Lizard Island - what's going on.....

Sea Mist > Sold to New Owners July 2016
John and Cheryl Ellsworth
Tue 19 Jun 2012 11:51

This is our third night here in this anchorage….and one more night to go according to our revised plan.


Been busy over the first 48 hours:

·         This is a lovely anchorage with 2 white sand beaches and a few walking hiking trails….as well as an airport runway…a research station…and a resort.

·         Had a terrific hike to the top of the island the first morning… 2.5 hours return. This hike is where the famous Captain James Cook climbed to gain a vantage point to discover how he could get out to the open ocean from inside the Great Barrier Reef….the challenge had him stumped. The vista at the top is really one of the great ones in the Pacific from our experience….you could see for 25 to 30 miles….and if it was a really clear day, maybe further.  So , “YES”….>>>Captain Cook found a pass through the reef that bears his name. He named the island Lizard Island since that was the only living creature he found on the island in the 1700’s

·         That afternoon, I snorkeled the close-by reef here in the anchorage bay > it was a most surprising pleasure: a healthy reef with many varieties of soft corals that shows the grandeur of mother nature….and GIANT CLAMS…some reaching about 6 feet in length; loads of these giant clams with a broad range of colours ordaining their lips…greens, blues, blacks, whites…some of these clams were so big that if the shell was empty, I could imagine having enough room to crawl in to the cavity as though it was a coffin or the like.

·         Today took me  under the water with my scuba gear: there was a lot of barnacle build up on the very bottom of the keel; it wore me out and took a tank of air to get it scraped…..and the highlight or tension encoding aspect was not what I expected > dozens of very large fish came by to feed on the barnacles that I was scraping off. These were not small reef fish….NO!...these were fish measuring 4 – 6 feet in length and they were moving all around me.   A bit unnerving…not because of them, but because I couldn’t help wondering what fishy friends they might have tagging along that might be bigger and more interested in me. Anyway, other than grabbing some of my attention, I was able to ignore them and get the job done.

·         When I got back to the surface, it took almost another hour to get all the gear off > then back onto the boat > fresh water rinsed > hung to dry, etc. I then got back in the water for almost another 2 hours to scrub the water line. There has been no chance to do this since Lady Musgrave Island at the first of May due to safety issues related to crocs and sharks……and COLD water…just to gather all my excuses. Anyway, that will be the last time that I can safely get in the water until somewhere in Indonesia in August or September….which is a bit long for growth build-up. I may have to do the cleaning hanging over the side of the dinghy but that is not easy to do…much better to do from the water. Today’s conditions were FAR from ideal to do that time on the surface scrubbing: the wind blowing through the anchorage just does not let up (20 to 25+ kts constantly!.....creating a wind chop against me of about a foot so lots of gurgling….and fighting to hang on!  I have these great suction cups that enable me to hang on to the side of the boat as I progress down the side….but not easy.

·         The plan for tomorrow calls for Cheryl and I to do some snorkeling on the reef….I teased her with lots of photos that I snapped when I was there for an hour + yesterday…..Cheryl is the photographer, not me…so she could see “the possibilities” for her artist’s eye to take in and compose… we’ll see how that goes….hopefully, the visibility will not be too stirred up from all the wind.

·         We have decided to extend our stay here from original plan of 2 nights to now intending to stay 4 nights. Some of the reason for that is the location and what you can do here by way of on land and in water…but, the deciding factor is mother nature. The strong winds are expected to let up a little on Thursday so as to make the next sailing leg of 83 nautical miles a bit less uncomfortable….so we intend to get away before first light (somewhere around 5 -5:30 am) so that we can get to Owen Channel/Flinders Island Group while there is still light for arrival in that anchorage. From here to Darwin, we will be cruising very remote parts of Oz…so no more towns or opportunities to provision. The food we have needs to carry us to Darwin. Praise to our freezer, fridge and dry stores…and to the advance prep creations from Chez Cheryl > eating well never seems to be a problem but we expect to tax the situation a bit over the next 3 weeks.

·         We have S/V Imagine and S/V Kilkea with us here at Lizard as well as a number of other boats with whom we are gradually getting acquainted….most here are also heading for the Sail Indonesia Rally.


That’s a wrap…time for shut-eye!