It is truly a milestone getting one first boat tour going for The Dorsal Effect indeed. Feeling like we have been in the woods most parts of this year, to be able to take my first group of tourists out on the proposed boat trip really felt like a mixture of a dream come true a la Christopher Columbus discovering new lands.
So the weeks leading up to the actualization of the one day boat excursion with my dear first trippers Victor Chan, Victor Toh, Aidan Kelly and Elisha Hickey, saw me a nervous wreck and all worried about whether it would go well and if they would enjoy it at all. I know these dear ones signed up for it in good faith with no expectations and yet were still willing to pay for the trip so I had to make it a good one for them.
We set off for Tanjung Luar bright and early at 6am on a Wednesday morning on 4th September 2013 with Agus, armed with our beach wear and snorkel gear if any. Packing lunch of mixed rice with vegetables along the way at Praya, the pleasant company on the road made for a less jittery me.
Walking around the fish market for a while before departing on the small boat, we noticed there wasn’t any sharks in the abattoir area that morning but instead it was filled with many species of rays. I did wonder if indeed they have depleted all the sharks in the waters around Lombok already, or we were a bit late and had missed the sharks. But one of the fishermen who recognized me came up and told me there wasn’t any “ikan hiu” (sharks) that morning. Honestly, I didn’t know what to feel about that information.
The moment we boarded and set off on the boat, everything started feeling magical though, as we passed Gili Merangke and some pearl farms (Segui beach) as well as Squid Beach and to have a dip for our first snorkelling experience at the reefs of Gili Petelu (Tree Island). Gosh were we enthralled the moment we jumped into the clear waters, at how pristine and untouched the corals were! There was such a wide variety and colour of corals and marine life that we could not stop being in awe of it all.
Next stop was pink beach off Tanjung Ringgit where the sand IS really pink and we could climb up a beautiful cliff for dramatic views of the beach on one side and a calm cove on the other. There was even a cave left behind from the Japanese Occupation times that we could explore right at pink beach
After savouring our packed lunch on the boat, we were ready for our second snorkel site at Teluk Semangkok which proved even more breathtaking, with its richer array of corals and fishes that we spent nearly an hour in the water taking it all in!
The last stop was a sunken sand island that we boated over on our way out in the morning, due to the high tides, Pulau Pasir. It was a most interesting sand island teeming with starfishes, slugs and other life forms that enthralled us happy explorers indeed!
It was a great virgin trip for us all indeed and we do feel a little sad that most of you did not get a chance to be our first trippers to experience all this firsthand but we definitely need to you come with us and make a one day boat trip booking if you are in Lombok, so that we can do our part for responsible tourism and do our part for shark conservation by providing this alternative livelihood of ecotourism to the shark fishermen while enjoying pristine beaches and coral reefs! (Thank you, Victor Toh, for sharing your photos with us here too!)
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