Monday, October 19, 2009

Out to Cod Hole

After a week at Lizard Island we managed to get out to the Barrier Reef. Even though it was blowy (like up to 30 knots!) at Lizard we managed to make a few dives and to move round to visit the moorings in Mermaid Cove, but we really wanted to get Cod Hole, a relatively famous Barrier Reef dive site. We left as the weather was settling and stayed for a night at Eagle Island. Then we went to Cod Hole.

There is no anchoring permitted near Cod Hole but there are two public moorings. Amazingly, however, the moorings are both placed too close to the reef. We arrived at low tide and it was obvious that we could not leave the boat unattended while we dived. We can't think why they did this, there's plenty of room to move the moorings 30' further out. In the end we asked a commercial boat and borrowed a private mooring to make the dive. The site has earned its reputation - beautiful clear water, huge potato cod, and lots of other fish.

After the dive we moved to nearby Cormorant Reef and anchored in the lagoon for three nights. We made four more dives, all excellent. Cuttlefish seemed to be a constant on the dives!

Then strong winds were forecast again and here we are stuck at Lizard Island in Watsons Bay with 25-30 knot winds blowing. As soon as this settles we'll be off to the reef again. Apart from visiting other sites we'll go back to Cod Hole at high tide.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Arrived at Lizard Island

We've arrived at Lizard Island. As far as we intend to go this season.
We stopped for a day at Cooktown to top up our fresh vegetables and fuel. Cooktown is named after Captain Cook who stopped there to carry out repairs to HMS Endeavour after she had run aground on (what is now) Endeavour Reef. There is a statue of Captain Cook by the river. Cooktown is small but has a supermarket and a few other essentials.

After an overnight stop at Cape Flattery, we arrived at Lizard Island on Sunday. There are nearly 20 boats here so it's quite busy. On Monday morning we hiked over to the Marine Research Station to see when they give their free guided tours. Remarkably enough, they give them at 11am each Monday, and we arrived just after 11!

Last night the yachties in the anchorage held a pot-luck dinner on the beach. Many people have come to Lizard Island several times before. Most are planning to go back south from here - the people heading off to Indonesia, for example, are long gone. The consensus appears to be that we won't see light or northerly winds until the end of October. Today the wind is a little under 20 knots and it's expected to strengthen later in the week.