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The Adventure ....


ships log
Thursday 29th May 2008
Cooktown, Queensland

Hello everyone,

We’ve had a great time getting here, the sailing has been great, following winds all the way, and we haven’t had to do an ‘overnighter’ since the Sydney Brisbane Leg. Weather has been pretty good too – while it’s freezing down South, we’re now at around 15 degrees latitude, so well inside the tropics and hence very comfortable temps.

From our last report, we’ve had great stops at Orpheus Island, where we enjoyed a walk up to the ridge of the island a beautiful spot, and pretty isolated with only 2 boats in the anchorage, and Australian mainland in the background.

We've been sailing from time to time in company with Purnama, who photographed us at dawn from Orpheus Island, departing for Hinchinbrook Island, which is absolutely spectacular. Here the mountains come right down to the ocean and the whole area is heritage listed rainforest - a very dramatic coastline.

We also saw our first crocodile at Hinchinbrook – just sunning himself on the banks of Mendel Creek and thankfully, he completely ignored us as we passed by.

view from Orpheus Island

Destiny enroute to Hinchinbrook Island (courtesy Purmana)
view from Orpheus Island
Destiny enroute to Hinchinbrook Island (courtesy Purnama)

Hinchinbrook Island

our first crocodile sighting
Hinchinbrook Island
our first crocodile sighting

Next major stop was Cairns, where we took advantage of a big city to do a major re-provision, boat maintenance and some tourist stuff.

We thoroughly enjoyed the historic Kuranda rail trip up the range - it’s an incredible feat of engineering, particularly when you consider it was built at a time when there was virtually no equipment, just hard labour to dig tunnels and slowly construct a railway up the mountains. A couple of hours wandering around the Kuranda village and walking tracks, then back to Cairns on the ‘Skyrail’ cable car which gives a very different view of the rainforest as you glide over the trees.

We ‘splurged’ a bit by staying in the Marlin Marina for a week – it’s very handy as right in the middle of town and next to the swimming pool on the promenade.

Tourism is the major industry in Cairns, and we enjoyed our visit, but a week was enough ‘civilization’ for us and we started to feel the need for some isolation, so headed off again. In this part of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is very close to the mainland, so we’ve been alternating anchorages between the coral cays of the reef islands and mainland bays.

And now we’ve pulled into Cooktown , named after James Cook, who pulled in here to repair the Endeavour after hitting a reef. There are a number of commemorative monuments, museums and this statue – our photo shows 2 brave and fearless sailors, one who stuck his boat on the reef and one who hasn’t ! (yet, and hopefully not ever !)

skyrail view, Kuranda to Cairns

Cooktown, 2 intrepid sailors
swimming pool lagoon, Cairns (courtesy Purnama)
historic Kuranda rail trip

skyrail view, Kuranda to Cairns

Cooktown, 2 intrepid sailors
skyrail view, Kuranda to Cairns
Cooktown - 2 intrepid sailors

Cooktown gets our current vote as the friendliest place in Australia. Maybe it’s to do with the slower pace of life, but everybody is friendly and takes the time to say “G’day” – example, we went to the local doctor to get some Typhoid shots (preventative measure –not because we’ve got it) we left the doctors rooms on first name terms and feeling like friends of the receptionist, doctor and nurse. It made a very good impression on us.

Cooktown, is probably our last opportunity to get good internet access, and final supplies before we head off north tomorrow - up to Cape York (around 350 nautical miles) and ‘over the top’ across the Gulf of Carpentaria. It’s pretty much all wilderness area, so we may be out of contact for a month (wine rationing starts tonight - well, maybe tomorrow :-)

Cheers to everyone, thanks to all who dropped us an e-mail, and a special “Get Well Soon” to our friend Greg.

No videos this month but as always, please drop us an email if you like our diaries or have suggestions.

Cheers for now
B & G