Pandemic in Paradise

4 min readOct 20, 2021


We’ve all been asked the question: “what would you do if you were stranded on a private island?” This question became a bit more realistic to those of us on the Gilis when the Corona Virus showed up. Here on Gili Air island, we started to hear rumblings of this virus in January of 2020. Mostly just little news stories about how fast it was spreading in China. Then came the stories about countries shutting their borders. Governments started to recommend that travelers return home to safety. Pretty soon, Indonesia did the same. On March 16th, the fast boats stopped running in between Gili Air, Bali, and Lombok. Even though we had been happy on Gili Air, without any thought of leaving, we now didn’t have a choice.

The debate of whether to stay in our sunny spot or return to the safety of home countries was all that anyone could talk about. Restrictions, such as masks and social distancing, began to come to our island.

After a brief adjustment period, updating our protocols to become COVID safe, we looked around and realised that the only thing that had changed on the island is that there were much less travelers and tourists. Other than that…

We had everything here that we could ask for! Gili Air was still the tropical paradise that it’s known as, we just had a smaller tribe with us. In the best place in the world to quarantine! A few of our community members shut their doors or modified their business to accommodate new protocols. Even a few new restaurants have popped up in the time!

The only constant in life is change, and our tribe has adapted. We like to make the best out of the situation at hand. While still being mindful of the global situation, we love being able to dive and soak in both Vitamin D and vitamin Sea!

Interested in joining us in paradise? Here’s all the information to get you craving the warm salt water and cold bintangs!

Are there still restaurants open?

Yes! While a few places have elected to close, there are still many open. Places for pizza, a wonderful comfort food restaurant, select bars, health-food options… In some opinions, the food options here have never been better! There is even a burger delivery joint that is open until 2 am for all the night owls.

Nearly every open restaurant on Gili Air has re-organized their operations to accommodate for delivery. By now, all of us are familiar with different lock-down and isolation scenarios. Reachable by Facebook or WhatsApp, you can have your craving delivered to your door!

Can you still dive?

What if we told you that the 3W tribe is still diving every week? Jealous? There are less divers, but that means more fish! Over the past year, the reefs around the Gilis have had time to recuperate. Species of fish are returning in droves, less divers and less boats also means less damage to the surrounding waters.

If you’re interested to see what we’re up to in and out of the water, follow @3wdive on Instagram.

Is there still a tribe of divers on the island?

You didn’t think that a pandemic could get rid of us dive addicts, did you?

While the herd has thinned a bit (understandably so in these uncertain times), we still have a tribe on the island! Many digital nomads, yogis, and (obviously) divers have either been here through thick and thin or have even joined from Bali. While it may have changed a bit, the tribe is still here and as strong as ever.

All that we’re missing is for you to come join.

How can you join this island paradise?!

Up until last week, getting to Indonesia was pretty difficult without a kitas (work visa) or permanent residency.

However! There is a little light now as offshore visas are now available! Travelers can now enter Indonesia, it just takes a few extra steps. You can read more about it here.

As we decided at the beginning of the life-altering pandemic, we’re not going anywhere! We’re just itching for more divers to get here to share the experience with. If you’re looking for even more reasons to come to Indonesia, check out our Divemaster Internship as well as our Coral Diver Course. We know how much you’ve missed diving, fresh air, and bintangs with your sunsets.

Feel free to shoot us a message if you’d like any advice on getting to paradise! We’re waiting to welcome you.

Written by Megan Whitehead




Live the island live as you are doing a Divemaster Internship or Marine conservation works with 3W Dive center