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_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Monday, June 23, 2008

Northbound inside Great Barrier Reef - Cooktown

We had not seen our Aussie friend, Steve, since we met for the first time at the police dock in San Diego a year and a half ago. After a week on Marcy, we can report that Steve has set a new bar for guests. He arrived with a 750 ml bottle of fancy beer and a selection of boutique Australian wines - one bottle for each night of his visit! So, in addition to the beer reminiscent of some great micro brews from home, we've been sampling wines each night. It has spoiled the crew of the Marcy. We're
not sure if we'll be able to go back to our "vin de boit" (box wine) any time soon, but Steve has shown us that Australia has some fantastic wine. Steve also likes to cook and the main cook aboard Marcy, Ginger, has been enjoying some great meals while sipping that wine and watching Steve chop and saute.
We spied a prawn trawler (they're not "shrimpers" here) our first night at Low Islet, but we had no luck - they were anchored when we arrived and appeared to be sleeping all day with their deck lights on and their salt water pumps running. We checked on them often during the afternoon and somehow they were up and away before we noticed. As we were anchored in a no fishing zone Steve had to improvise with a fantastic veggie rice dish for dinner. It was so nice at Low Islet that we decided to stay
another night and brave the cold water for a snorkel. Low Islet is the island where Steve Irwin had his fatal encounter with the sting ray. We saw no sting rays on our snorkel but did see some beautiful coral both soft and hard, turtles and some big bright reef fish as well. The water was a bit chilly and the sun was not out so we were happy to get back to the boat to warm up after our swim. After lunch and a nap, we woke to another prawn trawler anchored near by. We jumped in the dinghy and
for a 6-pack of beer and $10 we came home with 2 kilos of prawns that had been caught about 2 hours earlier! We feasted on a large pot of them for dinner and got many jealous looks from the other boats anchored nearby. A fine end to a great day.
Wednesday morning found us sailing out of the anchorage headed northbound for Hope Island. It was a perfect sailing day, 15 - 20 knots of wind and small swell. We sailed wing and wing the whole 40 mile trip. We were sailing with a cat and a monohull also headed northbound from Low Islets who both ended up at Hope Island with us. When we arrived at Hope Island we found one government maintained mooring available which we picked up. We headed ashore to check out the island and saw a sign that gave
us second thoughts about our spear fishing plans. The sign read "Caution - crocs inhabit this reef, camp well away from the beach" No snorkeling here but we sauteed up the rest of the prawns and took them for cocktails on a neighbor boat. The steady wind has kept our batteries well charged, thanks to the wind generator, and we're slipping our mooring this morning to sail the 20 miles to Cooktown where we'll see Steve off on a bus tomorrow afternoon. It's been good for us to slow down and enjoy
a vacation pace for a week.
Cooktown update - Steve caught a large Spanish Mackerel (aka Wahoo) on the way to Cooktown, had some great fish meals and got Steve safely on his bus back to Cairns. Too bad we didn't have a camera with us for a photo of the bus because it was a small 10 seat van with a gear trailer - very back country!

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