L.I. Cook's Lookout
Lizard Island - Cook's Lookout
By nine o’clock we were parking Baby Beez next to Little Bamboozle on the beach and walking to the start of the track for the hike (cannot possibly call this one a bimble) up to Cook’s Lookout. Along the shore we walked over old reef that had a very old anchor but shiny chain attached, mysterious.
The sign read: The steep, at times extremely difficult, track to the summit (359 metres) follows the footsteps of Lieutenant James Cook who visited Jiigurru (Lizard Island) in 1770.
The lower section of the track traverses sloping granite slabs with rough-cut steps in places. In Spring, look for the distinctive kapok trees with fluffy seed pods. About half way, you can rest in a grove of shady acacias and eucalypts. Look for, but don’t disturb golden orchids growing on the rock faces.
Toward the summit, the woodland gives way to a steep ascent through grassland and rocks. From the summit you be rewarded with spectacular 360 degree views over the reef. Return along the same track, taking great care. The steep descent, drop-offs and loose surface can be hazardous, especially in wet weather when the track may also be slippery. Rightee-oh then.
Bear sat to put his shoes and socks on, I of course was wearing my trusty 4x4 Croc flip flops (those of the Caldera hike on Isabella in the Galapagos and the volcano on Tanna). Within minutes we were looking down on the day trippers here for breakfast on the beach and a couple of hours snorkelling, and on Beez Neez.
A thoughtfully placed eucalypt provided a good hand hold, a great shape and a nest for someone.
The boats were getting smaller and the view more jigsaw box lid all the time.
A photo opportunity by a rock mound. The ‘we were here shots’. The summit a very long way away.
The first grassy bit.
We saw no golden orchids but these were the plants that caught our eye.
The next grassy bit gave us quite a view.
Then we had to cross a humungous granite slab.
We stood on the slab and watched an plane coming in.
Over the runway and safely on the ground.
The sign read that we are standing on part of the largest barrier reef in the world, extending 2300 kilometres along the Queensland coast. This collection of of many islands, fringing reefs, outer reefs, cays and lagoons is one of the few natural formations that can be seen from the Moon.
Lizard Island was once part of the mainland. Known as the continental island, it was separated from the mainland when sea levels rose at the end of the last Ice Age. Today Lizard Island, like other islands in the Lizard Group, is surrounded by a fringing reef which rises from a depth of about twenty metres. The fringing reef on the eastern side of Lizard Island meets the fringing reefs of Palfrey, South and Seabird Islands, enclosing the waters between them to form Blue Lagoon. Lagoons are not usually associated with continental islands.
Twenty kilometres to the east, the Ribbon Reefs form a broken barrier along the edge of the continental shelf. Beyond the shelf, the sea plunges over two thousand metres into the Coral Sea.
The Great Barrier Reef is protected as a marine park where many different activities are managed. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981 to be protected for all time.
MacGillivray Reef was clear to see from our vantage point.
Next, was the wooded area, at the end we met Jamie and Lucy (Bamboozle) on their way down. After chatting for a while (and them being impressed by my 4x4 flip flops) we set off once more and absolute disaster – my trusty friend on the right had a blow-out. Colour me terribly unhappy. Bear had been carrying my shoes – just in case the boulders had been too much for my trusty's, I hope we hadn’t put the bockers on them.
I promised my dear old friends I would make it to the top, just the steep rocky bit to do then......... The first big rock I sat to get over the whole business, Then at the next sign which read: If you stood here during the last Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago, you would have seen grassy plains and sand dunes stretching from this “mountain”, Jiigurru (meaning initiation place), to Dingall (Cape Flattery) on the mainland. Twenty kilometres behind you to the east, the plain sloped gently into the sea. This was the country of the Dingaal Aboriginal people.
Nine thousand years ago, the sea level began to rise. The coast (and the Dingaal people) retreated to the present day Cape Flattery and the Jiigurru became an island, a distance of about 25 kilometres. They came for food – wild yam, seagull eggs, shellfish, dugong and turtle. They also came for ceremonies, initiations and meetings between Elders of different clan groups.
When Europeans settled the mainland in the 1880’s, the Dingaal were moved to a mission.
Today, the connection between the people and their country is rebuilt. Elders advise on management of this island, Jiigurru, and help visitors understand their cultural places.
A little hard to picture with the airstrip in view...........pretty though, nonetheless.
Val and Richard (Kereru) caught us up at the sign, sympathies for my trusty flip flops.
With small boats constantly ahead, sounding and reporting, the Endeavour crept north along the coast until she once again rounded up to anchorage, this time off Lookout Point on the mainland. Here, Cook went ashore to scan the horizon from the hill (thus the name Lookout Point) and sent a party ahead in a small boat to scout around the Turtle Group. Meanwhile, together with Banks and a crew, he took the Pinnace across to Lizard Island, where they climbed the mountain and “perceived a passage” through the outer reefs. He sent the Pinnace out to investigate, and the party spent the night on the island, where large lizards were noted – hence the name.
Returning to the ship the next day, they stopped at Eagle Island where they saw large eagles, a huge nest and recently eaten turtles. While on Lizard, Cook noted that “Indians obviously visit the island from time to time”.
Lieutenant James Cook navigated through dangerous waters of the Great Barrier Reef in August 1770. Caught in a labyrinth of reefs off Cape Flattery, Cook was “......altogether at a loss which way to steer”.
He climbed to this high point on the island only to find “a reef of rocks.... extending farther than I could see, upon which the sea broke in a dreadful surf”. Cook noticed a narrow break in the reefs which offered an escape to the open sea. Today that channel is called Cooks Passage.
However Cook’s troubles were not over. Light winds, huge swells and the unfathomable depths of the Coral Sea put the Endeavour in danger of being washed back onto reefs. “The large waves of the vast ocean meeting (the reef) makes the most terrible surf, breaking mountains high........”
Further north, Cook steered through Providence Channel, “happy once more to encounter those shoals which were but two days ago our outmost wishes were crowned by getting clear of .....”
Along with detailed and accurate charts of the coast, Cook left a legacy of names such as Cape Tribulation and Cape Flattery. On naming Lizard Island, Cook’s log reads “The only land animals we saw here were lizards..... which occasioned my naming the island Lizard Island”.
We pictured James Cook in his blue serge, stockings, buckled shoes and white hankie. What a man.
Bear stands by the Lookout, points to London at 14900 kilometres away.
Val poses, Bear reads the Visitor’s Book as Richard explores and I fill in our details. We enjoyed the views and then back the way we came (me in ‘proper shoes’ that my feet hated every inch of the way).
ALL IN ALL STUNNING SCENERY
FABULOUS VIEWS, WELL WORTH THE HIKE