|view from the boat|
We have not had internet or phone service since leaving Port Douglas. Neither of us could pick up a phone signal but if I held my laptop just so, on the starboard side of the boat my broadband stick lit up and I could get 2 out of 5 bars. Not a real good signal, but good enough to pull in emails and get a couple of blog postings uploaded. It was frustrating work and we determined not to let it enslave us.
We loaded the backpacks with fresh fruit and water, cameras, bug spray, suntan lotion, tissues and chapstick; grabbed our walking sticks and dinghied to shore. This particular mountain is one that Lieutenant James Cook (not yet Captain) climbed when he found his ship, The Endeavor, surrounded by what appeared to be impassable coral reefs. He arrived here and seeking a break in the barrier reef climbed to the top of the mount where from it's summit he was able to sight a pass only a few miles northeast of this island, which is now named Cook's Pass. I don't know who named the pass but I do know Lt. Cook named Lizard Island because the only life form he found here were lizards. We spied droves of them skittering across our path on the rocky and often very steep and barely navigable track. How he and his men did this hundreds of years ago in the type of shoes they wore and with no discernable path whatsoever is beyond us. It was another of those hikes that really got our hearts pumping. Although hot, a breeze found us from time to time cooling us down to a bearable temperature. We stopped for photos along the way, and when we reached the lower observation point that looks back over the island toward the mainland, we were met with the most stunning panorama.
It was literally the prettiest view I have seen from such a vantage point. We were blessed with a very clear day, allowing us to see for miles (often there is a marine haze in the air that can obscure everything). We also had a very clear perspective of the resort, the airstrip and the research station far below us. A little farther up is the summit where a large wooden box houses the guest book, sealed within a large plastic container. I signed the book for both of us noting entries made by others from all over the world. Next to that was a very large add-a-rock hill whereupon we each placed a new stone. The view from the summit looked out across the outer barrier reef where we could see the passage that Cook spotted back in 1770. There was just a teeny bit of haze in this direction although we had an unobscured view of many dozens of reefs that comprise the Great Barrier Reef. It was beyond breathtaking! I doubt there is another place from which this view is possible, other than from a low flying aircraft. We sat for a bit, munching on our snacks and remarked to one another that we are so very blessed to experience this because really the only people fortunate enough to come here are either guests and staff of the resort, scientists and volunteers at the research station, and those who arrive by private yacht such as ourselves.
The trip back down was nearly a skid and a trip! Frank is as surefooted as a mountain goat, but I on the other hand have no sense of balance or poise on the downhill trek. There were several patches of loose sand and gravel that had not been apparent on the hike up. They sure were now, and Frank seemingly danced right over them yet somehow my feet found every slippery last one and I nearly broke my neck on the steeper descents. The walking stick that Frank had fashioned for me back at Whitsunday Island was my savior. Part of my problem was that the view was so captivating it was distracting and I was not multitasking very well but we both made it down fine and have some beautiful pictures to show for it.
After getting cleaned up and having a short rest back on Destiny we set off for the "pub" where we met several more cruisers who are headed toward Darwin. Walking up to the little restaurant area I nearly ran into a large monitor lizard just walking around like he was one of us.
Already the various factions are forming into little caucuses. Our Kiwi friends have all sort of gathered among themselves. There is a group of Dutch traveling together, as well as some Swedes and Germans. Some others I'm not sure of, nationality-wise. There are two other American boats, Scholarship and Fearless who we think are traveling together but then we found that the owner of Fearless is actually crewing for the Aussie couple to whom he had recently sold his boat. Alliances are being forged. Frank and I are resisting becoming glued to any particular group. We rather like meeting everyone and remaining friends to anyone from any country. Eventually our table grew to overflowing with over a dozen chattering accents and dialects. We visited with them all and enjoyed a really great evening until the DJ piped the music too loud for us to hear one another. We took this as our cue to get going.
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