Eco Trust and Bale Sampan Bungalows Biorock

Biorock technology is a new way of incorporating science, engineering and nature. Championed and created by the Gili Islands Eco Trust ( the community organisation that collects donations of divers ) these structures attempt to reverse the destruction we notice on our coral reefs. This damage can come from El Nino coral bleaching, storm and wave damage, careless diving practises, boats dropping anchors and even the massive schools of bumphead parrot fish that patrol the reefs feasting on coral and pooping out the fine sand that makes our much desired whte sand beaches.

Bale Sampan Bungalows has worked closely with the Gili Eco Trust over the years and as the location for some of the best snorkelling on Gili Trawangan we want to protect our coral reefs as much as possible and create a safe snorkelling area for our guests. In the last 3 years we have submerged 2 main Biorocks in front of Bale Sampan Bungalows. One is in the shape of a sampan (a small boat) and the other is an octopuss. These structures are essentialy metal cages acting as an anode. Nearby is a titanium cathode fed by an electrical charge from the Bale Sampan Cafe. This small charge creates an electrical field, undetectable by humans or fish, that stimulates the growth of calcium based coral onto the structures. This electrical charge is reported to increase natural growth rates by as much as 5 times. Healthy coral provides a home for small fish which in turn attracts bigger fish and a thriving underwater environment. This means we can have healthy reefs in a few years instead of decades. This growth can be spotted by the eagle-eyed by the small bubbles that are given off that indicate the structure is working and the coral is growing. As the diving on Gili Trawangan is such an essential part of the character of the island and the people who live here it is important that all the bungalows on Gili Trawangan keep giving back to the island and keeping  her beaches beautiful and her reefs healthy.

Diving

With more than 54,000km of coastline, Indonesia offers some of the best diving in the world. As a country it is also home to sites with the ‘greatest biodiversity of marine life’ on the planet. Diving heavens are often located on the protected northern sides of the major islands and the Gili Islands on the north western coast of Lombok are no exception. Around the 3 islands there are 16 major divesites with a variey of topographys from walls to dropoffs to pinnacles to sloping reefs.

 Gili Trawanagan is also home to a large amount of Biorocks and all divers donate Rp50,000 (USD 5) to the maintenance and protection of the marine park. There are also a number of secret spots and diveshop special sites to access. Good dive guiding requires good local knowledge and qualified divers should look for a shop with excellent local dive guides or western staff that have years of experience. For those still to be initiated into the hobby of diving Gili Trawangan boasts some excellent and professional diveshops and is proudly one of the highest certifying destinations for new divers in Indonesia. Along with the good diving in Gili Trawangan the inevitable and equally as good social life on the island is an important drawcard. Dive shops are a great place to meet new people as well as some of the salty old locals, to swop stories of giant fish and of course to consume that important postdive Bintang to help you relax afer a hard days diving.

Mount Rinjani Trekking, Lombok Indonesia

Indonesia’s famous Ring of Fire is a chain of volcanos running the length of the country. There are 226 peaks over 1000m and a staggering 39 peaks over 3000m. Gunung (Mount) Rinjani is the second highest volcano in this chain at 3726m. Its base and hiking routes are well established but it is still takes a minimum of 2-4 days to hike to the summit.

The most popular routes for Mount Rinjani trekking start in Senaru and ends in Sembulan but it is also possible to do other routes. The mountain is often closed from December to March because of rain and risk of exposure. The mountain boasts a massive caldera rim of 6 x 8.5km, bigger than any of the little Gili islands that are nearby. This is the base camp for the first days relatively easy hike through the forest of the lower slopes. Above the tree-line the rim campsites are exposed to both cold winds and incredible views of the huge lake that resides in the crater. In the centre of this lake is Anak (child) Rinjani which is a new volcanic cone that has been forming and can be observed smouldering regularily or even erupting as recently as 2010.

Most hiking groups either trek down to the hot springs for Day 2 or leave the base camp early in the morning for a summit attempt by sunrise. This hike is very strenous with cold winds and tiring trekking on volcanic scree. The famous 2 steps forward 1 step back phrase is often quoted. The morning trek to the highest part of the crater rim, which is called the summit, takes at least a couple of hours and tests every hikers determination, resilience and fitness. A reasonable level of fitness, good hiking shoes, a windproof jacket and lots of sachets of Extra Joss (the local energy drink) are required to reward the hiker with one of the most beautiful and breathtaking views on the planet.

The summit is fairly small and soon is filled with the successful hikers. The views of the neighbouring Gili Islands can even stretch across to Bali. The most impressive views are after the sun has risen and the tired but victorious hikers descend along the sharp volcanic scree rim back down to base camp. On the inside edge you are witness to dizzying drops and vertical rock outcroppings into the massive caldera. Truely magnificent.

Most groups descend the shorter route down to Sembulan village and after a long days hiking there are many tired and happy faces readying themselves to cross over to the many bungalows on Gili Trawangan. From Bale Sampan Bungalows we can assist you in organising a trek suitable for you, even keep your large luggage for you securely and will be happy to welcome you back to our Cafe for a well earned Bintang while you soak your weary muscles in our fresh water pool. It is truely an acheivement to summit this mighty Gunung and you will be needing a well deserved break afterwards!