November 17, 2011
Lazy days at Lizard were interrupted by the wind swinging to the north. In true community style all but two yachts upped anchor from Mrs Watson’s Bay and almost procession-like made their way to Blue Lagoon on the south of the island. Needless to say, the 5-7pm drinks onshore, accompanied by great snacks, continued unabated. The lagoon is lovely and snorkeling opportunities endless. A visit to the Marine Research Station’s Monday morning tour was fascinating and in the library afterwards past friendships were renewed as Lenore from Balour recognized Janet from time spent together in Iluka in 2008. All too soon it was time to leave Lizard.
Luckily for us the northerly spell lasted long enough to reach a very windy Cape Bedford, where we stayed onboard as we did not have the required permission to go ashore from the Aborigine people owning the land. We intended our next stop to be Cape Tribulation (who could not want to stop at a place with such a wonderful name). However, the headland does not offer much protection and it was difficult to gauge if the wind was going to set north-east or south-east, we pushed on to Snapper Island. On anchoring we managed to pull most of the chain out of the locker in an unplanned high speed reverse maneuver. Naturally the chain dragged through thick sticky mud, which made retrieving it the next day a laborious affair as pretty much each link had to be washed. That evening we picked up a mooring at the lovely Low Islet. While reading on deck I had thought I was imagining things when I heard the quacking of a goose, but no, it was for real. Not only the goose but the dog too joined the family when they went snorkeling, with the goose cadging a ride on a swimmer’s back on the return journey.
World Rugby Cup fever was live and well on Rebel and we purposely headed for Port Douglas to catch the Australia versus New Zealand game. We anchored in the river in the belief that the breeze would keep the sandflies at bay. Who knows how bad they would have been in the marina but they sure got us in the river too. Yet more money was thrown at insect repellant and itch ease. Added to this, the heavens opened, and in two days the area had something like 10 times its normal monthly rainfall. On meeting up with Janet’s brother Nic and wife Bev, out from New Zealand for two weeks, it was pretty unanimous that sailing would not be part of week one and they went off to hike in the rain in the Daintree. We spent over a week in Port Douglas waiting for the weather to subside and eventually managed to motor down to Marlin Marina in Cairns. Once Nic and Bev were installed in the fore cabin (together with the spinnaker), we set off for a night at Michaelmas Cay and two at Fitzroy Island. Having the kayaks and the dinghy made it so easy for everyone to do pretty much what they wanted to and we had a lovely five days with them on board.
Rebel is ‘back home’ in Bluewater Marina just north of Cairns. No sooner had we made her resemble a dwelling in a squatter camp with awnings and tarpaulins to ward off the heat and rain, we were persuaded by Chris and Gilli on Westwind to head out to Michaelmas for the weekend. Despite lousy weather, we had a great time (it is only water after all and warm at that!).
Ian was finally allowed to lodge his citizenship application papers on 2 November and if all goes according to plan, he will be attending Cairns’ next citizenship ceremony on 15 December. The downside does mean spending the cyclone season in Cairns, along with the rain and humidity. The second hand air con unit we found in the Marlin Marina laundry is helping heat but not sure what we will do about the cyclones! Bluewater Marina has a category 3 cyclone rating, which means that for Yasi, which morfed into a category 5 cyclone, you must either remover your boat from the marina or leave her unattended to the forces of nature, as at that cyclone level you are not allowed to stay on board.
To combat the tedium of spending months on board in less than ideal conditions, we are going to housesit for three weeks over Xmas in Malanda, up on the Tablelands behind Cairns. Apparently the climate is at least 5 degrees cooler there and on Sunday, enroute to our steam train outing in Ravenshoe with Chris and Gilli, we called in to introduce ourselves to Lyn and Dave, the seven cats, dog, Rube the heifer and bantams. All in all looks like it should be fun and very kindly they are going to let us use their car. Next update will be from a dirt dwelling…..