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Date: 31 Aug 2015 01:55:54
Title: Lizard Island

14:39:6S 145:26:8E
 
Saturday 29th August
Up at 0615, away at 0645. A good sailing breeze already blowing. SY Starbo followed us out as the sun rose and cast its orangey tentacles across the sea. The crew of both yachts took photos of  each other sailing, difficult to get these when you are on your own boat, to exchange later.
 
At about 1000 Starbo radioed through that they had just seen whales. Moments later they were off our port beam. Although we had cameras at the ready, we had only the very briefest of glimpses before they dived, it was all too fast and we missed the crucial photos. The whales stay down for about 20 mins so seeing them again is unlikely. We saw two whales dive one after the other. I think they were hump back whales, but not being overly familiar with these magnificent creatures, and only seeing them for a moment, I can’t be sure.
 
We arrived at Lizard Island at about 1600. Starbo had already arrived, so we dropped anchor near them in Mrs Watson’s Bay. Once we had sorted out WD for the night’s stop, and launched the dingy, a radio call came through inviting us aboard Starbo for sweet wine. I had put the water maker on, so Denis and I decided to wait until 1800, when the sun would well over the yard arm. There were eighteen other boats anchored in the bay. The bay’s name comes from a strange tale: Mrs Watson’s was on the island, as her husband had started a business fishing off here. She was there with her child and some Chinese servants. Unbeknown to them, this is Aboriginal sacred ground used for initiation ceremonies. Some Aborigines arrived in canoe and were incensed that someone should be on their special island. They killed the Chinese servants who tried to protect Mrs Watson, she escaped with her child and a friend in an old water tank. Eventually they were washed ashore another island where, according to her journal they died of thirst. The journal and their remains were eventually found by her husband. He mounted a retaliatory attack on the Aboriginals, killing 150 of them. He did not know if they were responsible for his wife’s death, but they were the closest. A sad tale!
 
We enjoyed the sweet red wine, chicken bbq and a good laugh aboard Starbo that evening.
 
Sunday 30th August
Today was Erika from America’s (37th) birthday, as a present we hosted breakfast on WD for all the Starbo crew; eggs benedict, bacon, toast and fresh coffee. We then went to the beach to scale Cook’s Lookout, a 358m climb from sea level. Cook was looking for a way to get out of the reef to the Coral Sea. From the lookout he discovered a way through, this later became Cook’s Passage. On landing on the beach, it became obvious that we should have decided on which part of the beach we should be at, we pulled up alongside Starbo’s dingy, only they had gone to the next bay thinking we would go there. Eventually both crews found each other at the top of the Lookout. It was a tough, heart pumping and sweaty climb. But the views were beathtaking and well worth it. At the top there is a log book to sign to prove you have been there. Surprisingly few names were entered. Erika had brought her mobile and had a signal, she was delighted to log on to Fb and get birthday wishes and post our last photo until we get signal again, probably in Darwin.
 
During the afternoon, I dived to scrap the barnacles from the propeller and then swim to the giant clams in the centre of the bay. Scrapping completed, I began the swim the 100m towards the reef. Luckily before i had travelled too far from WD, I spotted the largest shark I had been near. I carefully back tracked and decided that maybe, I could do without seeing the clams. I am no expert when it comes to sharks – so was it dangerous? Who cares? I wasn’t going to wait and find out, they tend to strike a primeval fear in me. It was all I could do to swim back carefully trying to avoid splashing and attracting unnecessary shark attention!
 
The evening was spent watching sunset from the rocks above the beach, and sharing hummingbird birthday cake  (not something I have heard of before), with Erika Et al.
 
Then back to WD to share our passage planning for the next few days. We are hopping up the coast and around Cape York, through the Torres Straits, just south of Papua New Guinea...and would you believe it there are pirates reported in this area! We hope to arrive in Darwin about the 10th September 2015.
 

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