Getting past Lizard island-it all starts at Cooktown — posted March 2016

I was asked to write a guide about cruising the next 80nm north of Lizard Island. It is a largely ignored region with wonderful areas to explore. However where do I begin?

Cooktown is the obvious place; it’s the last town in which to provision.

So, enjoy a walk up Cooktowns sprawling main street where old shops are spread-eagled between historic pubs, dark skinned stockman with wide brimmed hats stroll the footpath, and dusty 4wd’s are pausing on route to the cape. There is much history here, and the Cook Museum is a must visit. It’s fascinating to learn about Captain Cooks far north trials and tribulations and the areas early gold rush period.

A supermarket, laundry, fuel at fisherman’s wharf and the post office is adequate.

You will be anchored in the wide but shallow Endeavour River: surrounding hills funnel the familiar 20-30 knot SE trades into alarming 40 – 60-knot bullets that will blow your socks off, and tidal currents swing you end to end. That’s not a bad way to start a northern adventure!

 

Map showing the route taken to explore the next 80nm past Lizard island, starting at Cooktown . From there it’s onto the Cod hole and Lizard Island, the Howick group,Pipon Islands, the superb reefs and Sand Cays on the outer edge, and finishing 80 NM north of Lizard around the Flinders islands and Bathurst Heads.

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Looking up the Endevour River. It’s navigable for at least a few miles and has two excellent creeks to shelter should you need to run for cover in the summer cyclone season. The two-mile creek is used by multihulls and four-mile reef by mono’s.

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Sunset over an anchored Trimaran in the Endevour River.

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Well known northern cruising cat Aqua Safari up the Endeavour River. G’day Paul and Barb.

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The entrance of the Endeavour River is rather shallow and quite crowded with moored boats. There is plenty of places to leave your dingy and towns just a short walk. A taxi is available to bring your provisions from the top end supermarket. There are lots of good places to dine: the RSL and bowling club are very handy.

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Northern Sunsets are so very good.

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Looking across to the Dickson Range from the Endevour River.

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