Cooktown is so named after Captain James Cook as he ran his ship aground here many years ago. It is a small town situated at the mouth of the Endeavour River. Strolling along the picturesque river front on a hot sunny day we thought the water looked great for swimming, we then came across a warning sign, 'no swimming' 'beware the crocodiles!'. We decided it was probably best to stay on land so we kept wandering and made some music on the musical ship before meeting our helpx host.
Our hosts live about 7km outside of Cooktown on their own property and own four dogs, two horses and are currently looking after an injured owl. They are a great family with three children and we help do odd jobs about the place, cooking, cleaning, child care and work in the garden. I love their way of walking the dogs, hop on a quad bike and high tail it around the local dirt tracks to make sure the dogs have a good run! Great fun. There is an abundance of wildlife everywhere you look here, from the geckos climbing the walls indoors to the butterflies and frogs outside. There are also a few less desirable creatures: mosquitoes, cockroaches and spiders, although some of the spiders have been fascinating to observe I wouldn't want to get too close!
A family friend has introduced us to animals that fortunately we have not seen around the garden and house, crocodiles and snakes! We went fishing where the river meets the sea and although we did not manage to catch any fish (other than bait fish) we did spot a crocodile. The croc was watching us from the shore and as it got darker the sightings became more frequent. Needless to say we all stood a lot further back from the water as the croc would easily know where we were but we had no idea where he was! On the way back from the fishing we met a few non venomous snakes sprawled out on the road, they were quick to coil and be ready to attack when we stopped the car and approached them.
Fortunately we haven't angered any snakes as we've been trekking through the bush. We went for a walk up grassy hill to a lighthouse and view point and then along to cherry tree bay and finch bay. The bays had beautiful white sand beaches but unfortunately we were unable to swim again due to the possibility of salt water crocodiles lurking in the sea. Knowing we were eager to swim our host family took us to Lions Den Hotel where we feasted on pizza and chips to celebrate mother's day and then went swimming in a creek. The water was cold by Australian standards but beautifully refreshing and warm compared to English water!