Our last destination in Indonesia and also one we were most looking forward to were the Gili Islands. Set at the north western coast of Lombok, the Gili Islands are three separate small islands which are still relatively unknown (unbekannt) amongst (under) non-backpackers.

We had set our minds to stay on Gili Air, the closest island to Lombok mainland and said to be a middle ground (Mittelweg) between the busy party island of Gili Trawangan and the very quiet, laid back (entspannt/locker) Gili Meno.

Having read and heard wonderful things about the Gili Islands, we expected wide strips of white sand beaches, crystal clear water close to what we encountered (angetroffen) on Lombok. Concerning the beaches, we were a little disappointed (enttäuscht) although we were certainly spoilt (verwöhnt) by Lombok so we shouldn’t have complained (beschweren)! We soon figured out (feststellen), that Gili Air isn’t too much of a beachy island; it’s more likely a place to chill and read a book at a nice café looking out onto the sea and the the two other Gilis in the near distance.

Our day of arrival we spent walking around and exploring the island (which can be done in under 1 1/2h by foot) and we liked what we saw.

Our second day however was very rainy and overcast, so we ended up spending our entire day in a lovely café, counting away the hours with cribbage, reading books and writing our diaries.

The following day the weather gods had calmed down and gifted us with a day of blazing hot sunshine. We used the opportunity to explore the biggest of the three Gilis – Gili Trawangan. We got the ferry over and started to have a walk around the island but still longed (sich nach etw sehnen) for a nice beach to lay on as we were melting (schmelzen) away, bathing in our own sweat (Schweiß). We soon found a nice beach to lay on and we only moved to have a refreshing swim in the clear blue water.

Our final full day on Gili Air, which coincidentally also was Tom’s birthday, we decided to treat (verwöhnen) ourselves to early-birthdays-and-christmas-presents and went diving (tauchen). As Tom had done his Open Water qualification on Koh Tao on his earlier trip to Thailand, he went out on the first early dive, whilst I learned the basics of diving with my instructor Can from Turkey. He was very patient (geduldig) and took good care when I told him I was a bit concerned (beunruhigt) about my ears, as they hurt quite a lot on my previous dive at the Great Barrier Reef two years ago.

The next dive Tom and I did together and I can say it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life. We went to a dive spot called Secret Garden, which is located off-shore at Gili Meno. We were told beforehand that this particular dive spot is famous for turtle sightings, but what we encountered wasn’t what I expected. We got to a spot, where there were six or seven giant turtles lying on the sea floor (Grund). One of them got up to swim away and as it passed Tom, it turned around and looked him straight in the eye. Amazing! We were both absolutely blown away by this experience when we got back up again.

Tom’s third and my second dive was at a spot called Frog Fish Point, which sadly wasn’t as lively as the last one, but still nice. We once again saw a turtle and many other fish such as triggerfish, angelfish, trumpetfish, crackles, clownfish and many more.

We’d both had a fantastic day diving and I think it was a really nice birthday for Tom and also a lovely ending to the first half of our South East Asia adventure because the next day we’d be flying to Australia!