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March 23, 2005

Lizard Base Camp

Arrived on Lizard Island fine. The 60 minute flight from Cairns was without doubt the most memorable flight of my life; flying at 10,000 feet up the Barrier Reef - breathtaking stuff, truly. I've only ever known the reef as a hindrance - the end of the Pacific voyage when Moksha was nearly wrecked on the reefs just north of here. But today I saw a different perspective, one helped with altitude. It really is one of the world's natural wonders.

I had my marine chart in my lap all the way, so I was able to identify the reefs and islands down below. I can't deny that I'm a little apprehensive about this section, not least because I don't really like the Klepper design and I'll be on my own. But seeing the route from the air gave me a lot of confidence - some of the islands like Eagle Island (my first point to hit after leaving Lizard) is well vegetated, even with trees. So this would be good cover/shade if I had to stop over and rest for a while.

Bob and Tanya met me at the airport and I was able to hand off easter eggs before they melted. It was really good to see them again - nearly 4 years! They help run the research station here on the island. And thanks to the Lizard Island Resort also who were very helpful ferrying my gear down to the beach and unloading the kayak and supplies from the barge that arrived this morning.

The rest of the afternoon was spent fixing up the kayak rudder, then ferrying my gear a half mile down the beach to the campsite where I am now. I write this with my laptop on my knees on the beach where this photo was taken. It's dark now, but a near-full moon is tracking its way behind me across the southern sky. The southern cross, the mariners' point of reference in the southern hemisphere, is twinkling reassuringly above the southern horizon. This all feels good.

So apart from the mozzies that are INCREDIBLY persistant and plentiful (thanks for the buzz-off Sharon - saving my bacon right now), and the lizards that tore my loaf of bread apart on the beach earlier, I feel so incredibly happy and blessed to be here right now. This really is paradise, and so many thanks to all of you who, as always, have mucked in and help make this happen.

Tomorrow I plan to do as many sea-trial tests on the kayak to check sea-worthiness. And a lot of kayaking to around the island to get my rusty joints and muscles back in the rhythm. Then, weather permitting, off on Friday morning at first light.

Posted on March 23, 2005 10:32 AM