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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Ball's Pyramid

AUSTRALIA | Wednesday, 21 September 2016 | Views [447]

My birthday has passed, yet today I’d receive another wish for my time on Lord Howe. As I made my coffee I offered to help Darcelle clean the house a bit but she said “I want you to enjoy Lord Howe” so I thought I’d get my stuff ready and go out. Beforehand I asked if she knew who I could speak to about going out to Ball’s Pyramid, she said “oh, let me make a call for you” and it turned out a trip was going out there today! When she asked if I was interested I yelled out “YES!” excitedly. I wouldn’t be going out there until early afternoon so I thought I’d go for a walk and do some geocaching. I’ve been here a week and I’ve done a lot of hiking but very little snorkelling so I really should do more. The day was grey and cool, but not windy. I walked toward a clearing called Clear Place with a view of Ball’s Pyramid. Even more spectacular is a giant banyan tree at the beginning of the trail.

The branches of a banyan grown out and then down, forming columns; some banyans have a dozen columns or more. Whilst I had to gather some numbers for this geocache I found it in a fairly obvious spot at the base of a banyan. As I sat gazing at Ball’s Pyramid, an older couple was shooting photos of birds. When I said that I don’t have great luck with wildlife photos the bloke said “I have many photos of branches that birds used to be on.” Today there was practically no sun, which was disappointing. After a nice walk and a found geocache, I called in at the Lord Howe Island Museum for a brief look. At the museum is the best opportunity to see a Lord Howe Island stick insect. It was believed to be extinct in 1920 but was rediscovered on Ball’s Pyramid in 2001. Due to its appearance it’s sometimes called the “tree lobster.” I could have gone back to the house and made some sandwiches to bring with me but I thought I’d get fish & chips for lunch instead. Off to the boat I was, going to a place that very few visitors to Lord Howe get to see. As we pulled away from the shore we sailed around the island, allowing us to see areas inaccessible by foot. As a volcanic island, I like the vivid red here.

From there it was a nearly 45-minute ride to Ball’s Pyramid. Soft drinks were passed around but there was no ginger beer; that would have been perfect for a boat trip. The waves were a bit rough and I started getting seasick. Named after Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball (Ball Bay on Norfolk Island is also named after him), Ball’s Pyramid is the world’s tallest volcanic stack at 562 metres (1,844 feet).

Landings aren’t possible but specialized trips allow diving and climbing. I was hoping we would stop at some point but the sea was too rough, and I felt like I was going to puke. Toward the back of the boat I went but the secret was soaking up the breeze, and I felt better within minutes. There’s an EarthCache at Ball’s Pyramid and it requires an in-person visit with a photo. I handed one passenger my camera but he hadn’t a clue how to use it, but fortunately someone else got a proper photo. It happens very often where I ask people to take a photo of me and then don’t understand how to use a camera, and then they don’t take the photo at all. Numerous moments calling for photos have been messed up in that regard, and I don’t understand how so few people know how to use a camera properly. I think people nowadays are too used to taking photos with their phones rather than with a proper camera. Dolphins were leaping out of the sea behind us as we approached the island again. It was like sailing in the Hauraki Gulf years ago when dolphins were jumping around outside our boat. In the end I didn’t get seasick but I’d regret not bringing a jumper and the grey skies didn’t allow for fantastic photos. Tonight I was invited for tea at Willow & Nobbs’ home. Darcelle mentioned Willow used arrowroot instead of baking powder in my cake yesterday, and that’s why it was flat. However, I’ve yet to complain about anything. What a fantastic week this has been on Lord Howe. I’d make another pot of vegetable tomato soup to bring along, and Willow made quiche with silverbeet and carrot. Nobbs said grace and we tucked into tea. Willow’s quiche is excellent; I had several slices! The true highlight of travel is the people; it’s who you meet that makes travel special. I find myself so often returning to places due to who I meet. The many nice people I’ve met on Norfolk, and not just the beauty, make me return. Willow and I chatted over a coffee after eating. My first visit to Lord Howe has been very different to my first to Norfolk. When I arrived last week I wasn’t suddenly given “rock star” status to go with being invited to speak at schools and on radio. This time round I’ve been humble; instead of a slam dunk it’s been a 15-foot bank shot. One thing I’m being known for is my cooking. Wes & Deb really enjoyed my pizza, and Willow and Darcelle both really like my soup. I’ve also received great compliments on my sweet potato casserole, but I still haven’t made my zucchini bread. I only have three more days on Lord Howe and I’ll be very sad when I leave. Tomorrow I’m determined to do a bit of snorkelling and perhaps a kayaking trip to Rabbit Island. I’ve done a lot of walks but almost no swims. These past three days have kept me very busy, but I have loads more to do.

Lord Howe Island, I deeply love you. And I shall continue to do so with deep and utter passion!

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