Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving â€“ Lord Howe Island â€“ Five Star
The south-western side of LHI contains the lagoon and the barrier reef which runs from the northern end of the island to the southern end. The lagoon has a few entrances, at least two at the southern end and one at the northern end. The western side of the island is suitable to be dived in easterly, northerly and north-easterly winds when here will be fairly protected.
Five Star is located south-west of the southern most entrance which is called Man of War Passage. Its actual location is GPS 31Â°34'09.383"S 159Â°03'12.924"E using WGS84 as the datum. The site is about two kilometres south-west of Man of War Passage and about 1.5 kilometres from the barrier reef.
|The reef at Five Star||A Galapagos shark|
This site is a deeper one, with the actual site coming up from a sandy bottom of about 40 metres. It is a circular reef made from coral. The reef slopes up from 40 metres to about 30 or so and then is, at least on the northern side, like a crater with the lip higher than some of the main reef. The lip is about 28 metres and the shallowest part of the reef (to the south) is about 26 metres.
The dive operator does not anchor here due to possible currents (I had virtually none). Instead, they throw a small anchor over with a float attached. You are dropped near here and then descend to the bottom. The anchor was put over the flatter section of the reef on the slope to the bottom. I have no idea why, personally I would put it nearer to the shallowest section.
Once you are on the way down you should almost immediately see not only the bottom, but the whole reef which is perhaps 80 by 80 metres in size. On the bottom you will see that the coral here is extremely varied and possibly the healthiest you will see anywhere. On my dive I went to the lip and watched as perhaps a dozen Galapagos sharks swam back and forward over the slope. There were also some whaler sharks. Fantastic!
|A clownfish in an anemone||A eel|
I gradually made my way towards the shallowest part of the reef, but then dropped over the side again a little deeper to 30 metres so I could get some better photographs of the sharks. Eventually I move back shallower again. The whole reef here is covered in hard corals as well as hundreds of anemones. There are also lots of anemonefish (clownfish) in them. Some of the anemones also have glass shrimp in them.
The last part of the dive is spent near the â€śsummitâ€ť and looking at the tropical fish, anemones and some eels that I have found. I end up starting my ascent just under 20 minutes, with one computer now in very slight deco and the other just outside.
|Glass shrimp in an anemone||Blue spot butterflyfish|
I hang off the descent line doing my deco and safety stop. While doing this, a few whaler sharks come close, circling about five metres below us.
On my dive in May, I had 21.7Â°C water and at least 35 metres visibility. A pretty interesting dive site.