Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Diving in the lagoon

At Arajilla restaurant. We booked tonight's meal after we couldn't get in for New Years. It seems to be the most expensive and exclusive place on the island. The restaurant seems to be associated strongly with the hotel. That is, the hotel guests get first preference for tables and others come second. Arajilla also seems to have some health spa/massage for guests.Today I went diving with Howea Divers. Unfortuneately the sea was too strong to go outside the reef and I was stuck on two boatloads of beginners. We went to Comet's Hole and I was buddied with a Howea diver called Rachel. She seemed to get all the photo shots first but the water was full of sediment so there weren't any really good pictures to be had. LHI waters, although claimed to be clear, have really been a bit mucky during our stay.The next dive was at Hooks Peef, also known as the Horseshoe.Uschi and I visited both these sites on our snorkelling tour. Rachel had to go and on the second load there was only one leader.A young boy and his father made up the rest of the group and it took a while for them to get down. I waited under the boat for them. After they did their exercises we spent about 15 minutes on the reef then they retired to the boat, leaving me alone in about 2-3m of water. I spent maybe another 20 minutes there and saw a few good fish. Large Parrot Fish, smaller Puffers and Lizard fish on the sand. Then when my air was down to about 70 bar I went back to the boat. I was last one on board. After I got back I found Uschi had been to Sylph's Hole at the high tide and seen 4 (!) turtles. Three smaller ones and a large individual. By this time it was mid afternoon and Uschi and Christl had a snooze. I went up to the museum to see if I could use the internet, but the museum was shut. I went back to the guest house then on to the cemetery near Ned's Beach. I found the grave of Thompson (the first school teacher) and his student wife, buried in the same grave.
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Monday, January 04, 2010

Mt Eliza

4/1/10Today we climbed Mt Eliza, leaving from the Old Settlement Beach. There was the first ridge to climb, then down to the picnic area near North Beach. We had visited this picnic area on our earlier Turtle Tour, much easier to get to by boat. From the Picnic area we climbed the Actual Mt Eliza till we got to a sign saying no further access (about ¾ of the way up) due to breeding time. We spent more than an hour watching the birds and trying to take pictures. Then we headed back. The return, with rests, took 65 minutes. In total we did three climbs of about 140m and three descents of the same and a total track distance about 4.2km. Later in the Afternoon we went to the “Birds of a Different Feather” talk by Phillipps. We talked about aviation things and he said that the Catalina Chronicle by David Vincent is in great demand and would be very valuable to a collector. I have a signed copy of that book.For tea we went to the Milky Way Cafe. Chris could only manage a salad as she hadn't been taking her medicine. She wasn't too happy about that. I had fish and chips, Uschi had a cold platter; prawns, oysters, fish salad etc. We sat outside on the bench tables under umbrellas. Another couple was there who were from Port Lincoln. They didn't know Yonk, even so it is a small world. The lady was born and bought up in Marino.
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Saturday, January 02, 2010

Arches and Jetty

Today I got up early, about 06:30, and went to take some photos of the jetty. At 11:30 Uschi and I went to the “Arches” for a dive. Uschi had already done a refresher and was happy with her performance but she still had mask trouble and a bit of an ear plablem.
Uschi and all the others (except one older lady) surfaced early, an American chap who was on Uschis refresher course was sea sick. The older lady and I stayed down for a little longer and actually got some of the more interesting photos just near the anchor.
When Uschi was doing her refresher course on Thursday, I did some snorkelling around the jetty. I found two writhing groups of catfish. The 2 groups had individuals of comparable sizes but each group was different. One group was made of larger individuals (more mature?) while the other group was smaller individuals. The writhing of the groups was a little creepy. The area under the jetty was pretty bare, although I did see a large sea star. A charter boat came in and I worked my way north from the jetty to the boat ramp. The water was only 300-600mm deep. I saw anothyer Sea Hare. The lagoon bottom in this area is somewhat bare sand, interspersed with patches of grass and coral. There is some marine life but it isn't hugely diverse like the outer reef or Ned's. After getting out at the boatrampI cycled up to Settlement Beach and walked across the mud to Sylph's Hole. It was very low tide. Visibility at Sylph's Hole was very poor, only about 5m or so and the general area of Sylphs has a lot of broken coral. I saw one turtle. I also saw two quite large Lionfish (4-500mm long) but they were in a coral cave/overhang which was difficult to get close into to take a photo.
On my way out again I saw a smaller black lionfish which seemed a bit terrotorial as it sat above a coral bommy.
Tonight we are having tea at the local Chinese restaurant, the “Garden Court” at the Lorhiti Guest House. I had chicken with vermicelli noodles which had a faint ginger tang. Uschi had garlic prawns whilst Christine had sweet and sour pork. This was the restaurant we went to for new years eve banquet (at $70 a head). Prices are quite high on the island, unsurprisingly.The New Year's banquet was mostly fish as most restaurants seem to serve. I tried the beer battered fish, which was OK. In fact it seemed a sweet batter to me with maybe some cinnamon in it. Uschi had about a dozen prawns and was very happy(!). The roast potatoes and potato salads were really excellent. There was also a variety of fruits, cheese and cake which I didn't sample as I was too full.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Transit Hill and Lagoon Kayaking

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Uschi and I got away to a late walking start at abot 11:00.
In the mild heat we headed up to Transit Hill. A comparatively small climb of 130m. It only took us about ½ hour to get up there even though we are both finding the going quite tough due to our fitness levels.
At the top of Transit Hill is a smallish observation platform with a radio mast. We took some photos from there and stayed about another half hour. After that we headed back, checked Christine was OK and then spent 3 hours kayaking on the lagoon. We first went to Blackburn Island where we beached the kayak. The tide was very low and we snorkelled around to the south west of the island. Maybe half way to Comet's Hole. The fish life here was quite good and some plate corals were every bit as good as the ones the snorkel tour had taken us to.
We could have spent more time there but I wanted to get to Sylph's Hole for Uschi. So we headed over paddling quite hard. After about half an hour we were only ¾ of the way there but had to slow down due to the exposed coral from the low tide. We couldn't get to Sylph's in time to do any snorkelling there so we headed back to the hire shop. We took the long way back, around the Far Rocks. In total we must have covered 3-4km paddling.
I then cooked susages, onions and spuds for tea in the electric frying pan at the guest house.