AUSTRALIA – Darwin & Cookstown

Above is a beautiful full moon as we cruise along the cost of Australia off Queensland.

I am so looking forward to being in Australia.  I’ve never been here and I love every Australian I have ever met.

Our first stop was in Darwin and I took a harbour cruise – yeah, I know – I’ve been on a cruise for four months, but I did.  Interesting tides out here.  Of course we are coming into a full moon which has an effect on the tides, but here you can find a range from approximately two feet at low tide to 23 feet at high tide.

The old Darwin lighthouse was built in 1893.  It was de-manned and automated in 1933 and continued to work until 1971 when the light was extinguished, transmission masts were installed, and it became a daymarker.  However, on Christmas eve 1974 Cyclone Tracy devasted the area and damaged the transmission masts.  Within a month a low powered lamp was installed and it is still operating today using solar power.  It has weathered a war and many cyclones since 1974 as it continues to guide ships at sea. 

 We learned a lot about the roll Darwin and the Australians played in WWII, and how the Japanese attacked this area.  I learned that there was a co-ordinated bombing attack by the Japanese which hit Darwin and Pearl Harbour at exactly the same time.  The info here just stood to underline what I have been learning all down through this area and have mentioned in earlier blogs.

Our next port was supposed to be Cookstown and I was going to be visiting Black Mountain and the Lion’s Den Pub.  Black Mountain is a huge labyrinth of granite that originally formed beneath the earth some 240 million years ago.  Erosion has exposed the rocks which are “stacked precariously on one another seemingly defying gravity”.   There are mysterious tales about the mountain,  with people and even herds of cattle disappearing without a trace.  The ancient aboriginals  considered it sacred and is important in aboriginal mythology and contemporary legend.  After Black Mountain we were to stop at the Lion’s Den Pub, built of iron and timber in 1875.  It is known for its quirky decorations, 100 year old mango trees, and the offbeat characters who often drop in for a “coldie”.  Now doesn’t that just sound like my kind of tour!!!!

Well it wasn’t to be. The full moon and the tides, and the wind and the swells of the ocean were all taken into consideration and this port was cancelled.  It was an anchor port and deemed dangerous for the tenders to take people back and forth from the ship.

Oh well,  I love sea days, so it just gives us an extra day,  and a night to go out on the town in Cairns.  (Pronounced – Canns)  No R.

Saling along the coast of northern Australia

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