Ligaya in Cairns Australia

Cairns is about a third of the way up the Great Barrier Reef. They obviously get plenty of rain there, as the tropical rain forest comes down almost the water's edge.

It was raining when we arrived and raining even harder when we left. While we were there it rained almost every day.

The water in the approach to Cairns is very shallow, and a channel several miles long has been dredged to allow access into the Trinity Inlet. The waterfront has obviously been recently developed and is new and shiny. The rest of the town is, shall we say, less developed and less shiny, I am trying not to use the word "seedy". Perhaps we would have had a better impression had it not been raining.
We berthed in the Marlin Marina; a modern, spacious marina with very helpful staff. We were there at the tail end of cyclone season, which is not the best time to explore the area, so we were just about the only visiting boat. It would have been much more pleasant if it had ever stopped raining.
As soon as we stop, the cleaning begins. Here the mate is busy washing down the starboard side of the boat.

Cairns is seriously geared to the tourist industry in general and the backpackers in particular.

If you took away the shops selling didgeridoos, like this one, boomerangs and "adventure experiences" such as diving, parachute jumping and rain forest expeditions etc., the town would be empty.

I had intended to charter one of the seaplanes, to go out to the reef for some pictures. In the rain and overcast conditions, it would have been a waste of time and money. There were several helicopters and a fleet of boats running reef visits, but in the prevailing weather, there were few takers for the trips.

There is an artificial lagoon for swimming, built near the water's edge. Because of the large number of crocodiles in the river, swimmers are discouraged from swimming off the beach.

One big saltwater crocodile found its way into the marina, and from that point on the boys were reluctant to be working on the swimming platform of the boat, which is only about a foot above the water level.

When we left Cairns, it was still raining. We could see almost nothing and had to rely heavily on the radars and chart plotter.

We have often speculated how Captain Cook could have sailed this coast, without charts or any easy way to fix his position. The waters are shallow, the passages narrow and the currents strong.

From Cairns, our course was to the north, towards Darwin, 1,200 miles away. Australia is a big country

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