The impact of an island nation with a big population continues to be evident in Lombok and the (what should be) beautiful beaches of South West Lombok.
We stayed in Kuta, Lombok for four nights and visited the much heralded Mawun beach only to be confronted by a tide line of plastic and a sea full of floating bags, wrappers, straws and bottles. It was so bad we didn't enter the sea and just stood on what should have been the perfect beach considering what the world can do to combat the problem of packaging and waste.
Selong Blanak was better but still plastic floaters around in the sea. But still plenty of fun for all the family in the waves with a very shallow beach break and lots of rentals available. The body boarding was a huge success and Naomi and Jessica (7&3) even caught a couple of waves on the surf board, although they also wiped out in epic style with a few tears as surf boards crashed on top of heads.
We left Kuta for the little visited Gili of Gede to stay at Madak Belo with the excellent Hazzan - a really interesting guy from Gili Asahan, the neighbouring island. He has a degree in education, decided teaching wasnt for him, worked in the city in IT for a while before getting tired of money and city life so has returned to the islands to live the simple life.
Gili Gede was a remote paradise except unfortunately for more rubbish which confronted us as we disembarked our private boat. However, this time rather then just looking at it with disappointment, seeing as we were staying right on the beach we could do something about it. And so began the daily (or thrice daily) beach and sea clean up. No bag necessary as you found plenty to use on the beach. Within the first ten minutes between the three of us (Rachel, Mike and Kelly) we'd cleaned up the twenty metre stretch of sand immediately in front of the guest house and filled one and a half large bin bags of plastic rubbish and nappies. As Otto is still in nappies and a lot of the other rubbish was plastic straws and plastic bottles which we've been using in abundance, I once again felt responsible for the waste and vowed again to try to use more top ups and refuse straws. It's upsetting to think we're all contributing to the ruin of the planet but even though we would always dispose of rubbish in bins here there's a feeling of helplessness as to where the rubbish goes then. Dumped in rivers which flow out to sea I suspect.
Anyway, despite the obvious environmental impact on the beauty of the beach, Gili Gede still had some lovely coral gardens and great snorkelling straight from the beach which was amazing. Naomi (7) really got into her snorkelling here and was able to put into practice the diving down and clearing snorkels practice from the pool in Bali
We were the only ones staying at Madak Belo and it felt like the only ones on the entire island so the kids had free run to explore when they weren't being ill (tummy troubles hit the children!) The hermit crab trails at night were particularly good entertainment and whiled away many an hour or two in the evenings.
All too soon it was time to leave to head back to the tourist trail and hopefully some medicine to avert the tummy/toilet troubles!
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Kelly and Mikey (but mostly Kelly). We sold up in the UK to travel with our two littluns for a year or so. If you want to know more click the about us!