Bye, Bye Christmas…Onward to Cocos-Keeling……

Bye, Bye Christmas…Onward to Cocos-Keeling……

17 September 2012 (Eastern Hemisphere)

Dear F&F,

We spent our last day at Christmas Island doing some emailing and interneting as we\’re getting close to being truly \”off the grid\”. We do expect some wifi at Cocos, but that\’s it for up to 6-8 weeks.

We did a driving tour of the island and the rain forest habitat seems in very good shape. We drove by the entrance to the Detention Center, but clearly would not be invited in for a tour. Apparently, the Aussie media hangs out on the island waiting for the latest \”at sea\” disaster story. Unfortunately, a bad one happened about 3 weeks ago.

As we were getting ready to depart, we saw our first human trafficking boat moored in Flying Fish Cove. The folks were all in new life jackets provided by the Aussie Navy, everyone seemed tired, but calm. The authorities very professionally escorted them ashore and to the awaiting busses for transport to the center. It was interesting to say the least to see this first hand. The Aussie maritime patrol and Aussie Navy are effectively permanently stationed at Christmas Island. Apparently, the boat people are brought in about every other day….. Their border security is of course easy compared to that of many nations as they have a significant body of ocean surrounding the nation. Nonetheless, it\’s still a big issue \”down under\”.

Both ourselves and s/v \”Ainia\” left the island under very nice conditions. Within a few hours, we were both hailed by Australian Maritime Patrol and identified. They\’re quite professional and efficient. The conditions have been pretty comfortable, winds around 14-18 knots from the ESE, swell at 1.5 to 2.5 meters, little in the way of breaking sea. We\’ve the full mainsail and reacher up for the last 24 hours. The current doesn\’t seem as strong on this leg, but we\’ve got a bit to help push us along.

Cocos-Keeling is the furthest west point of Australia, some 1000 miles northeast of the mainland. It\’s a group of two atolls, very similar to what Cindy and I experienced in the Tuamotus. Tourism is the main industry and something less than a few hundred people live there. What \”detention facilities\” they may or may not have, we\’ve no idea.

Sailing along, 344 nm to go as of this writing. Position is: 11 deg 04 min S x 102 deg 43 min E. Soon, we\’ll be in double versus triple digits on our longitude, every getting closer to the Western Hemisphere…. I\’ll write more on it when we get there, but Cocos-Keeling will represent \”Beach House\” going half way round the world from our most eastern local, Bahia Herradura in Costa Rica.

KIT, Scott with Sleeping Nikki