I’ve been stuck on Lord Howe Island for three extra days so far. On Wednesday morning our flight home was cancelled because of a storm that thrashed the island. Qantas cancelled every flight since because of prevailing winds. It’s now 1am on Saturday and it’s howling outside. My 13 day trip has now been essentially extended to 16 so I can’t really complain, but the sound of palm trees thrashing is making me a little nervous so I can’t sleep. The buildings here are built to withstand the Pacific tropical storms which is comforting.

There’s no mobile phone network on the island and internet is expensive so it can be difficult to figure out what’s going on with a flight reschedule. Luckily for us the friendly people at Somerset apartments have kept us updated every morning about the weather and flight situation. Qantas only pays for the first night of re-accommodation, so depending on your travel insurance situation you might have to pay if it gets delayed another day. Thankfully Somerset covered it for us. No planes leaving the island also means they’re not coming in, so I imagine the storm is preventing tourists from coming to the island too. I think that means the running costs for the apartment must balance out.   

Instead of being down about not getting back home to Sydney I’ve been trying to make the most of it by exploring more of the island. I went out for a run to Malabar Lookout which was fun, partly because of all the big branches that got knocked onto the path – a bit of an obstacle course at times! The track goes along Old Settlement Beach where I got hit with a lot of sand from the strong winds. By the afternoon I was up the hills exploring Kim’s Lookout and Malabar, my favourite part of Lord Howe. The view at Malabar overlooks the whole island and is framed by coral reef and ocean on either side. I’ve written about it in my Guide to Hiking on Lord Howe Island. The storms turned out to be a blessing in disguise – I came across a few rainbows! They only lasted a few minutes but I managed to get a few shots.

On the second day of delays I went beachcombing along Lagoon beach. The wind was coming in across the coral reef so I thought there might be some cool things to find. I didn’t find many shells but there were a lot of blue bottles and cuttlefish bones around.     

It amazes me how the ecosystem here survives the storms of the Pacific. Along Lagoon Road the palm fronds were being whipped around. Their bendy segmented structures have evolved well for these conditions. I’m not too sure how the birds cope though – I didn’t find as many today so they might be sheltering from the wind.

It might not be a totally ‘castaway’ experience but that’s how I like to look at it. It’s a few extra days of holiday in paradise – albeit with a bunch of storms. I was talking to some locals and unsurprisingly they’re used to this stuff. When strong winds from winter weather systems hit they can stick around for days at a time. It’s something you have to take into account when considering Lord Howe Island. Summer has better conditions all round but is more expensive whilst winter is cheaper but possibly more dramatic (rainbows!). Either way – this place is incredible and I don’t mind being stuck here. I’ve only had to use my raincoat once in two weeks!

Anyways, I’ll leave you with a few more photos I took while stranded. Click any image to make it big! They might not look as windy as it felt in person but trust me between the sand and salt being flung around my skin got a good exfoliation! I’m going to try get some sleep before the flight tomorrow…   

… though I don’t mind if I’m stranded another day!