day sixty-six: december 4, 2015:

Today we rented a scooter from our hotel and explored around Kuta Lombok. We've heard from a lot of people that Lombok is what Bali was 30 years ago. First we stopped in town, which is just a small main intersection with small, simple shops and restaurants leading away from the center. Our friends, Zak and Gena, recommended a small place called The Corner, where we had some great smoothies and sandwiches. After, we headed west and explored three nearby beaches - Mawun, Mawi, and Selong Balanak. The road to Mawun was a small dirt road leading off the main road. We weren't too sure what to expect, but once we arrived, it opened up into an open cove with an incredible beach. There were only maybe five other visitors there and only a few kids trying to sell us pineapples. 

Our second stop was Mawi, which is known for its surf break. I think we may have been the only non-surfers there, but it was relaxing to watch the surfers catching some good waves. 

Our last stop was Selong Balanak, which is a much longer beach front with calmer waves. There were a few people learning to surf, but the smaller waves were great for body surfing and swimming. 

day sixty-seven: december 5, 2015:

We coordinated with the hotel security guard to help arrange a day trip to the "Secret Gilis", which are a small set of islands off the southwestern coast of Lombok. After an hour and a half drive, we arrived at the docks where we caught a small local spider boat to Gili Nanggu. We had read online that the snorkeling was supposed to be much better here than in the Gili Islands to the north since not nearly as many people visit them. What we read was right, the snorkeling was great. Unfortunately, the reef had clearly still been suffering from tourists and locals though. The locals have been actively trying to regrow the coral using metal frames with pieces of coral attached to stimulate regrowth. It seemed to be working, but still not the same as the real thing. I would imagine that after maybe 10-20 years it could potentially be somewhat restored, but a single fin kick against a piece of coral can easily destroy 10 years of growth. Nonetheless, we had a great time feeding the fish using bread inside plastic bottles with a small hole in the top to squeeze bread out slowly. 

After Gili Nanggu, we headed to Gili Sudak for some lunch. We mostly had the entire restaurant and beach front to ourselves. Definitely not a bad place to have a break and a bite to eat. In the distance we could see Gili Bedis, a very small island you can walk around in less than 5 minutes. After some short snorkeling around Gili Bedis, we headed back to Lombok and headed home.