Sunken Solace

After weeks of way to much work in paradise it’s good to skive off to a little hiddy hole and recharge. Gilli Trawangan is that perfect spot. For those who have never been, Gilli T, as it’s affectionately known, is one of three little islands nestled together off the west coast of Lombok. The islands are famous for their pristine, hurt your eyes if you do not have good sunnies on, white sand beaches, bountiful patches of coral, which equates into a multitude of dive spots and perhaps our favorite, none of the islands have any vehicles on them. I know, weird for bike lovers eh? But here everything is either by foot, bicycle or pony driven cart. Oh, one other interesting fact, there isn’t any dogs on any of them either. Which has had it’s own interesting evolutionary effect, eg., leading to almost plague proportions of pussy cats. So into this tropical bliss we cast ourselves. We luxuriated in her embrace for a few days, the heady mix of early cocktails & late nights. Deep see diving and frolicking in the shallows, lunches that started at one and finished much much latter. You know, normal paradise stuff, though wasn’t long before there were chores to be done. For regular readers you would remember that Deus built and sunk a Bio-Rock last December, if you like look here for the story. Earlier this year the little islands were buffeted by storms, ships were lost, houses wrecked and yes, our little frame was rumored to be a little bent out of shape. Not knowing the full story, we’d had a variety of Indonesian whispers that had it at really bad all the way to not bad at all. So being in the neighborhood and all, we decided to pop on down to see what had happened and if need be, get a game plan together for a refit. No point in it being there and not fun, we had to get the bike back on the up and up. We popped into Gilli Divers and saw Jenny who once again agreed to lend us some equipment to drop down and do an exploratory. The BCD’s, weights & tanks, with remnants of the Deus stickers that we had plastered on them six months previous, were lugged to waters edge. We assembled our equipment where water met sand before awkwardly ambling into the azure aqua. The outside heat was quickly washed away in the clear tepid soup and a burst of bubbles, gaining our bearings we followed the slant of the bottom down and out to where we had lay the structure. But it wasn’t there. The blocks of concrete next to which we had jammed it were, we searched slightly further afield and found it some 50 meters down the beach and a full 90 degrees from the angle in which it had previously lain. In February and March this year Poseidon, Neptune and perhaps even Deus had conspired to pelt 4 meter waves at the group of islands. Moorings were ripped out boats ended up on beaches and beaches ended up on streets. One boat was even recovered as far away as Sumbawa. The power was great the damage thorough. More than enough to bend, rip and move the 500 kilos of metal we had dropped down on the sandy bottom. Approaching it from the north we could tell straight away that the status quo was off kilter. The angle of the bike now put it in a hair pin turn. The legs of the frame had in a couple of places, collapsed. It had however found a safe harbor wedged between a couple of boulders. Moving it, not an option, it’s new home by natural selection. Two young guys were snorkeling down to it, even in it’s maimed state it was working on all the levels we had imagined. The frame was receiving a current, bubbling away in the strong current, cooking, meaning the electrolysis reaction was working and calcium carbonate was forming across the metal rather than the metal rusting, providing the perfect bed for coral to grow. It was mid afternoon and the cross shore current meant the water was hitting the bike side on with the intensity of a waterfall. Small wonder that the bike had adopted a less than perpendicular position. Nice to note though that little fish were already using it’s nooks and crannies to escape the brutal blast of water as it flowed past. Life had sprung up across the entire frame, perhaps not as much as if the frame was a big lump of metal far from the flipper flaunting visitors who were bound to bang and knock said life back to basics. But this Bio-Rock had been designed with a different approach in mind. We wanted to get the interaction from passing punters. We wanted them to leave slightly more educated about the process. Having maneuvered around the frame for twenty odd minutes, holding on in the stiff current, evaluating and conniving, coming up with ideas to realign the bike and secure the structure against further punishment dished upon it from the gods of the sea we let go and drifted along, deeper and in search of the visual bounty that the Gili Islands has on offer. We’ll be back soon enough to put our plan into play. Big thanks to Celia & Ano for taking time out of their sunbathing schedule. Photos from Ano & Oscar.