13 June 2007

Lizard Island, Queensland

Anchored Lizard Island, Far North Queensland

Hey all! Sandpiper is currently anchored at Lizard Island. We arrived here Monday afternoon after a fast, cold, sail from Cooktown.

We left Cooktown a day earlier than intended. The weather was predicted to pick up, so we needed to take the opportunity. We had about 20 knots of wind on our trip here. With a double reefed main, staysail, and small jib out we made great time. Since putting down the hook here on Lizard, we have had 25-30 knots of wind and overcast skies. With all the wind our wind generator has really been doing a great job keeping our batteries topped off. So we've been able to watch movies without any worries.

We took it easy Monday evening after our sail here, then went ashore on Tuesday for a nice walk and some good shell collecting. Lizard Island is named for the lizards that inhabit the island. These lizards are related to the Komodo Dragons in Indonesia (which I hope to see on our trip there).

A few other interesting facts about Lizard Island... It was named by Captain Cook when he used the island as a vantage point from which to seek escape for his sailing ship the Endeavour when he became convinced that further passage north might risk embayment. He ascended the hill on Lizard to look for a passages out of the reef. But when he reach the top, he found a haze with reduced visibility, much like our trip today.

Our friends Steve and Rene (S/V Shiraz) joined us this afternoon to follow in Cook's footsteps up this steep hill to the Cook Lookout. Rounding the corner of just one of the many switchbacks we ran into a 3 foot long, scary looking lizard. Steve scared him off the track for us since the rocks we threw at him weren't doing scaring him off. After over an hour of uphill hiking we reached the top and were immersed in a giant cloud and rain. We stayed on the top long enough to sign the logbook, take a few photos, and catch our breath. We then started our decent down the wet, steep, slippery hill.

Lizard Island is also famous for the story of Mary Watson who lived here on the island with her husband, kids, and two Asian servants. The Aborigines weren't too happy with the family for taking up residence on thier land. While her husband was gone on a fishing expedition, they killed one of the servants. Mary put herself, the children, and the remaining servant in a large tub and made an escape off the island. They made it to Watson Island where they eventually perished from thirst. You can see Mary's tub and diary at the Queensland Museum in Townsville.

We had seen articles written by fellow cruisers saying how great it was here. Some even stayed for months. There is a resort on the island, and if you do decide to stay, you can arrange to have groceries brought in with the rest of the resorts goods. We had also heard they have a 'Cruisers Olympics'. But with this weather there is not much action on the beach. From what we hear this weather isn't going to let up until the weekend. So maybe we'll make our escape on Friday or Saturday.

Hope all is well with everyone back home.

A BIG Happy Birthday to my cousin Mar Tokarczyk in Tonawanda, New York!!!!! Enjoy your Birthday. Wish I was there to celebrate.

Love to all,
Amy and Tom

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