|Cooktown Orchid, Botanic Garden (Has to be caged in so no-one steals it!)|
Windy, windy Cooktown! This anchorage is safe, but not necessarily comfortable. On arrival we anchored very close to the swing basin near the harbour jetties while we worked out where the channel into the deeper pool in the river was. Last year there was leads in, but this year they no longer exist, which makes things a little difficult. The Endeavour River is a mass of sand and mud banks and as the water is a muddy greeny, blue there is no seeing them until they emerge as the tide goes out. At least it is mud/sand. Luckily another yacht came in and he obviously knew the route in so we watched carefully and then followed his path. We found a good spot closer to the town side than we had last year, so the dinghy ride was shorter. We are here sheltering from strong winds and rain and after the first two days we have had ample of that. The spring tides are in now and the current through here is amazing. Mostly Rene is held side on to the wind and as the bullets rage through the anchorage she heels over in a most uncomfortable way.
|The anchorage from Grassy Hill|
Tomorrow looks like a possibility for sailing south. We are contacting Ric and Val at 7am to discuss the situation. Hopefully we will make the 20nm to the Hope Isles for the night and then continue on to the Low Isles and back to the Cairns area in a couple of days. The next week or so looks good for going south.
|Peter checks out the Jackfruit at the Botanic Garden|
The Little White Egret
The journey on Lily to the South bank of the river and Cooktown took us past a nice looking steal yacht which was covered with very well made canvas and shade cloth covers. As we motored past I noticed a lovely little white egret perched on the binnacle inside the cockpit covers. I wondered if he was stuck in there. No-one seemed to be using the boat at present. The bird remained there all day and in the evening as we went in to see the fish feeding at Cook's Landing it was still there. We thought we'd tell Tom, who feeds the fish, that the beautiful little bird appeared to be stuck under the covers on this boat. He didn't know the owner but said to Peter to go and let it out anyway. Peter did. Then he came back and told us that the bird was very cross at being flushed out of his safe, cosy perch. As he brought the dinghy alongside and lifted the covers the egret left via an opening swearing loudly. The cockpit was covered with bird poo and we think the owner is in for a very unpleasant surprise when he comes to check his yacht. The next day we motored Lily past again to see if the bird was there. At first we thought not, but then we spotted him standing on the floor and stretching his neck up to investigate this 'bloody nosy' dinghy load of people who were constantly trespassing on his perfect hiding place. The body language was quite plain.
Fish Feeding At Cook's Landing
|Tom feeds the grouper at Cook's Landing|
The blackboard on the footpath outside the café at Cook's Landing said that fish feeding was on that evening. About 3-4 times a fortnight, when the tide is right, Tom, owner of the Cook's Landing jetty and café, feeds the grouper. They are huge! He uses the rib cages, with heads attached, from large coral trout that have been caught that day. The grouper show up in the late afternoon and mill about waiting for their feed. There were six of them on our day. Tom says there are up to seven and they live under the jetties and pontoons. If you thought that this was not a good place to swim because of crocodiles, sharks and muddy water, the sight of these huge fish convinced me to keep my toes well away. Sometimes a large ray, a Lemon Shark and a Bull Shark will turn up, but they did not show on our day. Peter and I were very impressed with the show as were about twenty other sightseers. A couple of the dominant fish waited close to Tom on the steps and stopped the others getting a feed. They would not take the rib cages, but would not let anyone else have a go. Tom said they wanted the heads not the rib cages. Reminded me of a mob of greedy children.
|Chinese Shrine, Cooktown Cemetery|
This year we decided to walk to the outskirts of town to check out the cemetery. Cooktown has a long and chequered history. It was interesting and we spent an hour or two wandering about reading the headstones. We found Mrs Watson and her son Ferrier's grave. They had escaped Lizard Island in 1881 in a tub when the aboriginals attacked them and later died on a neighbouring island due to thirst. There was also a Chinese Shrine tucked away in a clearing in the bush. Thousands of Chinese people made their way here during the gold rush in the early days.
|An interesting story at the Cooktown Cemetery|
Fun and Friends
Five yachts left Lizard Island either on the day we left or the day after. All have been anchored in the Endeavour River waiting for a weather window to be able to sail south. It has been great to take part in various social activities while were are here, things like a meal at the Top Bub and the RSL Club and sundowners on Arkaydes.
|Check out that bowling technique|
|Fun and Frivolity at the Cooktown Bowling Club|