A little excitement  builds as you reach iconic Lizard Island, 50nm North of Cooktown. The fabulous anchorage of Mrs Watson’s Bay usually has 5-20 boats parked within. A more protected and beautiful place is hard to imagine; a perfect location to relax and meet like-minded boaties. It’s magical beach, and clear water are very enticing. Unfortunately for snorkelers, the bay’s coral was damaged from Cyclone Ita in 2014 and then again in 2015 with Nathan. Another snorkelling option is just around the corner in the glorious Blue Lagoon where the coral is excellent. It’s also definitely worth a hot walk or wet dingy ride to visit the research station on the edge of the lagoon. They give an informative talk just for the benefit of boaties most Mondays at 11am.

The walks around the island are enjoyable exercise, especially the trek up to the 358m Mount Cook lookout. You will see the same gap between the barrier reefs that Captain Cook saw to plan his escape back into the open ocean.

Twelve NM east from Lizard at the end of Ribbon Reef ten is The Cod Hole, where two public moorings make it easy to get up close and personal with big Potato Cod. But don’t try feeding them your recent fishy catch whilst under water—when around food they grow bigger and bumpier and if you survive their attention there is a risk of getting your fingers bitten off by a reef shark!

Now, it is time to overcome inertia and escape from your Lizard paradise and the pleasant little islands near by. The flimsy internet reception and the few remaining trappings of civilisation will soon disappear…look at the obscure cruising guides …heading father north—you are just about on your own!

Our next blog post will take you about 40nm further to around the Howick group of Islands.

P.S. Since writing this article severe coral bleaching has occurred 2016 & 2017 in our far northern reefs and this has  affected  coral in the places I have mentioned in this blog post.d2-View-fromwatson-isl-tothe-main-land

The coast taken from Lizard island


A complex relationship exists between this large Moray Eel and various members of the Potatoe Cod family that reside at the famous Cod hole. Which is  located the top end of Ribbon Reef Ten.


One good reason not to feed fish underwater at the Cod Hole. A little nip over the hand from this Grey Whaler could severe an artery and be fatal. Ouch!


Sunset over Mrs Watsons Bay.


The beach at Mrs Watsons bay just before sunset is a great place to catch up with fellow boaties and  watch the sun go down.


You need to climb Mt Cook to about this vantage point to receive decent phone and net reception. But it’s not a hardship with a view like this.


Map showing Lizard Island and the Code Hole. Ther are lots of diving and fishing opportunities. Behind Eyrie Reef at low tide is a great place for kite surfing the trade winds.



Anchorages dont get much better than this.


The author playing with a school of ice fish.


Potatoe Cod checking out the visitors.




The cod hole is perhaps the only place in the world where you can interact so closely with these big fish.

          Sea slugs found in the Blue lagoon Lizard Island.

We recently snorkelled a patch of coral in the beautiful Blue Lagoon with sharp-eyed sea slug enthusiasts Paul and Barbara Banks. To our amazement, they found 23 individuals from eight different species in just over an hour and in only 1 to 3m depth of water. We returned with our own camera the next day. Below is a few of our favorite species.

Nudibranchs in the Blue lagoon

Nudibranch in the Blur Laggon



Lizard Isl blue lagoon nudibranch

Nudibranch in the blue lagoon


Click here to view more of our images of Lizard Island 

* Click here to view more of our images of The Cod Hole


2021 Christmas at Lizard Island  

Such a pleasure sharing our our special day with three other boats. The weather was calm, great food and wonderful company. 

Anchored in Mrs Watsons Bay on a calm chistmas day.

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