Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday Islands

Sunset from Horn island

Sunset from Horn island

Around Cape York and onto Horn Island - the stopping point to get to Thursday Island…. and Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday islands. I’m just not sure what happened to Monday Island! We passed Tuesday and Wednesday Islands en route to Horn, and after some tricky dogleg manoeuvres in the channel, were happily anchored for the night by sunset - and a magnificent tropical one it was too!

Passing Wednesday Island

Passing Wednesday Island

The next morning saw us on our new (tiny) tender getting to shore to get the ferry across to Thursday Island, me protesting trying all four in one trip and that we needed to be careful because of crocodiles. Fortunately my seeming over-concern was validated, when a local lady, also waiting for the ferry, told us that five crocs were living between our boat and the ferry jetty and that a big one had taken four dogs in the last few weeks! Thank you, you’re welcome guys!

Thursday Island (or TI if you’re a local) surprised us all. What a gem. The people (a mix of Torres Strait Islanders, Australian Aborigines, and European) really are wonderful. I’m not one for people and culture - give me animals any time, but I can genuinely say that this lot made an impression, the thing that astounded us all was the incredible respect they all seemed to have for each other, for us, for their homes, for their township - we all noticed it. We were lucky to find John who took us on a tour of the island - all 3.5 square kilometers of it. It sure had packed in a bit of history on its shores over time though. We were lucky enough to get to the museum at the old Battery - the highest point on the island. There we could see all sorts from the Japanese pearling days, the war, the local indigenous people, and shipping - including the disasters. We saw local fishing stands in the water, the Japanese grave site. (TI was not bombed during World War II, probably because of it being the burial place of many Japanese pearl shell divers, or, that the Japanese thought there were still Japanese people living here. However, Horn Island (right next door) was bombed to bits!

 
The locals swim - I didn’t! looking back to horn island

The locals swim - I didn’t! looking back to horn island

Top of the island at the battery

Top of the island at the battery

original beacon in the museum

original beacon in the museum

japanese Pearling suit

japanese Pearling suit

Northern Most pub in Australia - the torres hotel. Cheers!

Northern Most pub in Australia - the torres hotel. Cheers!

After a fun time, we felt it obligatory to have a drink (and food) at the most northern pub in Australia, the Torres Hotel - just to get bragging rights of course!

 
 

To the Top - via the Lizard!

Rob hooked the dinner

Rob hooked the dinner

Matt arrived back and we threw off the ropes two hours later, complete with new crew Michelle. As soon as we were clear of the channel, the line was in and five minutes later we had a tuna in the pot. The start of a good overnight run to Lizard Island. On anchoring we found we had some big fish and small sharks to contend with. As soon as we identified they were not tiger sharks but lemon sharks, and there were no crocodiles, we were all in the water, knowing this was the last swimming spot until we got to Indonesia!

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Away from those lemon sharks and big batfish there was plenty of easy snorkelling to be had.

Away from those lemon sharks and big batfish there was plenty of easy snorkelling to be had.

It was Wednesday night and that meant tapas night at the staff bar of the local resort. Beauty!! After meeting a few interesting yachties, and a few beers later all was going well, until, we decided to head home.

Talk about drama - the tender was not to be seen - not a sign of it. Frantic running to the headland, grabbing of another tender and spotlight to search - all in vain. It was absolutely gone - one tender, one engine and whatever else was on board. Disaster - this was not a place that you could just go get a new one. One heck of a damper to the spirit of the boat.

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Two windy grotty days followed with us making arrangements with a yacht (Mad Monkey) from the ARC to bring a new tender and engine to Lizard with them. Luckily Matt had one bar on his phone to arrange purchase - nobody else did.

Fortunately the next day brought with it clear blue skies and no wind. After a trip up the mast for Matt to check the rig, another yacht took us ashore and we got to explore the incredibly beautiful island at last. Interesting bush and flowers, marshland, estuary, white sandy beaches, hilltops and rocks, and a small airport runway with conveniently placed chairs to boot.

A few pics below give the idea - amusingly you can fly here and then take your pick of accommodation - the full on resort, or, camping in the National Park. That’s it - no other options.

Sundowners on the beach, sausies on the barbie, two enormous whales putting on a sunset display, and the news Mad Monkey would be with us the next day, finished the day off nicely.

Meeting team Mad Monkey (Helen, Mark and son Josh taking a gap-2 years) was wonderful, despite us heading off soon afterward. They were the first ARC boat we had met. And of course we are forever grateful for their assistance!

Matt in his happy place

Matt in his happy place

With the spinnaker up we made good speed until nightfall when having taken the inland channel toward Cape York, we lost the wind completely and ended up motoring for six hours. That was the calm before… well not quite a storm, but 25 knots and a very very messy seaway with a short chop and waves over the cockpit. I ended up prone - but not vomiting! Breakfast - one mango iceblock, morning tea - one mango iceblock, lunch - one mango iceblock………

Through the saloon window

Through the saloon window

Little reef islands dot the seas all the way to the Cape

Little reef islands dot the seas all the way to the Cape

Cape York being the northernmost point of mainland Australia, and our next stop, Hope Island, being not too far away, we had plenty to celebrate.

We’d made it - to the top!!

Celebratory photo at the top of Australia!

Celebratory photo at the top of Australia!