Monday, July 15, 2013

Sailing North from Brisbane to Darwin June 2013

Lizard Is. Blue Lagoon is at the top and our anchorage is just off the shot to the right.

The Blue Lagoon and the Lizard Is. airstrip.
The path across the island to visit the Blue Lagoon bordered the airstrip.  As we returned, a flight was taking off, so we had to step aside as it blew past us.
Jason with a giant cuttlefish bone on Blue Lagoon Beach on Lizard Is.
Jason posing as a beach beauty on Blue Lagoon Beach, Lizard Is

The junk tree on Blue Lagoon Beach, Lizard Is.

Karen, with John and Marina off Kailani on top of Cook's Lookout on Lizard Is.  From here, it is said Cook "perceived a way out" of the Great Barrier Reef.
The sign at the top of the lookout.
Karen signing visitor's log at Cook's Lookout.

The only decent shell on Blue Lagoon Beach was this broken chambered nautilus.

Salwa, Barry, John and Marina arrive for dinner by dink.

View of our anchorage in Watson's Bay, Lizard Is. from Cook's Lookout.  Yes, YOLO is one of those tiny white specs down there.  The dark patch to the left of the yachts is the reef where we saw the giant clams.  I no longer can take the camera into the water as I don't trust the seal to keep it waterproof anymore, so we don't have photos of the colorful giants. 

A large monitor lizard on Lizard Is.  Cook named the island for these as they were the only 'meat' they found to eat here.  This one is a couple of feet long.

Marina, Salwa, and Barry enjoying the bubbly and wine Kailani brought to our dinner party.
Salwa lining up a group shot for the self-timer.
 Salwa, Jason and Karen enjoying the grilled fish dinner, drinks, and dessert on YOLO
Rock paintings on Stanley Is.

More rock painting on Stanley Is. in the Flinders Group.  You can see the ships and the crocodile and other shapes drawn by Aborigines last century or earlier.

More rock paintings.  Aborigines burn the red ochre to make it brighter.  It is prized for its use in the art.

The grey shark we caught and couldn't get off the hook.

A Spanish Mackerel, good eating!

This barracuda was smoked and eaten, too.  Locals didn't think much of us eating barracuda, but they admitted it was quite tasty once they tried it.
A suicidal needlenose gar that landed in the dinghy while we were underway.

Swifts or swallows that decided they liked our lines and landed in formation.  Unfortunately, they all tended to leave us a little reminder on the deck below their tail feathers, so we started shooing them away.  Cute but messy.

Local Aussie cruiser banging big, meaty oysters off the rocks at Margaret Bay.

Remnants of a WWI plane that belly landed on the beach at Margaret Bay.  You can see the wings and the prop sticking up in the front, but the rest is so covered by oysters, it would be unrecognizable.  Mother nature is taking over and a mangrove tree is even beginning to take root.

A 4-legged starfish at Margaret Bay.

The normal 5-legged one.  The dark brown spots all have a nubby spur on them, unlike any starfish we'd seen before.

Part of the motley crew that smoked the fish and oysters while drinking at Margaret Bay.  This was their home base for weeks and they got a supply barge to bring them food, parts, water and fuel to the beach.  How convenient!

The starfish curled up like this when the tide left them on the sand without water.
This curled up starfish has a kind of phallic look to it and is paler than most.  There were hundreds of them on the beach at Margaret Bay, which led some to believe it must be mating season here for them.
Karen at Cape York, the northernmost point of Australia.
Jason hamming it up on YOLO while we sailed towards Darwin.
A green ant pod in a tree along the trail up to Cook's Lookout on Lizard Is.  These ants make pods out of the leaves by gluing leaves together with their saliva.  Some were the size of large grapefruits.  And the pesky green ants tend to bite when you brush up against a tree or bush and they fall on you.  Aboriginal medicinal bush lore says you can crush these pods in water and drink them to relieve coughs.  Apparently, the formic acid in the ants helps reduce the cough, but ....yuck.

A late night hitch hiker while we were under way.  Jason had to practically brush his tail to get this brown boobie to fly away.  Just glad he didn't activate the electric winch with his foot there.
 The story of Mary Watson setting to sea with her infant son and a Chinese servant to escape Lizard Is. when attacked by Aboringines.  Their vessel was a metal tub used to boil the sea cucumbers they were collecting and selling.  The structure in the background was thought to be the ruins of their home, but current thought believes it was a storage building, as they lived in a thatched hut, not a stone home.
 A view of a cliff on Stanley Island, where the rock paintings were found.  So many possible nooks and caves in the rocky hills; we didn't stray from the footpath or we are sure we could've found more interesting rock painting sites.
A view of the beach at the far west end of Lizard Island from Chinaman's Ridge.

 A view of YOLO from Chinaman's Ridge on Lizard Is.  The brown patch in the water in front of us is the giant clam reef habitat.  The resort on this island charges $1500-3500/per night for a room, so we had the best deal available on our own yacht!

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