Lord Howe Island
Not only is Lord Howe Island well known for its scuba diving, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unspoilt nature.
However, getting there is quite difficult, because there is a limit of 400 tourists on the island at any time. For me it was even more difficult to get there, because on the day of our trip there was a heavy storm, which prevented the pilot from landing on the island, so we had to turn back to the mainland and land in Coff's Harbor.
From there we were put on the next plane to Sydney, where we had to stay overnight and try again the next day. Even though the plane was delayed again a couple of times we eventually did make it to the island.
Unfortunately, the sea was still too rough the next day, so there was no diving going on. I used this day to explore the island, walking from one end to the other and looking for the few Caches which were hidden here.
The third day the sea was still too rough outside the lagoon, so we could only do one dive inside the lagoon. But that was a very promising start, not only did we see lots of fish and Shovelnose Rays, we also encountered juvenile Galapagos Sharks!
From then on I was able to do two dives a day around the island and all of them were fantastic. I was astonished about the beauty of its coral reef with many soft and hard corals, considering it is the world's southernmost barrier coral reef and water temperatures are often quite cold.
Besides the diving, I spent some more time wandering around the island taking in its many wonders. For example its large Muttonbird colony. These birds spend all day at sea and only come back to nest at dusk. They are not the most elegant on land and seeing them land, or sometimes crash, is quite a sight. Some seem so exhausted by their landing that they just sit wherever they got to a stop, even if it is in the middle of the road!
Except the juvenile Sharks and Rays on the first dive, I did not spot other big fish, but that didn't matter because there was so much else to see. On our last day we had a short visit by a Hawksbill Turtle and we spotted a juvenile yellow boxfish.
Lord Howe Island is definitely a place well worth visiting and I will go back one day, if I happen to be in the region :).
More pictures can be found in my webalbum.
Labels: Australia, diving, hiking, pictures, round the world