Cleo the Cow. Local colour.

We felt very virtuous after our pre-breakfast explorations of the Herring Pools. Later in the afternoon Small DB, M and I anchored Foamy just off the beach near the museum, and wandered together up a track that lead from near the bottle shop up through the bush until we reached a road that we had been told to walk down…

We walked until, on our left, was a beautiful old house. I mean OLD. It looked like one of the original homes on the island… Obviously I coveted it and wanted to move in immediately. Sigh Almost opposite on the other side of the road we saw a couple of kids, and three beautiful cows. Two Jerseys and one Not-Jersey (please excuse lack of cow knowing)…

One of the kids was nine-year-old Millie, who lives nearby and is allowed to milk Cleo the Cow twice a day, before and after school (have I mentioned that kids don’t have to wear shoes to school on Lord Howe Island?) – she let both Small DB and I have a try and milking Cleo. I thought I’d be a hero-milker. With so many years of breastfeeding behind me, it was going to be a cinch.

Lord Howe Island.
Me. The milking hero!!

I did better than Small DB, and was feeling mildly heroic until Millie took my place on the milking stool. She ran her hands up and down the teats, and LITRES OF MILK emerged from the gorgeous Cleo. Seriously – she got more out of that cow in half a minute than I’d done in five.

Lord Howe Island.
Cleo the Cow.

The following day we returned with the addition of Small Z, but we had missed Cleo’s milking. We brought a bottle with us to see if we could have a little bit of milk… Oh. My. God. Fresh jersey milk is the BOMB! Particularly after you’ve been surviving on UHT junk for just about ever. Get me a mini jersey cow I can keep in the dinghy!! It was fabulous – I hoarded it just for cups of tea…

Lord Howe Island.
Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.

Meanwhile, as all the kids ran about, I got chatting to an older guy called Paul, who had amazing hair and (I think) was originally Greek. Guess what!? He owned the house over the road and offered to let me look inside and meet his dog. Huzzah!!

Holy crap – the house is just beautiful. He inherited it from his partner who died a few years ago – he told me it’s at least 100 years old and was brought to the island from overseas and reassembled. Such high ceiling. Such amazing hardwood beams. I was in love. The leadlight windows and the wide verandah. I’ve been trying to find out more about it, but have not yet turned up any information…

It began to rain. RAIN. The Smalls and I ended up back at the home of Millie The Super Milker – where they played a game of dog-bingo and visited their chickens. I was given a cup of tea by her lovely mother, who was as curious about life afloat as I was about life-on-island. After an hour of chatting we were delivered back to the jetty so we could head back to Bella Luna. It was a wonderful day.


We had reached our last 24 hours on Lord Howe Island. M and I decided to pull our fingers out and get into the water.

Lord Howe Island.
Me. My paddleboard, and underwater broccoli.
Lord Howe Island.
M’s first time on a paddleboard. 

We did a little bit of paddleboarding around North Bay – which has the added attraction of a shipwreck to have a look at…

Lord Howe Island.
Shipwreck.
Lord Howe Island.
View inland from the middle of North Bay. 

Compared to Vanuatu the water is so bloody cold that if it hadn’t been so beautiful we might’ve given it a miss. It was too cold for the Smalls, which was a reason for celebration, because it meant was that M and I could take off in Foamy and take our time underwater, not having to stop every few minutes for complaints of fogged up masks, coldness, and ‘she kicked me’. Snorkelling in New Caledonia and Vanuatu was great, but this was generally stupendous. Sadly I don’t have an underwater camera, so I can’t blow you away with how extraordinary it was around the area called ‘Comets Hole’.

Here is just a little chunk of information about where we were and why we saw what we saw…

The marine environment is internationally significant and features the world’s southern-most coral reef. The waters – a unique mix of warm tropical and cool temperate ocean currents – are home to over 500 fish species, more than 90 coral species and countless other marine species, many only found in the immediate area.

NSW – Department of Primary Industries

Later than day we hustled ashore to beat (another) rainstorm and the Smalls participated in an after-school art class along with some of the other kids they had met while milking Cleo the Cow.

Lord Howe Island.
Making art wtih the local kids. 

We left behind our contact details and said goodbyes to the awesome people that we’d met. I wasn’t keen to leave, but a combination of the weather forecast, and a multitude of imminent boat arrivals gave us the push.

The goodbye part of cruising life. Said it before. Sucks.

That night, back on the boat and readying things for the morning, there was a knock on the starboard hull. One of our neighbours in a flashy powerboat gave us at least a kilogram of the wahoo they’d caught out near Balls Pyramid (a place we’re saving for next time).

That enlivened us considerably. Thank you, powerboat people 🙂

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