Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving â€“ Lord Howe Island â€“ South East Corner Balls Pyramid
Virtually all of the diving at Lord Howe Island is done on the southern and northern sides of the island. However, if the conditions are good, that is, winds under 10 knots and less than two metres swell, the option opens to dive Balls Pyramid. This is located about 25 kilometres to the south-east of the southern end of the island. It is another nine or so kilometres from the dive shop to the southern end. It takes about 45 minutes to run down to Balls in good conditions.
Balls Pyramid is a huge rock that rises to over 500 metres high with mostly shear walls. Off the western end there are a series of large rocks. There are apparently many dive sites around Balls, with the best ones appearing to be near these rocks.
|Balls Pyramid. South East Corner is the red marker.|
|Balls Pyramid panoramic photograph - Lord Howe Island on right|
In May 2022 when I went there we were lucky enough to get to Balls Pyramid with no wind and only about 1.5 metres of swell from the south. Our second dive here was at a spot that I never actually got the correct name for, but which we ended up calling South East Corner as it is off the south-eastern corner of Balls Pyramid. Its actual location is GPS 31Â°45'23.533"S 159Â°15'21.935"E using WGS84 as the datum.
|One of the overhangs||A Galapagos shark|
Once again, to do the dive, an anchor with a buoy was dropped near the bommie and we dropped from the live boat and swam to the buoy and descended down this. The anchor was in 15 metres and the maximum depth around here is about 20 metres. The bottom consists of a flat rocky bottom with some sand sections. There are also a few medium sized boulders which create small bommies and some overhangs and swim-throughs.
There was a bit of surge here but no current. We explored all over the area. The rocks on the bottom are covered with very healthy plate corals. There are also some gutters with large pebbles. Some of the overhangs and swim-throughs made by the boulders were home to lots of crayfish.
|A sea spider||A large lionfish|
I saw a few very small sharks, some Galapagos and I was not sure of the others. I found a very nice sea spider, and a small nudibranch. There were plenty of fish around, including a very nice range of tropicals.
Due to the shallower depth, a bottom time of over 55 minutes was possible, helped by a long surface of over two hours before this dive. Once again we ascended up the dropline and then were collected by the dive boat.
|A Noumea species I think||Phyllidia species|
On my dive in May, I had 21.8Â°C water temperature and at least 30 metres visibility. A quite nice dive site.