Month 3: bye LOMBOK (November 2023)
It’s hard to believe, but after 2 months, we finally bid farewell to LOMBOK! But not for long, silly! In Indonesia, you can only extend your 30-day visa on arrival once. So, after 2 months, it was time for what they call a visa run! Although we still loved the lifestyle here, we also welcomed a break from the work and surf routine. Something different. So, after 2 months, it was time to say goodbye to Lombok for a few weeks.
Quite decadent, doing a visa run
That sounds rather fancy, doesn’t it? Just doing a visa run. As if it’s the most ordinary thing in the world. We flew off to Bangkok for a few days because we needed to exit the country for our visa but then return. MAN! Incredibly decadent. And we’re well aware of it. Despite working hard for this lifestyle, we’re two incredibly lucky individuals. The fortune of doing this together and being born in a country where this is even an option, we truly recognize.
Indulging in Bangkok’s street food
What a hardship, stuffing ourselves for a few days with the tastiest street food in Bangkok. We found a craft beer café around the corner and thought it was the perfect time to satisfy our craft beer cravings, considering they’re almost impossible to fulfill in Lombok. Other than that, we didn’t do much except spending an hour going wild in the arcade. From Guitar Hero to my favorite, the dance machine. It becomes painfully clear that we might need to work on our dance moves a bit more.
Diving at Nusa
After taking the ferry from Lombok to Bali three times (still a solid tip), we decide this time to travel back via Nusa Lembongan and the Gili Islands to Lombok. Nusa Lembongan because we’re eager to dive again. It’s been 5 years, so we start with a refresher mini-course in the pool. Even though we’ve done quite a few dives, I feel like a complete dive loser. It’s great that we managed this before getting into the water for real.
The next day, we’re ready for the real deal. Coral Bay and Manta Bay are on the itinerary. It’s pouring rain, and the sea is ROUGH! We’re champions at choosing the most impossible moments for these trips. But we’re here, and there’s no way back.
At Coral Bay, we mostly stay near the entrance because diving into the current doesn’t seem like the best idea after 5 years without diving. Soon enough, a turtle casually swims by. But mostly, it’s just wonderful being back in the water.
Then onto Manta Bay, which we secretly anticipate. Diving with Manta Rays. The sea gets even rougher, and despite quickly taking motion sickness pills – Desi shoves one in her mouth – within minutes, everything comes up. I NEED off that boat. I dive into the sea like a maniac, hoping it’s less turbulent. It’s slightly better, but even after getting off the boat, the waves are intense. We start the dives, and underwater, it’s a left-right struggle. Even Leroy, who NEVER gets seasick, is barely holding it together. To make matters worse, the visibility is maybe 3-4 meters.
But within 5 minutes, the first manta ray glides past, then another and another. They keep coming, and it’s truly MAGICAL! They’re unbelievably large and incredibly graceful. While we float around like two fools in the water, these giants elegantly swim by as if nothing’s wrong.
It might not be the dive we hoped for, but it’s still extraordinary.
Chilling on the Gili Islands
After a few dives and touring Nusa Lembongan, we take the fast boat to Gili Air. We had plans to join some parties, but the island is VERY quiet. The beach is a stone’s throw away from our accommodation, and mostly, we just open our laptops occasionally.
Back to Kuta Lombok
From Gili Air, we take the local ferry to Bangsal and drive straight to Kuta Lombok! We arrive at Loka, where we rent a small room per month, and are greeted by the dachshund and the stray dog who have made this place their home. It feels so good! We resume our now “normal” life, mostly consisting of the question “where are we eating tonight?” and “what time are we surfing?”