Into the Tasman.

DAY 05

Sitting on deck, I look out at the moving horizon. Every single rise or abnormal cloud formation could fool you as a landmass - an island, an anchorage. I wonder how many ships sailed past Lord Howe before it was discovered. I assume mariners would have come close to the Islands enormous peaks often, dismissing them as just another trick of the ocean.

Before day break we're on deck hauling the anchor in - metre by metre of heavy chain. The windlass had died on us the previous day; we were all thoroughly awake by the time we left our anchorage on the island. As we crest the southern tip of the island we marvel at the spectacular verticality of the island. Jungle covered cliffs plunge hundreds of metres down to sea below. I can see why Sir. David Attenborough remarked that this place is "so extraordinary it is almost unbelievable".

As we depart the protection of the island we feel the swell grow beneath us. The Nanook marches up the sets and sits atop their crests, we are in the Tasman Sea now - we sense its force all around us . My eyes return to the horizon. Out from the sea-sky divide a spire stands - this is no cloud.

Balls Pyramid seems like a figment. Something I would have drawn in the margins of my middle school notebooks. The 552 metre sea monolith is situated 17 nautical miles from Lord Howe. As we sail closer the sheer size of its walls become ever more striking, basalt and tufts of grass soaring into the sky. A swirl of sea birds float way above the pyramids tip, sending noise to us below.

We press on, further south-east. No one says it but we all know this will be the last land we see until New Zealand - 700 nautical miles away.

Late in the afternoon we catch an enormous yellow-fin tuna. Jordan and I spend a couple hours filleting it - we shouldn't need fish for quite sometime!  As we enjoy fresh tuna steaks for dinner the wind steadily builds around us - mile after mile of the Tasman rushes by.