Lizard Island 14 39.60S 145 27.01E

Mike and Liz Downing
Tue 6 Aug 2013 08:51
Got up this morning after a good night's sleep to find out exactly where we were. Didn't quite need the binoculars to find land, but it was a long way off at 0.8 miles. The bay to the north of Cape Bedford where we were anchored is very big, but very shallow, so even at high tide we were only in 17ft of water. Coming in at night, and with it being springs, we didn't want to risk going in too far, especially as the cruising guide said there was a sunken trawler in the region. Didn't want to get our anchor stuck in that!  We were the only boat anchored in the bay. There were no signs of life and it felt quite remote.
Today's passage was much shorter, only 36.5 miles, so a later start was possible (almost a lie in!). Lizard Island is well off the mainland and out in the reef, so we're well offshore now. Had good winds from the start today and a good passage up. Had to keep out of the way of 2 ships going in opposite directions, but once they had passed it was straightforward enough. Funny how ships always end up crossing at the narrowest part of the channel, just as we're about to get there too!
We hope the water here will be a lot clearer and we can get some good snorkelling on the surrounding reefs. We've been told that this is the last safe place to swim. None of the anchorages we've stopped at since the start of the Great Barrier Reef just north of Bundaberg looked that inviting for swimming and quite a few had warnings that it wasn't a good idea to swim. Crocodiles exist along the coast from Gladstone onwards, so unless well offshore or on patrolled beaches (lifeguards etc), swimmers would be taking a risk. In fact we haven't actually seen any swimmers. In one of the anchorages We saw one guy dive off the back of his catamaran and thought it must be safe here, but he just swam to the other side of the boat and got out - that was his swim for the day! Lizard Island, being so far off the coast is supposed to be safe. All anchorages from here on are crocodile territory!
Captain Cook arrived at Lizard Island and climbed to the top (it's just over 1,000ft) to look for a route through the reef to open sea. He found one and made it safely through. However, he clearly didn't enjoy this part of Australia as over the last couple of days we've passed Cape Tribulation, Mount Misery and Mount Sorrow!