“Paradise with a Cause”
Forget Bali. Lombok is the place to be.
I joined The Dorsal Effect’s ecotrip after nearly two years of not travelling. I had heard of Kathy Xu’s cause and was just dying to support it.
My opportunity came up in Mar 2014, albeit only for two short nights. But what a trip it was.
For those seeking easy luxury, this may not be for you. What you can get though, is very decent accommodation at a great price in the Kuta District (I stayed at the Family House), and an unforgettable day-long snorkelling adventure.
Our trip started at the local fishmarket, where Kathy scrutinised the shark catch for the day. It’s not a pleasant experience, but it sure drove the message across. Strewn across the floor lay dead Hammerheads and grey sharks. About 20 in total. They called it a ‘bad day’.
With that image imprinted on our minds, we were led to a fishing boat manned by a local crew. And before we knew it, we were transported to paradise.
Mount Rinjani (third largest volcano in Indonesia) rose majestically in the horizon, cloud-free and utterly beautiful. Our first stop was ‘pink beach’ a tiny islet that was usually submerged at high tide. We were in for a treat through, the tide was low and we could walk on the beach. We went scouting for starfish and seashells amidst unbelievably crystal clear waters.
Kathy and team then took us to our first snorkelling destination – and we splashed off to explore. One tip here – the snorkelling gear privided on the boat is a little worn – so you may want to bring your own, to ensure a comfy fit.
Bring some vinegar too. This is in case you brush against floating weeds or pieces of broken coral, that may cause a reaction when in contact with skin. This is quite common in many snorkelling site.
I am a little spoiled – my first snorkelling experience was in the Maldives – so in the waters of Lombok, you do see many species of coral and fish, but not in profusion. it’s still gorgeous enough for you to wish that sharks could always remain in the ocean where they belong.
Kathy and crew took us to three different spots, encircling parts of Lombok. We had lunch on a deserted beach. And climbed hills and cliffs to be rewarded with breathtaking views.
Towards the evening, we headed back to the now-deserted fish market, where we disembarked. The sand there was black, polluted with oil from the fishing boats. I remember feeling so sad at the stark contrast to what I had just experienced on the trip – untouched natural beauty.