Living on Lord Howe Island

Jan
01

The Pot Holes

Posted by Pinetrees Lodge – Monday, January 01, 2018



Contributed by Denis Corcoran: A plunge from the boat into the open ocean snaps me into a heightened sense of the present. ‘Ok…. I feel you sea… I am with you waves… I am above you…… shark!!’

It’s all good. It’s only a curious and (so far) harmless Galapagos shark, but it jolts my passive heart into action and my tepid eyes into focus. I’m out relatively deep on high tide in what is one of the best kept secrets and notoriously difficult places to get to on Lord Howe Island, the Pot Holes.

I’m lucky. I’ve managed to land a ride on a boat, the conditions are favourable with the wind in the east, the currents are minimal and the swell is at its lowest in weeks. The only other time you’ll get the opportunity to swim in the Pot Holes is at the lowest of low tides - perhaps a couple of times a year when you can walk out from the shore.

The Pot Holes are found on the southern end of Lord Howe Island. They are a series of 50m long trenches running perpendicular to the reef, carved out over the years by the force of breaking waves and surging tides. The area is littered with 4m deep holes and like many geographical features on Lord Howe Island - Windy Point, Intermediate Hill - they are named adeptly, the Pot Holes.

This entire area of the reef is like an extension of the top of Mt Gower, only this time you’re underwater. The moss is green and fuzzy, the ledges have sharp edges, and there are rock formations that make you shout ‘wow’ in your snorkel (not recommended). There is life in multiple forms and the entire place seems like an ecosystem within an ecosystem within an ecosystem.

It’s a special place - as I’m bobbing about in the water, looking back up at the monstrous cliff faces of Lidgbird and Gower, it’s hard not to smile. Is there any better backdrop to a remote snorkel site?
On one side, the rolling blue ocean stretches out to the horizon, while on the other, the two almost imaginary green mountains tower out of the ocean. And here I am, stuck in the middle.

We swim from aqua blue pocket to lime green pocket. Cream coloured sandy holes are broken apart by deep underwater ridges that stretch out like slender sandy fingers. I’m in awe of the sheer diversity of the powerful colours, textures and living organisms beneath me. I’m in an underwater garden, one of the southern-most coral reef gardens in the world to be exact. And my goggles can’t get enough.

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About Dani Rourke

HELP! I have 2 children, 25 staff and up to 75 guests. I was a lawyer for 10 years, but escaped. My husband and I moved from Sydney to beautiful Lord Howe Island to run Pinetrees Lodge, which has been in my family for 6 generations. I'm writing about family business, island life and the whole work/family disaster. Did someone say balance? When I'm not writing, my lovely staff do it for me - they see more of the island than I do.

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