“After years of sailing and working around Dubai, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia and other places I have finally found the perfect place to put some roots down.” Captain Ray La Fontaine – sv Basilea – anchored off Gili Gede June 2012.5sw XS.
Gili Gede is an island located in a big sheltered bay close to the coastal town of Tembowong and just a short boat ride west of the harbour town of Lembar in South West Lombok. It is one of 12 islands clustered together that have yet to be given a title, so let’s call them the Southern Gilis. One of the locals, Agus, described Gili Gede as, “a beautiful sheltered island in calm, pristine seas that are surrounded by many hills with a panorama of other islands to catch the eye, fringed by the ever present coconut trees along white sandy beaches.”
Well that’s what I heard anyway, but you get the picture. It is also very close to the world class surf break of Desert Point and the whole area is a sailor’s dream. Comparisons have been made to other sailing spots like the Whitsundays in Queensland, Australia. That is, a string of islands clustered relatively close together, some of them uninhabited, which can be a very popular base for sailing, surfing, diving, fishing and of course relaxing on Gili Gede and other nearby islands. In other words this is a tropical paradise worth a visit.
How Do I Get There?
The new Gili Gede Fast Boat Service can get you to Gili Gede in just over two hours, faster on a good day. It is intended to be a daily service leaving from Serangan Island, Bali. The course to Gili Gede skirts the north west coast of Nusa Lembongan and then heading ESE to Gili Gede. The boat is fast and can cruise comfortably at 20 plus knots and is fitted out with all the latest electronic navigation gear. The enclosed cabin and maximum capacity of twelve passengers means that on most days you can stay dry and move around and take photos on the way. The crew are very professional and safety conscious but not over the top and with the smaller number of passengers it feels like you out on your mate’s boat. The return cost from Bali to Gili Gede is 1,200,000 rupiah.
(See www.giligedefastboat.com or google Gili Gede Fast Boat Service.)
Captain Ray – Sailors’ Sailor
The Gili Gede Fast Boat Service is the brainchild of the sailors’ sailor Captain Ray La Fontaine who in his yacht sv Basilea has had more sea miles than most of us have had hot dinners. It is the first step in opening up the area to become a sailor’s haven. Originally from Australia, Captain Ray left the Great South Land years ago. Since then he has run a charter business in Thailand, organised surf trips along the west coast of Sumatra and many other adventure tourist type things. Not only is he a consummate sailor, having represented Australia in sailing championships, but he has had years of experience in construction and project management in Australia and the Middle East. This is a rare combination indeed, a fully qualified Master Class 5 – Ocean Captain and a construction Project Manager. So what is Captain Ray planning for Gili Gede? He is going to build a marina. He says, “After years of sailing and working around Dubai, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and other places, I have finally found the perfect place to put some roots down.” Home is the sailor, home from the sea.
Marina Del Ray
If you search on the web the coordinates 08.45S and 115.55E you will get the location of the proposed Marina Del Ray. Take a look at the location and all you sailors will see that it is the perfect place for a marina. The big problem at anchor is wind and the swell. Well this spot is protected from the North Westerlies and South Easterlies which are the prevailing winds in this part of the world. The site does face south but the fetch between Gili Gede and the mainland is only one or two nautical miles so the worst you will get is a slight chop on the water. If you look on a wider scale at the surrounding topography you can see that Gili Gede is protected from the great ocean swells that boom in from the south. Captain Ray said, “I spent a lot of time pouring over charts and google earth and I think this is the one of the best spots in all of Indonesia to build a marina’’.
Captain Ray is just about there in terms of getting approval from the locals and beyond to start construction. He has spent many hours in negotiations with local villages and intends to set up a win – win situation for everybody. The local officials welcome this venture. Already Captain Ray is employing kids to help out and they are jumping at the chance. You see in this part of the world people live off the sea. As we were walking on the beach one evening, Captain Ray said, “If the locals on the island, for whatever reason, can’t get out to sea and fish they go hungry. It is that simple.”
(see lombokmarinadelray.com or google Marina Del Ray Lombok.)
Madak Belo Bungalows – Gili Gede
One place on Gili Gede to stay is Madak Belo that has backpacker type rooms for about 125,000 rupiah per night or the bungalows at 250,000 rupiah per night. The food at the restaurant is healthy and fresh and the views across the ocean from the bungalows are to die for. It is a quiet place to stay and everything you may need can be provided. Run by a delightful French couple Henri and Capucin, Madak Belo is just one of the hideaway gems found on Gili Gede and surrounding areas.
(See www.madak-belo.com or google Madak Belo)
Pearl Guy and Tour Organiser – Mr Azis
Mr Azis is a young guy I met in North Lombok while waiting for a boat. He is typical of many of the locals. He has a university degree but sells pearls to tourists and organises tours for a living.
Email him at : firstname.lastname@example.org if you are planning a trip to Lombok. He can help you. Speaks good English and is an honest guy.