Leaving Gilli, with a tear and fond memories

Leaving Gilli, with a tear in my eye and fond memories

We joined the Rally group in Lombock for a few days of festivities and provisioning. Again we met great locals and again music was the common language. I joined a local bunch of guys and learned to play some of their music then they joined me for some of ours. All was great fun.

Just across the bay lie the three islands of the Gillis. We picked Gillie Air as it has the best anchorage and is known to be a bit mellower than “Gilli T” the party island. Gillis Air is a small island, no motorized vehicles, and small villas, dive shops, open bars and dirt streets—paradise found.

We ventured ashore the first night looking for fun and oh boy did we find it. Walking down the dirt road the circles the islands we found dive shops, open bars and restaurants. Everywhere we went we were greeted warmly and met big smiles.

I spent some time at a dive shop, got information on sites and get to know a crew from Serbia, Germany and France all I would dive with in the coming days. The crew not only found a bar but by the time I got there Simone was working behind the bar and I was invited to join the band. The Freedom Bar is a 10 foot squared bar with a thatched roof; little did I know that it would etch a place in my heart.

We all found new friends there and our small crowd grew as we danced the night away. We attracted travelers from around the world as well as a herd of Indonesian lads, not uncommon with my crew. One of those drawn by our fun was a stop your heart beautiful French lady who’s company I would enjoy for the next three days. We danced, dined, snorkeled and talked for hours. One of the perils and yet joys of being a nomad is the chance meeting with someone remarkable who will literally be like two ships passing in the night. We talked of meeting again and I so so truly hope we do but if not it was a phenomenal three days that I will always cherish. This is the only way a gypsy can look at such encounters.

My time of romance was not unique every crew member seemed to connect with someone and with everyone on Gilli Air. We were all glum for the next passage. The mood only broken by the occasional giggle or smile as a memory came up such as me requesting French Onion soup and French fries for dinner and the Last Tango in Paris for the night’s movie.

Amongst all the other good times I managed to get two dives in with a local dive charter. One was a pinnacle dive with some current and abundant fish. I did have a first; saw a Cuddle Fish, a rare creature that can change color and form, a true camouflage that hides it well. At first it looked like a piece of soft coral only betrayed by a slight movement as it breathed. Then it changed to match another background before it scooted off. I have probably passed by several of these marvels before but not seen them; they are good at hide and seek. The second dive was a small wreck. Both dives were well done by the Gilis Air Dive Shop. The dive guides I met earlier all were fascinated by my dive history and seemed glad to show me their home turf, so much so I had two dive guides to myself at each dive!

Back down to earth, I was able to get 450 liters of fuel here from some of the local boys we met. Fuel here is a strange deal. It is subsidized at the gas stations so there is where it is the cheapest. It is not available in whole sale or bulk deliveries. It is actually not legal for us to buy it at all. The boys take trucks full of jerry cans to the station, fill them for about 4500rpd a liter, pack them out to a small boat, and actually siphon them one at a time into my tanks, yuk! All for the 6000 rpd a liter I pay them. A long process only made fun by the great nature of the boys. These guys can turn anything into a fun and connecting experience not to mention I get good fuel for under three bucks a gallon.

A note to those who follow me, get an 110v self priming pump and two long sections of hose. This will be an invaluable addition to your equipment and make the fueling a breeze. I have one on the way, should have done this a long time ago.

So with more fuel, the memories of a great time and the promise of more adventure and fun we left Gili Air and headed to the famed and exotic island of Bali.

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