Lizard Island 1

Lizard Island

Verena Above the water 0 Comments

Arriving at Lizard island was just a relief, our ride to here was again in a wild ocean and choppy all the way.
Getting late in the afternoon we anchored a bit outside and after a rolly night we found us a nice spot very close to the beach the next morning.

The island was named by – guess whom ? – Captain James Cook in 1770 when he anchored here to find a way through the maze of reefs whilst looking down from the island’s hills. He commented that the only land animals he saw were lizards….so he named the island “LIZARD”.

There were already 2 other boats in the bay, one we had met before at Low Islets, another one lives there for the next 6 months, as we found out later…
The weather was mostly rainy during all our stay, but often in the afternoon the sun came out and celebrated her disappearing at the horizon.

The good part of so much rain : as our roof was really clean we just collected the rain and within a couple of hours our water tanks were full again – no need to run the desalinator 🙂

sundowners on the beach

sundowners on the beach

The next morning a couple of more boats arrived and from the first afternoon it became a habit to meet at a picnic table at the beach around 5ish and have a couple of sundowners – not the worst habit, or ?
Three evenings a week the “Marlin Bar” is open for guests, providing dinner & drinks – be sure we’ve been there and got spoiled 🙂

on the way to the Blue Lagoon

on the way to the Blue Lagoon

We spent our days with snorkeling through the various bays (whenever the sun dared to come out – yes, it is winter time, even so far north! )
The bays around here are really shallow (so no scuba diving), but filled with plenty of marine life : hard and soft corals, huge giant clams, feather stars and lots of colorful tropical fishes.

Exploring the island’s walking tracks, counting the uncountable clouds of baby fishes directly at the shore…very pleasant and fulfilled days.

The Blue Lagoon

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For more then tenthousands of years the Jiigurru, the Dingaal Aboriginal people, have lived here.
Lizard’s name was Dyiigurra and it has been a sacred place, used for initiation of young men, but also for harvesting shellfish, dugongs, fish and turtles.

on the island

on the island

For the Dingaal Lizard and the group of surrounding islands has been created in the dreamtime; they saw it as a stingray with Lizard being the body and the tail formed by the other islands

Mary Beatrice Phillips Watson (1860-1881) was married to Captain Robert E. Watson, a Scots seaman who shared a bêche-de-mer station on Lizard Island with a friend. In September 1880, Watson left his wife and young son behind with two Chinese servants known as Ah Sam and Ah Leung, while he and his partner Percy Fuller made an extended fishing trip in their luggers.

A few weeks later a party of mainland Aborigines made one of their habitual seasonal trips by canoe to the island, where the Watson’s had set up his household in a stone structure close to a small creek, the island’s only supply of fresh water.

Watson Cottage

Watson Cottage

Mary had probably also inadvertently trespassed on an indigenous ceremonial ground normally taboo to women and children. The Aborigines attacked Ah Sam and Ah Leung was killed in a vegetable garden he was tending.

Mary Watson defended her small group with a gun and then, with a small supply of food and water, the three left the island by utilizing a ship’s water tank, used for boiling sea slugs. They drifted for eight days, hoping to be picked up by a passing vessel. Mary’s final diary entry ended “No water. Near dead with thirst.” Her diary was found with their remains in 1882 among the mangroves on No. 5 Island in the Howick Group off Cape Flattery, still in the iron tank. Ah Sam had died on the beach nearby. A concealed spring existed on the islet, but they had not found it. Their bodies were returned to Cooktown and buried.

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