Swimming with a turtle

I only have one regret about today.

We started the day by picking up our bikes from the local hire store. Because there are hardly any cars on the Island, people ride all over the place. The low ridge that forms the back of the centre of the island means you’re always riding up or down a small hill, but that just seems to add to the fun. There are bike racks all over the place and no one locks their bike or takes any security measures. All-in-all it’s a cycling paradise.

Next stop was morning tea, some freshly baked bread from one of the local restaurants. There doesn’t seem to be much that is fresh on the island which made the bread especially tasty.

Fortified, we set off on a glass-bottomed boat for a snorkeling trip. There are hills on the North and South tips of Lord Howe. The lower part of the Island in the middle is a crescent edged by beaches and the Western concave of the crescent is filled with a shallow coral lagoon.

The waters are pale, tropical blue thanks the the white-sand bottom. A number of rocky islets break the otherwise flat waters which the outer reef keep nicely calm. It only takes a few minutes motoring until you moor over lovely coral gardens. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a variety of fish in one place and even the coral was amongst the best we’ve seen.
It was lucky we were in a glass-bottomed boat because Declan lost the plot and refused to snorkel. He claims he doesn’t know why he’s worried, but I think it might well be the sharks. We saw a couple of species of sharks, mostly small ones but also a few fairly large ones. Callum in contrast was on a constant bubbling, excited high and proved conclusively that he can talk underwater.

My personal highlight was swimming with a turtle. I’ve seen them before on the Barrier Reef but never this close, so it was a real thrill. I thought Callum would pop with excitement.

And my sole regret about the day? We forgot to take a camera with us.

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