Ever since I did my PADI Open Water in Ko Tao back in 2005, I have been obsessed with diving. The feeling of complete freedom and serenity when you are under water is heaven for me, and I just can't get enough of it. That's why I knew that the Gilis were a must for my recent trip to Indonesia. I had heard of the tiny island of Gili Trawangan from a friend who had lived there for 6 months, working as a dive master. She had firsthand experience of the brilliant diving in this area and I only needed to talk to her for five minutes before I was convinced.
As I was going with my sister and another friend, both of whom hadn't dived before, she recommended that we went to Big Bubble Dive as the groups are small, and the instructors are friendly. The Gilis are the perfect place to learn to dive. The atmosphere is nice and relaxed, with lots of divers of different levels of experience. You are also sure to see a huge range of fish on every dive, and a lot of the dive sites are shallow enough for training dives.
There are 16 dive sites located around the three Gili Islands; padi idc gili trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. You can reach all the sites by Jukung boats and the travel time is no more than about 25 minutes. This means that you don't have to spend half your time travelling to get to the dive site! This is a big plus point for me as I tend to get a bit sea sick, especially after a dive, due to the salt water invasion of my nose.
I did a total of 8 dives, and each one was absolutely fantastic. I saw loads of beautiful things including cuttlefish, octopus, black tip reef sharks, boxfish (my personal favourite), pufferfish and turtles, to name but a few.
On my last dive, I was due to buddy up with my newly qualified sister. However, one of the Dive Masters suggested that I go with another group to do a more experienced drift dive as it was, in his opinion, the best dive site in the area. Thank God I did! This was the most spectacular dive I have ever done. I was lucky enough to spot a beautiful, 2 metre long bumphead parrot fish. This fish was unbelievably incredible to watch, shimmering deep green in crystal clear waters. This dive was truly the highlight of my entire trip.