The Gilis

The Gilis are a trio of small islands that lay off the east coast of mainland Lombok Indonesia. Gili Trawangan is known as the party island, Gili Meno the romantic getaway island, and Gili Air the laid back island.

There are no dogs or motorized vehicles on the islands. Instead you’ll find horse drawn carts called chimodors. The preferred method of transportation however would be on foot or bicycle.

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Gili Trawangan was our first stop after Bali. After a day of exploring the island, we started our advanced scuba diving course. With our instructor and dive guru Reehan, we visited several sites around the island over a series of 5 dives. Our last dive proved to be the most memorable. The aptly named Turtle Heaven featured massive turtles whom we carefully swam past as they napped on the sea floor.

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After completing our dive course we hopped over to Gili Air. It was on this island where we would fully embrace island life. We would get up when the sun rose and slept when the night fell. Life was simple. We ate when we were hungry and we drank booze and swam in ocean the rest of the time. The water was the bluest I’d ever seen yet clear as glass. Swimming with the turtles and the other wildlife has been one of my favorite moments from this entire trip.

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However, there was one thing that bothered me quite a bit. Trash. We found ourselves swimming in trash during our third dive. Witnessing countless pieces of plastic and rubbish floating in the water was alarming. I found myself sifting out trash with every swim. I was told that Turtles would sometimes mistake plastic bags as jellyfish and choke on them. After swimming with them, I couldn’t help but pick out trash when I could.

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Another issue I learned about was the bleaching of coral worldwide. The rising global temperatures have started killing off coral at an unprecedented rate. We witnessed this firsthand while diving. Some of the dive sites we visited showed us just how serious the problem is. Sites that were healthy in previous years were almost gone. The most important lesson I’ve learned from this trip is to be more ecologically conscious and aware. It seems that no matter where you go you will find trash and waste.

There’s so much natural beauty in the world, it would be unfair for future generations to not see it.

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