it.
We spent the entire day snorkelling, walking to a few different spots around the small island of Gili Air. When we finally forced ourselves out of the sea for the night, we were still so excited about what we had seen, and I had a very painful bruise on my head from wearing my mask so tight all day. Not to mention a deep, deep indentation in the shape of the goggles!
When I got back to the room, I discovered that our first snorkelling session of the day, where we had spent four straight hours in the water, had resulted in extreme sunburn, of my ass.
I thought I had been smart because I wore a t-shirt for some of the day, and had factor 30 on, but I hadn’t counted on the fact that floating near the top of the water in direct sunlight meant that my behind was not protected from the sun. And so, I had a lovely roaring red and dazzling white bum for a really, really long time. The contrast of red and white was frankly amazing. So much so that I’m almost tempted to share a picture with you. Almost!
Lesson well and truly learned! While the rest of our idyllic time on Gili Air revolved around snorkelling and eating, I wore shorts and kept myself coated in an inch factor 30 at all times!
Have you been snorkelling on the Gili Islands?
Have you ever snorkelled or been scuba diving? How do the two compare? I’ve never scuba dived before!