Ahhhh. CNY is still on the mind. Lombok and its crystal clear barreling
reef breaks, fresh seafood and powerful arak are a heady draw that has
me working my schedule book just days after getting back, searching for
more time off and the next trip.
Situated off Bali and almost as big, Lombok has everything Bali has
minus the crowds, the hassle, the aggro, and the neon lights. Its
gentle, rural muslim atmosphere is soothing to the soul.
Getting up early a.m., putting the surfboard on the rack on the side of
the mo-ped and speeding off down village dirt roads - dodging water
buffalo and pot holes - to meet my ever-present, ever-smiling boatman,
with his Australian accented Bahasa and frayed fake Quiksilver t-shirt,
for the outrigger journey to Gurupuk's clean, overhead waves and
colourful coral reef.
Feeling the sun on the side of your face and the warmth of the water on
your skin as you slide down that first morning wave, with the lip
pitching tonnes of water just inches from your shoulder, trying its
best to catch you in its washing machine-like embrace...there's no
sensation quite like it.
Lunch is a lazy few beers at the local cafe back in the village, with
some healthy gado gado and maybe some fresh fish. Then, it's biding
time for the tide to become just right, so we can head out to another
of the area's well-known reef breaks, like Ari Golong, for the mid day
Shorter than the morning surf, the midday session is restricted by
Lombok's hot midday sun, which cuts into your skin like a surgeon's
knife. The slathering of plus-50 sunscreen hardly seems to make a
difference and when there's a lull between sets, the most comfortable
option is to put your head under water and watch the colourful fish
moving back and forth with the surge.
The mid afternoon nap, on a swinging chair, hamock, or stretched out on
shaded chase lounge prepares you for the late afternoon surf. The later
the better. Just before sunset. The whole sky begins to flame orange
and is reflected off the glassy surface of the water. Every droplet
looks like liquid gold. The wind has died completely and the low tide
means the waves are breaking more hollow than usual. It also means the
reef isn't far below. As the sun dips below the far-off coconut groves,
the trip back to the village on the outrigger is almost zen.
Dinner, beer and tall tales with friends and locals is the only way to
spend the evening, before the arak comes out and the laughter begins.
Then, it's time to sleep, rest, and begin the whole process once again
Lombok is a great alternative to Bali. You can fly to Singapore and
then direct to the capital Mataram. Or catch a plane or ferry from
The diving is also fantastic. My first duck dive with snorkel, during a
surfing break, took me to a coral head with four brilliantly coloured
lobster sitting under a ledge, looking out at me and waving their long
white feelers as though tempting me to join them. On the surface, a
barracuda glided in circles around me, eyeing the flashing silver on my
watch. Hundreds of clown fish chased each other across anemonie
territories. A long, thick worm, looking suspiciously like a sea snake
at first glance, waves its pronged mouth backwards and forwards,
clearly a candidate for the next Aliens creative. Trigger fish peck at the coral heads like jack hammers, while smaller fish dart in to pick off the pieces.
Now, how many points do I have left with Asia Miles?
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