Lighthouses, leopard sharks and lizards

Dive day today, but first I wanted to make a trip to the Byron Lighthouse and the most Easterly point of the Australian mainland. It’s roughly a two-hour trek if you stop to take pictures and go off down all the little trails to the viewing platforms – well worth the effort.

Just past the lighthouse (opened in 1901, part of a “string” of lighthouses across NSW and housing the most powerful light in Oz) I looked down into the clear blue sea and watched a pod of around ten dolphins play in the surf. Unreal.

At the hostel I had time to get lunch and changed before going to the dive shop. I’d heard good things about the Julian Rocks Marine Reserve and it didn’t disappoint. The boat ride out (on a twin engine dingy) was rough but exciting and the sea was amazingly clear once we were down – visibility topping 25m. I was buddied with a girl from Californis called Julia, the dive guide was called Julian (I think from France) and we were at the Julian Rocks. Go figure.

Highlight of the dive was getting stupidly close to sharks – leopard sharks. Unlike their namesake (with which they do share a similar skin pattern), these creatures really aren’t interested in eating people so it’s safe to swim by them as they snooze on the seabed. We also saw a turtle roughly 1.5m from top to toe as well as the usual variety of colourful and not-so-colourful fishies.

As we showered off on the shore, someone spotted a Goana (excuse my spelling – I’ve not looked it up), a large lizard. Snout to tail I’d put it at around 1.5m and it didn’t look happy. This could have been due to the bush turkey which was following it around and pecking at its tail. Still, I got close enough to it to get some good snaps.

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