Shipwrecks and survivors

We’ve watched Survivor for long enough to know that idyllic tropical isles loose some of their shine when the weather turns. So when we awoke to a squally, showery day we knew what to expect and abandoned our plans to go kayaking.

We visited the Island’s little Museum in the morning and learnt a few things about Lord Howe Island – including the fact that no one had asked the information desk who Mount Gower was named after before. For the record Gower was ‘First Captain’ to Lord Howe’s First Lord of the Admiralty when Lieutenant Ball first stumbled across the Island.

There was a lot of fascinating information on the various ship and plane wrecks that give evidence that the Pacific can get vicious when aroused. We also found out that a man from the Island was Boatswain on the Titanic when it went down. He did not survive.

In the afternoon we rode down to Settlement Beach, saw the wreck of a Catalina from 1948 and then made our slow way up to Kim’s Lookout. It’s a pleasant walk up, on a well-made path but our legs are still suffering significantly from Monday’s Mount Gower expedition.
Kim’s Lookout provides a great view both North over the Island to Mount Gower and South out to Sea. Even the relatively mild winds today were lashing the waves onto the cliffs and driving them over the reef.  It was easy to see how a boat could be wrecked on the Island. Especially as all the wrecks involved boats that were either moored off the Island or on their way here; you’d have to be an especially unlucky mariner to accidentally bump into this speck of land in the middle of the ocean.

Sadly what does bump into Lord Howe is a distressing amount of plastic flotsam and jetsam – ground up into small bits – which the birds can’t distinguish from food. The Museum has an excellent display on the damage being done to local wildlife failing to survive the onslaught of indigestible plastic.

Finally we’ve returned to our holiday house safe from the elements. And we’ve been sitting contemplating something else we discovered in the Museum. The four by six meter thatched hut, that accommodated the three families who first settled the Island, was considered ‘palatial’ at the time. Certainly it looked quite safe from the elements, much better than we’ve ever seen a team build on Survivor.

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