Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lombok Post Number One

Well, Borneo was amazing, and I had a daily series of blog posts all queued up to send out as emails to share my experiences. I had no Internet for a week, and on my way to Lombok, connected to the wifi signal at the Kuala Lumpur airport, and all my posts (plus a few other emails I had in the Draft box on my iPad) vanished without a trace. I might find time to rewrite (and therefore relive) some of them, but not any time soon, sorry.

I'm so lucky to be counted among Andrew Broan's friends. It's really a special group of people from tithe most diverse backgrounds who have gathered here at his friend Scott's luxury boutique hotel on the tropical coast of this little Indonesian island for his 50th birthday. There are guests from Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris, New Zealand, New York, San Fancisco Bay Area, and of course Tucson. Andrew and Scott have four full days of activities planned for us, with plenty of time to relax as well.

Yesterday a sizeable chunk of the group took an excursion by boat to Gili Air ("Water Cay") for some amazing snorkeling. We rode out in three boats with outriggers.

Here's a view from the main island looking NW to the "Three Gilis."

Most of the group that went, with the birthday boy front left.

For this morning Andrew organized a 60-km, 3 1/2-hour bicycle ride starting at dawn,going up the coast and back over Monkey Pass. It was a beautiful ride and a great workout. Eight out of the 30 or so present took part. The pass is well named as I saw about 100 monkeys (I think they are Long-tailed Macaques) all along that part of the road. Not many birds, but at one stop I saw my lifer Pale-headed Munias and Lesser Coucal. Andrew impressed me once again by already knowing that the larger swifts overhead were Edible-nest Swiftlets, something no one else here knew. Oh, and last night I saw and recorded the recently-described (like three months ago) Rinjani Scops-Owl just across the street from the resort. It's the only species of bird endemic to the island. The resort grounds are stunningly beautiful but too manicured for much bird diversity.

Qunci Villas, Senggigi, Lombok

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