A turtle paradise? – Gili Meno

23rd October

Our first and only trip away from Gili Air was a quick day trip to the infamous snorkel spot that was Gili Meno. This had been where Sam had stayed and the most untouched of all the Gili Islands. Sam’s stories of sea turtles and tropical fish had filled our heads with really quite huge expectations. Rule number one, expect the worst, hope for the best. Expect the best and you will always be disappointed.

One rocky boat ride later and we were standing on the dusty roads of Meno, cluelessly gazing around for any sign that would tell us where best to go. When we arrived we hastily bought a mask and snorkel each and went on a search around the smallest Gili Island for the best spot to try out our new underwater gear.

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Having walked South, then North, then South again we finally settled on a spot. Flo and I waddled into the sea avoiding the coral to no avail, adjusting masks and snorkels, throwing ourselves eagerly into the sea to see: nothing. Not a damn thing. We couldn’t even see our own hands through the disturbed sand. We persevered but it was helpless.

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Abi and Flo did go in again and saw a single fish so the snorkels were certainly worth the extortionate price we paid for them…

So many lovely places for lunch, where should we choose? A walk a little too far north and we gave up and settles on a ‘cheap and cheerful’ little place. Cheap it was. Cheerful it was not. Good it was definitely not.

Not feeling particularly hungry we went full on Brits abroad and ordered the cheapest things on the menu; garlic bread and ‘fried potatoes’, and a coconut milkshake for good measure.

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Its arrival brought actual tears of laughter to my eyes. Four slices of white toast with a pile of chopped garlic on and some grease soaked chips were put in front of us with a simple “enjoy”. Sarcastic or not I’m still not sure but safe to say we did not enjoy. I ended up feeding some chips to a scrawny cat and a rather beefier kitten both with severely broken tails.

Time for one last go snorkelling to see these promised turtles that, let’s be honest,had been our main reason for choosing Gili. No pressure Sam. Nothing. I didn’t even make it in the water this time, too just distracted by a shell. Then witnessing the pure agony of Flo and Abi in front of me I decided against the idea.

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Just time for some beach acrobatics from Abi and it was time to jet back to Gili Air. No turtles. No fish. Awful food. But a brilliant day wallowing in our bad luck on a stunning tropical island.

Only afterward  did our mate Sam tell us that the west of Island was best (we were on the East) and that turtles tend to be around the harbour. Cheers Sam, sometimes late is not better than never.

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Tori x

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