Cairns to TI (Thursday Island)

We want to sound like locals, so we’ll just call it TI. We did a pretty big provisioning in Cairns and then started our very long departure from Australia. We’re now in a “hurry”, so we sailed pretty much every day. Most days were 40 or 50 miles, but we pushed the daysails as far as 85 miles when the wind was right. We also found ourselves sailing in company with a number of other boats for the first time, seeing the same faces and transoms at each anchorage. Thom on Fathom will be crossing with us to South Africa while Slow Flight and Christophe peeled off at TI for Indonesia. Showtime continued on with us to Darwin, but they will be staying in Australia.

Each night found us tucked in behind some island with a nice sandy beach somewhere on the Great Barrier Reef.

Erika At the Beach – Morris Island
Donald finally found a shoe that fits

We got up to Lizard Island just as the weather was predicted to get a little nasty for a couple of days. Since it’s the best protected anchorage along this section of coast about 20 other boats had the same idea. Still, there was plenty of room and we got a spot close to the beach. We spent two days waiting for the wind to die down and exploring with our friends from the other boats. We hiked to the top of Cook’s Lookout (where the intrepid explorer went to get a commanding view of the GBR and see if there was any way out for his little ship).

On our way to the top, not much further to go
Pretty incredible view from up here (Isn’t he nice to look at)
How far away from home we are

The next day we went as a group to the Lizard Island Research Station to learn about their studies of coral and reef flora/fauna.

The Group at LIRS Learning About the GBR
The trip back to the anchorage – much better than the dusty road
Except when you lose the trail over the isthmus

After our visit to LIRS we were inspired to jump in and do a little snorkeling, one of the only places we’ve done any along the GBR. The section of reef in the anchorage was spared from the devastation of a couple of recent cyclones that wiped out the surrounding areas. Lots (lots) of giant clams in all colors and a pretty fair selection of fish. It was nice to be back in the water again.

And then we got to Thursday Island (well actually Horn Island, the anchorage at TI isn’t quite as comfortable).

We finally see our first croc at Horn Island

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