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📍 Gili Air, Lombok, Indonesia
📅 April 2018
♬ Push, by Fog Lake (licensed under CC BY 2.0, sourced from Free Music Archive)
🎥 GoPro Hero 5, edited with iMovie

I’ve never been a morning person; I’m a night owl. For as long as I (or anyone else who knows me) can remember, one of my greatest talents has been sleeping in whenever possible. Apparently I’m not that person anymore; or at least not on this trip. From the moment I arrived in Southeast Asia, my body clock set itself to island time and has been operating on that schedule ever since. I wake up with the roosters at about 5am every day, and hit the sack at a “reasonable” hour.

With this new schedule, I have a lot of opportunity for one of my new favourite things – sunrise snorkels. On this particular morning, I got myself into the water just in front of my accommodation on the north-east side of Gili Air at about 6:30 and swam out to the reef. I love being in the water at this time of the day because of what morning light does to the water, sparkling in waves along the sea floor and turning the water a metallic blue when you face towards the sun.

This turned into one of my favourite morning adventures thus far – for obvious reason if you’ve watched the video already. For the purposes of this story, I have affectionately named my new bestie Dennis. Dennis could be a girl for all I know, in which case we can add an “e” or just say it in a French accent.

Dennis and I met by chance after I’d been in the water for about 30 minutes. He came out of the deep turquoise blue, quietly exploring the sponges for breakfast nibbles, and we hung out together for about 15 minutes, munching, diving, cruising, and coming up for air before we eventually parted ways (and I realised I had one mighty swim back to shore). We’re besties now. He writes often.

Aside from the hero of this story, I also had my first sighting of a Blue Ribbon Eel which didn’t seem too happy that I’d interrupted whatever he or she was busy with so early in the morning, thrusting itself around like crazy. I felt like I was being scolded for waking up the neighbours. Beautiful, albeit slightly odd, little creature.

If you’re looking for a good snorkel spot on the Gilis, all you really need to do (aside from asking any of the locals who are always open for a friendly chat) is look out at the water any time after 9am on any given day. You’ll notice a hoard of boats huddled at certain spots dispensing snorkel tours and divers at all the good sites dotted around the coast.

The best time of day to head out yourself is generally first thing in the morning, not only because it’s ridiculously beautiful at that time of the day (and not quite so hot and schorchy), but also because it’s quiet and you get Dennis all to yourself. Conditions are also better for snorkelling at this particular spot at high tide so try and time that right if you can. Either way, you generally can’t go wrong. There wasn’t a single time that I got into the water around the Gili islands that I didn’t see at least one turtle.

I think turtles always look like they know something incredibly important that you don’t, like they have some ancient wisdom to share. It’s one of the most beautiful experiences a person can have in my opinion, just sharing a quiet moment floating in space. This particular moment is definitely one of my favourites.