Cruising – Cairns to The Tip of Cape York (Great Barrier Reef)
We had a perfect sail from Cairns to Low Isles. Perfect! However, by the time we arrived, the sun was getting ready to set so we missed out on snorkelling it. With a deadline to arrive in Darwin, we decided to skip Port Douglas, because we have spent plenty of time there before, and keep on pushing north.
The next morning we were off again. We stopped at Undine Cay, which is a favourite of ours, and went snorkelling. We decided to stay the night. Once the tide came in it got a bit rolly, so the next night, after another perfect sail, we were glad to find a sheltered spot behind Hope Islands.
We caught a couple of mackerel just out from Undine Cay. We cut one fish into fillets and the other into cutlets and topped up our freezer. We had a delicious meal of cajun mackerel fillets with a pineapple, tomato, and corn salad. Yummo.
From Hope Island we sailed on and spent a night anchored off the mainland at Cape Bedford. We had an afternoon of relaxation before moving on the next day to Lizard Island. Fantastic sail in 25 knots and we arrived at lunch time. After a yummy lunch of teriyaki marlin sushi (check it out on ‘cooking our catch’!) we went for a snorkel in the bay. Fantastic! Saw clown fish, titan trigger fish (Dwayne has a strong bond with these fish lol), huge bat fish, trevally, parrot fish, coral trout….. too many to name them all.
Over the next few days at Lizard Island our many forays into the water revealed the whole star-studded cast of “Finding Nemo’. Clown fish, sharks, turtles and so many huge fish!
While at Lizard went for a walk to Blue Lagoon Beach and also to the top of Cook’s Look; beautiful beaches and views.
Saw these beautiful birds, which I’m pretty sure are the male and female ‘yellow-bellied sunbird’.
There were around 12 other boats in the bay and we had happy hour on the beach each afternoon. We met the crew of ‘Miss Polly’ a catamaran that was also heading north. Polly and Gerry are great people and a lot of fun so we sailed in company with them to the top of Australia.
From Lizard we went to the Howick Group where we stayed a couple of days. The days were spent snorkelling the beautiful reef, catching crayfish and sitting around the fire on the beach eating crayfish and mackerel.
Cooking crayfish on the beach, with a beautiful sunset to finish… paradise!
We then spent a night at Flinder’s Island before moving onto to Morris Island where we spent another couple of nights. It was a beautiful place where we once again enjoy cooking on the fire. The days on Morris Island were spent fishing, getting coconuts, walking and playing bocce with Polly and Gerry. It was windy so Dwayne and I built a lean-to out of some timber and coconut fronds to keep the sand out of our food when cooking a BBQ. We also took the time to do our chores… make water, do washing, charge the batteries etc.
The wind has been a perfect east- southeast 20-25knots since we left Cairns, so once again leaving Morris Island we had another great sail. We stopped for the night at the Lockhart River and Dwayne and Polly put in the crab pot. Caught one crab and a little shark.
We stayed a couple of nights at Forbes Island. This was our last chance for a snorkel…. although there was a crocodile sign. The snorkelling wasn’t the best, so for the two days we were there we walked the hills and beaches and collected coconuts and heaps of oysters. We enjoyed some of oysters on the fire and pickled the rest.
Dwayne tried hoisting himself up a coconut palm to get coconuts. He soon decided that with Gerry being 30kg lighter it would be better to send Gerry up the tree.
Next stop bird Island where I could see some ‘tracks’ on the beach. Looking through the binoculars Dwayne said they were turtle tracks. Dwayne and Polly went looking for mud crabs. Walking through the mangroves and crossing lagoons, they ended up knee deep in mud with one mud crab and a heap of oysters. When I got to the island I checked out the ‘tracks’….. crocodile tracks, not turtle!
We enjoyed oysters on the fire and went back to the boats before dark, in case the croc decided to return to the beach. In the morning we saw the crocodile lying on the beach.
We spent a night at Escape River before sailing through Albany Passage and on to the Tip of Cape York. A short walk took us to the very tip of Australia for the requisite photos and some lovely views of the bay.
For my crayfish recipes have a look at Gourmet from the kitchen – Crayfish
For my mackerel recipe see Cajun Mackerel with Pineapple, Tomato and Corn Salsa
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