On our second day in Gili Trawangan, we decided to take a day trip to one of the neighboring islands. Gili Meno is quite a bit smaller than Gili T and less built up with restaurants and hotels. There are a few places to eat dotted along the coast, and a couple of homestays, but otherwise Gili Meno is a nicely secluded getaway.
We got up early and started off with some breakfast on Gili T at this cafe…
…with this view…
Not a bad way to start the day (to say nothing of my cappuccino made with REAL espresso. The gods were smiling upon me, indeed).
By 9:30, we were on the boat to Gili Meno.
The main reason we went to Gili Meno was to see the turtle sanctuary there. Having spent most of my formative years obsessed with turtles, I was eager to check out this attraction. Aside from it, though, we weren’t sure what else there was to do on the island. Upon docking, we started with a morning meander around Meno’s perimeter, hoping we’d stumble upon the turtle sanctuary along the way.
As you can see, our walk was absolutely gorgeous. One thing that made me a little sad was all of the construction we passed along the way (not pictured, of course, because construction isn’t pretty). Gili Trawangan is already fairly touristy, and I suppose Gili Meno is following suit. It makes sense, given that visitors need places to stay and eat, but I also wish that it would stay as uninhabited as it currently is.
Since we had been walking for awhile and still had not seen any signs of the turtles, we decided to cut through the middle of the island to see what we could find there. While there were no turtles, we did find Gili Meno’s mangrove preserve.
This might have been my favorite part of our walk. We ran into no one except a couple wandering locals, and it was absolutely silent.
As we emerged on the other side of the island, close to where we began our walk, we finally ran into someone from whom we could ask directions. She pointed us in the direction from whence we came, about 30 feet down from where the boat let us off. So we basically landed on top of the turtles and walked in the opposite direction. Which was fine by me, because it was a perfect start to the day.
Finally, we found our shelled friends swimming away in their pools.
This operation was started to protect the turtle population around the Gili Islands, which has been slowly dying as a result of both humans and natural predators. They spend 100,000 rupiah (about $10) per day to feed, raise and release these turtles into the ocean. Although it may not seem like much, it is quite a lot of money by Indonesian standards. It relies almost entirely upon donations to stay up and running. It’s interesting, because it’s mostly tourist money that keeps this place in business. Yet it is also tourists who pose a large threat to the turtles in the first place.
We had fun watching the turtle scuttle around their tanks. I desperately wanted to hold one, but I had to settle for snapping a few pictures instead.
After seeing seeing the turtles, we were ready to settle in for some beach time. And the beach!
Pure white sand, crystal clear water…all these purity cliches are jumping to mind because the beach was simply that unspoiled and clean. It makes me want to tell everyone to come here and see it but at the same time, to stay away so that it stays perfect forever.
Anyway! While on the beach, we were approached by a coconut-selling friend. We weren’t interested, but she sat down with us, chatted a bit and it took a whole 30 seconds for her to sell me a coconut. I figured it was only fair to sneak a picture of her while she worked to crack it open.
Then I made Alex take 263+ pictures of me on the beach, holding said coconut.
Now Alex with the coconut:
Okay, I think that’s enough of that.
After the beach, we tucked into some lunch (excuse my foot)…
…and a cold beer, oceanside.
And with that, it was time to wave a sad goodbye to Gili Meno. Even my seat next to Monsieur Grenouille, who chain-smoked his way back to Gili T on the crowded afternoon ferry, could not rile my relaxed mood. Gili Meno, je t’aime!