Australia's Far North!

17th June 2008

After a really great sail up behind the Great Barrier Reef we have made it safe and sound around the most Northern tip of Australia, Cape York. We've been moving everyday getting up just before sunrise and sailing with over 30 knots of wind but flat calm seas due to the protection of the reef. It's a sailors dream which has allowed us to make day hops of over 60nm! That may not sound too impressive to you land dwellers who can get that far in your car in less than an hour but to us moving on average at 5 nautical miles an hour it's fantastic.
One of my favourite stops so far has to be the bush town of 'Cooktown', this is where Captain Cook took his ship after hitting the Endevour reef to make repairs and thus became Australia's first official european settlement. Cooktown is way up in far north queensland surrounded by rainforest and very isolated from the rest of the country. The Endevour River where we anchored is supposedly infested with Crocodiles and they've even been seen walking down the mainstreet not so long before we arrived. Jimmy had a great idea that we should go for a cruise up the river in the dinghy to see if we could spot one......male logic! Luckily we had no such luck as i'm pretty sure they find you and only when they fancy a snack.

Here we got a great feel for Aussie bush life with a constant influx of four wheel drive vehicles coming into town to stock up. Australians don't do camping half heartedly, not only do they take their huge aluminium boats with them but just about anything you could possibly think of gets stacked and packed on top of and behind their trucks. They spend months in the outback and here 4x4's are used in the way their meant to not just to drive the kids to school but go 'Off Road' and quite literally 'under water' we know what the snorkel is for! The great thing is the people have been really friendly and after a drink at the RSL club we now know the history of the whole area.

From Cooktown we made a day sail to Lizard island another favourite spot with cruiser Pot luck dinners everynight and most importantly crystal clear water for swimming and snorkelling. We jumped overboard to scrape all the funky growth off the hull thats grown in all the rivers only to find ourselves covered in millions of tiny shrimp that managed to find every spot on our bodies. Jimmy was sure he could feel them wriggling in his ears a week later!!The water was still a little cold for my liking so I'm looking forward to getting back closer to the equator again. The hikes were fantastic here and a short walk over to the Blue Lagoon to watch the Kite surfer competitions made a nice break from work on the boat. We found out the cheapest room at the resort here is $1,2oo a night so we're all pretty happy that we had the best view on the island and it cost us nothing!!

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