Tuesday 17 November 2015

Lord Howe Island Trip - Day 3

Day 3 - 17/11/2015 - Snorkelling and Photos afternoon

It was an early 6:30am start as we were off for our first snorkelling tour.  After breakfast and getting ready we arrived at the LHI Environmental Tours shed at about 8:30 for a 9am start.  I had also organised to hire a GoPro camera from the dive shop, so I had to pick that up as well.  I have never used a GoPro before so it was going to be interesting to see what sort of footage I could get from it.

Because we were a lot further south than our normal tropical warm water in Bundaberg, we opted for the full length wetsuits.  Which was well worth the $5 option!  The water was a bit cooler than what we were accustomed too.  The tour guide said that the water was about 1deg cooler than it should be for this time of year.  It was about 19deg.

There were only 4 of us on the snorkelling tour which made it really quick and easy for all of us to get in and out of the boat.  We weren’t held up with lots of people all trying to get off and then get back into the boat.  This would have significantly reduced the amount of time that you could spend in the water viewing the coral.

The other couple, (Greg and Abby), were from Melbourne.  They were meant to arrive on LHI on the Friday before us for a weeks stay.  But due to the bad weather they were not able to get to the island until Monday.  So they effectively lost 3 days of their week that they were meant to be there.  They were stuck in Sydney for those three days.  The same thing could have happened with us out of Brisbane.  So our plan for whenever we visit LHI again is to fly out from Sydney so that way if the weather is bad and we can’t get to the island, then we will least have a few days in Sydney to do some more exploring.

We visited 4 spots on the tour and at each spot we had about 20 to 25 minutes in the water.  The first stop was Erscott’s Hole.  With this one we actually did a drift.  We all jumped in the water and then just drifted from close to the breakers at the edge of the reef towards the island.  The tour guide kept the boat behind us and the after a couple of hundred meters we climbed back in the boat for the next spot.

If you look close enough to the right of the green plant coral, you can just make out the lobster hiding under the coral shelf. It was the size of a small dog!
The second snorkelling spot was Erscott’s reef and this was located a lot closer to the edge of the reef and open ocean.  It was noticeably rougher due to the swell making its way over the edge of the reef with the incoming tide.
Flutefish just chillin and taking in the sights

From there it was off to Comets Hole and The Horseshoe.

In the video below, watch for the shark swim past in the first 5 seconds or so.  Luckily Jodie didn't see it when she was in the water!

Even though it was staring to cloud over a little bit by the end, the water clarity was amazing.  It was some of the best we had ever snorkelled in.  In some places the water was more than 10m deep and you could see all the way to the bottom.

By the time we finished up snorkelling, returned to the beach, cleaned up and headed home it was time for an early lunch.

The weather improved greatly after lunch.  When we finished snorkelling it was cloudy and a bit overcast but it improved to blue skies and hardly a cloud in the sky.  Because the weather was so variable and changed relatively quickly, I made the most of it by taking off with the camera for the afternoon to try and take some photos while the weather was good.  There was no guarantee that it was going to be as good as it was now.
Mt Gower
At Signal Point looking to Mt Gower and Mt Lidgbird over the lagoon
A panoramic of the Lagoon. Click on the photo for a larger version
The clarity of the water was amazing.
Mt Gower, which I will be climbing tomorrow!
Looking towards Old Settlement Beach.
Mt Lidgbird and Mt Gower in the distance
Old Settlement Beach
Looking back to Mt Lidgbird and Mt Gower from Old Settlement Beach
Old Settlement Beach
Lagoon Beach
Not a bad view down the main street of Neds Beach Road
Lord Howe Island Post Office
It also allowed me to scope out a location to setup the tripod and try and capture a sunset later in the afternoon.  I ended up setting up on Signal Point looking out over the lagoon towards Mount Gower, but unfortunately didn't get enough frames or let it go as long as it should.  It only covers about 50min of the sunset.  However it was a great chance to just sit back and have a cold beverage watching the sun go down.

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