30 May 2013 | 15 27'S:145 14'E, Cooktown, Queensland, Australia
What an incredible town to bid a fond farewell to family and friends! Cooktown, Australia is near where Captain James Cook hit a reef during his first circumnavigation with Endeavor. And here in Cooktown there is an incredible Museum dedicated to his journey, repairs, contact with the local tribes, and even the anchor & canon from Endeavor that were thrown overboard to right the ship out on Endeavor Reef. We sailed past Endeavor Reef at an incredible 12 knots under main alone, as the strong SE trades continue to blow. During the past few weeks, we have sailed from Whitsunday Island to Cooktown, about 360 NM to the NNW. The strong trades have given us some fantastic sailing on Sea Child! Cape York is 330 NM to the north and we expect to begin our northern push in the next few days. Since April 11, Sea Child has sailed 870 NM from Brisbane, and we have noticed the change in Australian landscape the further we push north.
During the month of May, we had special visits from family and friends. We picked up our last group in Cairns, and once we sailed away, we were able to dive on Thetford Reef 25 NM east of Cairns. When we picked up the buoy on the reef, the waters were a flat calm, and we geared up for a unique dive around this special reef. Afterwards, Eric, Craig & Nels took the SUP boards across the reef which spread out under them in fantastic clarity! It was so special to see the Great Barrier Reef via SUP boards on flat days, which we find quite rare given the strong trades that have been with us most days. From there, we had an exhilirating sail to Fitzroy Island, where the boys dove in marginal visibility. The SE trades filled in the very next day, with a strong chop that had a nearby yacht drag anchor and almost hit Sea Child as it went past! Gigi kept one hand over her eye and she watched the rather large ketch float on by, as the rest of us were on Fitzroy for an early morning walk! Once we returned to Sea Child, we sailed on to Double Island after a quick reprovision in Cairns. Double Island is a beautiful little gem of an island, high green cliffs spotted with sharp rock formations. The morning SUP was incredibly clear and beautiful, we enjoyed our stay and cooled off in the comfortable waters, lazing on the SUP boards and thankful to have the opportunity to be there. Port Douglas was the next stop, with a fun Commercial Fisherman festival creating a lively vibe in the marina. We wandered the streets of Port Douglas, again restocking and visiting bottle shops along the way.
The next stop was a quick visit to Low Islands, where we were amazed at the sea life that welcomed our arrival! Black tip sharks, turtles, giant butterfly fish, pilot fish and more giant trevally were everywhere! Nels was the brave soul to place a mask and fins on and swim with the sea life!! We visited the Low Islands as well, with its beautifully bright light house and enjoyed some shelter from the strong winds. From Low Islands, we sailed on to Hope Island, where the boys & Colleen took in another dive as Gigi and Tamara prepared an amazing dinner aboard Sea Child! The blue GBRNP buoys held us strong through a very windy night, and again Nels took to the waters to visit Hope Island 200 yards away. It was with good humor that Nels swam back to Sea Child after reading the Crocodile warning signs on Hope Island! Or maybe it was with a bit of anxiety too? We took the dinghy shore and walked around the pretty little island, where massive schools of bait fish color the w aters edge and nesting birds were busy in the trees. We looked for the crocs that we were sure were there, but did not spot one on our entire journey! (Except for the Cairns Zoo, where Goliath the giant croc sits basking in the sun on top of the Reef Casino!) From Hope Island, we sailed past Endeavor Reef and made a dive at Osterland Reef, 8 NM SE of Cooktown. It was an amazing last dive of an incredible family visit, dropping anchor at the reef, which was barely visible from the decks of Sea Child. The rainy squalls and strong winds could not be felt at our max depth of 35', and our guests did seem to enjoy every dive, every meal, every moment on Sea Child!
It is always wonderful for us to have visitors come to experience the adventure of Sea Child. We realize that it is hard to get here, flights are getting longer as we sail more west along our circumnavigation. We appreciate the effort that our guests make to come aboard and we hope to see them all again. One of our favorite things to do on Sea Child is to sit around the salon table and gaze at the World Map that serves as a table cloth. We plan our future journeys, and with family and friends on board, we plan their next visit with us, too. Since the beginning of our journey back in Trinidad, Sea Child has now sailed +21,000 NM. What an Adventure!!