Sunday, December 15, 2013

Diving Gili Air (Without Chuck): Halik

Almost immediately after recovering from her zombie eye affliction and heading back out into the deep blue, Chuck was plagued with yet another affliction: that of the stomach variety.  Sigh.  Poor kid.  I set her up with plenty of TP, Pocari Sweat (Indonesia's Gatorade, although I think it's technically Japanese) and the AC blasting and headed out for some diving by myself.  Don't think me callous: I checked in with her every hour and brought her drinks throughout the day, but there's only so much one can do for a person with Montezuma's revenge (what is the Indonesian equivalent of that?).

Sadly, the dives I did when Chuck couldn't join me were pretty amazeballs.  Within a few minutes of dropping in at Halik (a site Tim and I hit up last time we were in the Gilis) I spotted this super long banded sea snake... make sure to check him out full screen and in 1080p.  Also, wait for the end of the video when he swims away.... so big!  I bet he was at least 10 feet long, which is why I kept my distance, remembering quite correctly that he is venomous:

There was some turtle action, fo sho:

And then this big mofo: a dog-sized, colorchanging cuttlefish.  So cool.  I love how he changes from solid color to mottled to thick light and dark stripes...  I only wish my dive buddies woulda let me get closer.  Eh, I guess whoever has the bigger camera wins.  If my Blair Witch-style shaky cam below is not good for you, check out this video... amazing.

And the rest: nudibranch!, pretty coral and fish, moray eel at 0:18 (sticking his head out behind that large-ish grey fish), a lobster! at 1:03 (you can see his long tentacles/feelers/whatever you call them sticking out of the coral), Nemo at 1:15, pretty sea fans, some sort of red tooth triggerfish convention right below the surface at 2:53ish.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Diving Gili Air (With Chuck)

After some lounging, sunset viewing and snorkeling as well as some reassurance from Chuck that she was ready to descend the depths of the ocean again, albeit as a zombie, we headed back out for some diving with Gili Air's Manta Dive:

We were paired up with divemaster Hell, the same fellow Tim and I dove with earlier in the year, he of the butter knife.  This time the butter knife he used as his pointer for diving was literally grabbed off of someone's breakfast plate... it still had food stuck on it!

Our first dive was at Mirko's Reef, which has some lovely coral. We had a bit of a short dive because someone (ahem) ran low on air, but it was quite beautiful.  Highlights include: a couple beautiful anemone fish (Nemo), nice table coral, a blink and you'll miss it lionfish inside of the table coral (you can see Hell pointing it out to us with his trusty butter knife at 1:02), Chuck perfecting her double hand wave...    not pictured: a bright yellow trumpetfish:

Dive #2: Hann's Reef

This dive, one I had done before with Tim, was awesome.  We coached Chuck through breathing a little slower and more deliberately to save air, so the dive was much longer than our first. Plus, Hell informed us that we would be able to see the turtles only if we were able to stretch our dive out to at least 45 minutes... a good incentive to conserve air.  And turtles we saw!

Highlights from the first part of our dive at Hann's reef include:

- a blue spotted stingray in the sand that I caught sight of and then carefully maneuvered over, lest I go the way of Steve Irwin
- a giant giant clam!
- lots of fish and pretty coral
- the near invisible stonefish...  or maybe it's a scorpionfish? (Hell points it out at 1:17)
- some moorish idols
- some pretty yellow-tailed fusiliers (1:37)
- Chuck double hand waving
-  a cool, tiny, basically transparent anemone shrimp (at least that's what I think it is) at 2:30

And then, the turtles!!!  We were able to make it to turtle town, and, as promised, there were lots of turtles hanging out.  The first one was so sound asleep that he kinda looked dead, with his head hanging down.  The second and third were congregated around a large barrel sponge, one sitting in it and one next to it.  I am pretty sure they were in the same exact position when Tim and I dove that site in April.  Check out the remorae on the back of the one that swims away.  And, of course, Chuck double hand waves behind the turtles before we depart:

Post-turtle we did some swimming across a large patch of sandy bottom, punctuated by mini-reefs covered in fish.  Highlights:
- scuba selfie at 0:08!
- super aggressive Nemo guarding his lonely anemone at 0:23... check out how he lunges at me!
- a spotted boxfish munching on the coral at 0:50
- ginormous barrel sponges
- a fat, gross sea cucumber (found by Chuck) at 1:53
- double and single hand waves from Chuck

Another awesome find on this dive: two blue ribbon eels sticking their heads out of the sand, waving their flared nostrils to and fro (they're a little hard to spot in the first part of my video, but be patient, I get closer.):

Not pictured, but seen: the amazing mantis shrimp, a moray eel, a titan triggerfish, spotted garden eels!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Super Sunset

Gili Air provides some pretty beautiful sunsets... it helps that you can walk around the whole island in an hour, so you get to see the sun setting from all angles and over 2 separate parts of Indonesia's Ring of Fire (i.e. volcanoes: Bali's Mt. Agung to the west and Lombok's Mt. Rinjani to the east).

Zombie Chuck also likes the fading light for documenting her face:

 OMG, put your sunglasses back on!!

Ok, back to pretty sunsets:


Thursday, December 5, 2013


After the shenanigans with our Liberty Wreck dive, zombie Chuck and I just chilled the remainder of the day on the beach in Amed so her face could deflate, then, the following day, we made our way to Gili Air.  Once we landed on the island, we hopped the only method of transportation (besides feet), the cidomo/horse cart:


They are so jingly and decked out with pom-poms, fringe and tassels!  And bumpy.

We dropped our bags off and immediately jumped in the water for some excellent snorkeling... right off the bat we saw this massive puffer bopping around:

At one point we were swimming around, watching schools of tiny fish dart all around us, when we turned around to see this dude feeding the fish some sort of chum-like substance out of a water bottle... they went crazy for it and surrounded us:

I caught sight of these cool juvenile teira batfish... Tim and I saw them (or some just like them) last time we were on Gili Air, but we didn't have the camera to document them:

Chuck tries to attract parrotfish to her with sparkle fingers:


More snorkeling footage... highlights include: some bee-you-tee-full coral, some super-duper-shaky footage of a cool black and white eel (Chuck's first time at the wheel) at 0:38, a trumpetfish at 1:18:


Zombie Chuck loves snorkeling:

Snorkel selfie:

Check out this fish fight club I witnessed... not exactly sure what these grappling fish are but they kinda looked like mini (2 inch long) scorpion fish... the camera work is a little shaky because the waves were rocking me back and forth.  Sorry.:

Gili Air's BioRock, a reef restoration program... see photos of its installation here and read more about it here:

After snorkeling we retreated to the comfort of the Chill Out's lounging area: