AARON AND LISA’S TOP 5 DIVE SITES
No one knows Lord Howe from beneath the surface like Aaron and Lisa Ralph, who run Pro Dive and live on the island with their two beautiful little daughters. Here’s their pick of the best dive sites on offer.
1. Balls Pyramid
The crowning jewel of diving Lord Howe Island, this isolated sea stack boasts some of the best drift diving on offer. Forests of black coral hang from the walls, boulders and caves, often obscured from view by shoals of pelagic and reef fishes, many of which are endemic to the area.
2. North Rock
North rock impresses even the most seasoned dive veteran. Situated to the north of Lord Howe Island in the Admiralty Island group, it welcomes divers with an array of soft strawberry corals and sponges as well as large black cod and yellowtail kingfish. Following a number of deep crevices, divers are able to make their way up a 22 shelf and across to the rock itself for the safety stop.
Aaron steers his custom-made, survey-spec rigid inflatable dive boat through the lagoon. Picture credit: Emma Ryan
Dive Sugarloaf on a dropping tide and you literally bounce off the fish as you enter the water. Also located in the Admiralty Island group, the current splits around Sugarloaf on both incoming and dropping tides. This water movement attracts lots of fish, however it is the filter feeders that are my personal highlight; corals host feather stars and basket stars, which exist in a symbiotic dance with the tide.
A real crowd pleaser, Malabar's four kaleidoscopically-coloured fingers of reef are surrounded by pristine white sand, which create a wonderful contrast. Home to green and hawksbill sea turtles, Malabar also boasts a series of caverns and swim-throughs.
5. Horgan’s Hook
This is a dive that Pro Dive is particularly proud of as it was only recently discovered on an exploratory dive. Situated at the inside of the most northern passage of the Relict Reef, the hook hangs out into the current at 25m and houses huge black coral, Faulkner’s coral and an array of fish and invertebrates, including schooling Galapagos whaler sharks.
MORE OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
- Jagged volcanic mountains stand guard over pristine barrier reef at Lord Howe Island