Day 25, Year 3: Double Island to Low Isles
Date: Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Weather: Another Windless Day; Sunny Early, Overcast Late Afternoon
Latitude: 16 degrees 22.855 minutes S
Longitude: 145 degrees 33.844 degrees E
Location: Low Isles, Queensland, Australia

We are finally one-third of the way to Darwin. We have traveled 750 miles from Bundaberg to here, but we still have about 500 miles to go to get around the top of Cape York and then another 800 from there to Darwin. So the voyage continues.

Australia is the world’s only country that is also a stand-alone continent and it is a land of extremes. From penguins to crocodiles, from desert to snow-capped mountains, and from marsupials to fantastic reef life, it has it all. But it is impossible for us to see it all in the limited time we have. We are really skirting the edges, but even that is most enjoyable. Today we arrived in the Low Isles. These are two little islands surrounded by reef. West Island has a light house that once required
a lighthouse keeper. But today, the light is run by computer and the University of Queensland Research Station operates out of here. East Island is covered with trees with mangroves all around. At low tide, there is a huge amount of reef that is exposed around both islands, but especially around East Island making it look like the plains of Africa. At high tide, however, you simply see two little green islands-one with a sand beach surrounding it and the other green down to the sea. We are still
very close to Cairns and to Port Douglas and there are lots of tourist boats that come here for the day and another load of reef boats that pass by here in the evening on their way home from a day on the outer rim of the Great Barrier Reef which is only eight miles away. But the real attraction here is the turtles. Many Green and Hawksbill turtles call this home and they are everywhere in the water. Soon after arriving, Scot Free II picked us up once again in their dinghy with the new motor, and
we went to shore. We walked around tiny little West Island, did some bird watching, and then got back in the dinghy and puttered around the coral heads surrounding West Island. This is where the turtles hang out and we so enjoyed watching them fly by us underwater and then surface for air. We could see the bommies just under us, but strangely, we saw no fish. When we got back to Windbird after our dinghy tour, I was considering getting into the water to swim with the turtles, but something kept
telling me to keep out of the water. When evening came and Donna and Gerry arrived for dinner, I saw that “something” that kept me out the water. In addition to beautiful turtles, there are also lots of little sharks here. There are even a few middle-sized ones and none that I would like to encounter face to face.

There was one other attraction here worth mentioning. The young couple from Cairns who are moored next to us prefer not to wear clothes. So we had a great “view” from where we are moored. And we were moored, not anchored. The Great Barrier Reef National Park has three mooring balls here and we were lucky enough to pick one of those when we arrived. Tomorrow we are on to the Hope Islands. These are the very low islands close to where Captain Cook ran his beloved Endeavor on the reef. Once off
the reef, the Endeavor headed for the mainland but she was leaking profusely. The Endeavor had passed some low islands on their way to the reef and Captain Cook writes that he really hoped to see those little islands once again. He did see them on his way to Cooktown and they have been the Hope Islands ever since.

080603 Day 25 Double Island to Low Isles