Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving â€“ Lord Howe Island â€“ Shearwater Island
Most of the diving at Lord Howe Island is done on the the south-western side where the lagoon and the barrier reef are the main features. This is protected from easterly, northerly and north-easterly winds. However, when the wind is from the south, the only dive sites are at the Admiralty Islands which are located off the northern end of the island.
In southerly winds the main entrance to the lagoon can be a bit bumpy, especially on a runout tide. The run around to the north side can also be a bit rough, but once you get to the north side of the island, it will be calm. There is one large island here, five or six smaller islands and a number of rocks. As can be imagined, there are numerous dive sites in this area.
One of the islands is called Shearwater Island. This small island is to the south of the largest of the Admiralty Islands, Sugarloaf Island. Its actual location is GPS 31Â°30'11.783"S 159Â°04'00.167"E using WGS84 as the datum. The site is located off the north-western corner of Shearwater Island.
|Luculentus wrasse, normally found on south-eastern Australian coast||Black back butterflyfish|
|Hump head wrasse||More gorgonias here|
Shearwater Island is about 100 metres east to west and 150 metres north to south. The dive site is along the western and southern side of the island. The site consists of a rocky reef that drops from the island to the sand at about 16 metres. The reef is fairly wide in spots as it consists of a series of rocky fingers that jut out from the island. We actually anchored on a small reef about 25 metres off the main reef.
Due to the brilliant visibility here (at least 40 metres), it was very easy to see the main reef. This is one of the most interesting dive sites at LHI and like nearby Noddy Island, all the rocks are covered in hard coral and as good as many on the Great Barrier Reef. This site also has lots of very nice gorgonias all over the place.
|A moray eel||Almaco jack|
Once head west and swim in and around the boulders. The visibility is amazing, at least 40 metres, brilliant. Once on the main reef you can explore to the south-east a bit. There are many more gorgonias in the gutters created by the finger reefs. We see eels, lots of trevally, some firefish, a few nudibranchs and a flat worm. There are also all the normal tropical species like butterflyfish.
We head back to the north before returning to the isolated reef we are anchored on for the last part of the dive. I did just over 50 minutes on the bottom before ascending to the safety stop. The depth varied from 16 metres on the sand to 10 metres on the main reef.
|Large Spanish dsncer||Anemonefish in anemone|
On my dive in May, I had 21.8Â°C water and at least 40 metres visibility. One of the best dives I have done and certainly one of the top couple I did at LHI.