Anyway, some friends of ours had visited, and said what a lovely time they’d had, so, off we went. There are no direct flights from New Zealand, and, the numbers of visitors allowed is regulated (450 I think it is). So, we had to book through an agency, and, we had to fly through Sydney / Melbourne. We opted for Sydney as I have a cousin there so it was a great excuse to catch up. Aidan took us for a day trip to the blue mountains, and, generally looked after us very well! A coffee ready on arrival at the airport, I may have to take a leaf out of his book!
Then it was time to fly to Lord Howe for a week. We just had a fantastic time really. It was somewhat low season, but, we had pretty decent weather, and, made the most of it when it was fine. It did rain in some of the afternoons, but, we had some lazy days too. The OpenStreetMap Android app (OSMAND+) came in super useful again. It was just ridiculously well annotated. Even pointing out where the snorkelling holes are, where the turtles are. Beats the absolute pants off Google Maps!
We did do one boat-trip to do snorkelling further out on the reef. We were out for a couple of hours total, in the water for a bit over an hour maybe? I’m really not the best swimmer / that happy in the water, but, if you’re also like this, just know that with a wetsuit in the sea you’re really very buoyant. You hardly need to expend much energy to float around. It’s good ;). We had to take a couple of trips to where the turtles were supposed to be before we saw one, but then we did, and had a lovely 10 minutes or so just swimming along with it. Lovely.
Lord Howe is also a sad tale, much like NZ really. A pretty unique ecological climate has given rise to a whole heap of endemic species, which are getting slowly (or not so slowly) wiped out by invasive / introduced species. One particularly nasty critter is the Crown of Thorns Starfish pictured below.
They still don’t actually know how it got to Lord Howe, but, its here, and it’s slowly eating the coral. I have no idea what you’re supposed to do with a pest like that. Very sad :(
We also headed out to see the petrels which nest in their bajillions here. They’re very inquisitive, and, much like in the Attenborough clip here, they came to our calls (almost came a little too close for comfort. They really liked Maaike’s shoes..)
All too soon it was time to leave. We might go back, it was a lovely spot. If we do, scuba diving will definitely be on the cards.
Finally, if you’re wondering how we took the photos – it’s an olympus tough. They’re fantastic cameras, fantastic macro and obviously waterproof too.