Tuesday 26th October
I'm not sure if i've mentioned about the
tides but these isolated islands are surrounded by some of the most tempestuous
waters in Indonesia. The convergence of warm and cold water currents breeds
nutritious thermal climes, rip tides and whirlpools that attract large schools
of pelagics, from dolphins and sharks to manta rays and blue whales. The coral
is pristine. Add it all up and you have some of the best diving in the world,
which is why live-aboards based in Bali and Lombok ply these waters.
So, it was no surprise to us when we reached
our next stop, Gilli Lawa Laut, a few hours after leaving Komodo village, to
find 5 live-aboards anchored in the bay. We were all after the same dive
sites 'Crystal Rock' and 'Castle Rock', which Crystal being highly
recommended as possibly the best in the area.
Asking the Indonesians on the dive
boats for directions to the two sites proved hopeless as they simply got
confused between 'castle' and 'crystal'. We were taken to one site and told it
was Crystal Rock, it was however Castle Rock. It was still superb though with beautiful soft corals and
hundreds of species of fish. No complaints!
Once finished we set off in search of
'Crystal Rock' again with no luck. But Amy was in someone else's dinghy and
managed to spend 5 minutes snorkeling with dolphins. All in all, a superb
We left the anchorage in darkness for a 200+
mile sail to Gilli Aer, an island North West of Lombok. We had wanted to stop at
Sumbawa, which would have broken the journey up, but unfortunately we
just didn't have enough time. So, off we set in the pitch black as there was no
moon and no stars thanks to the clouds. We still had no chart plotter, only
charts on the laptop with no AIS or radar. To make things worse, the charts were
out by about 200 metres so half the time the boat was on land. Anyway, when
bringing the anchor up the chain got caught around the windlass, brilliant!
We're now drifting and unable to pick the anchor up. Paul and Amy very
quickly pulled the anchor up by hand and secured it to the deck until we were
more than a hundred yards off land and it could be sorted! Thankfully we managed
to negotiate the reefs safely and the chain was later untangled. But for a
moment, it was all a bit scary!