19-21 September 2012 (Eastern Hemisphere)
We arrived at Cocos-Keeling Island after an exactly 3 day passage from Christmas Island. It was uneventful and a nice sail.
Upon arrival, we noticed the 150 Australian Customs vessel and two small boats which had come in with boat people from Sri Lanka. Apparently, the Sri Lankans head their clients here as it\’s closer than Christmas Island. We learned that the going rate from Sri Lanka is about $8,000.00 pp/US. AND, no crew comes along on any of these \”Leaky Tiki\’s\”. If crew come, they are arrested and prosecuted. So at the last minute, someone aboard is given essentially a hand held GPS and \”follow that line\” instructions. Wow! No experience and sent 1500 miles out to sea on questionable vessels. The boats themselves are taken out to sea and burned by Australian Customs. This is another reason they get a premium fee as the boats are \”throw away\”.
Here on Cocos, there is essentially two communities. One on Home Island, former copra plantation of the Clunies-Ross family, and the other is West Island where most of the ex-pats live and is the center of the small tourist industry here. There is a ferry that goes from Home Island to West Island every day, several times a day, but only comes here to Direction Island, twice a week. We took the Ferry to Home Island yesterday and found out about topping the diesel off, grocery shopping (pretty weak!) and paying our $50.00 Australian for a weeks right to anchor here.
We did a big walk and got an internet fix at their small business center. We had a rice/noodle lunch at their one and only cafe. After that, it was back to Beach House and Nikki has been working on her Celestial Navigation skills. First two sites were worked out and she did virtually a perfect site. Beginner\’s luck? Naw, she\’s good!
This morning, Peter from Germany aboard s/v \”Mango\” and I took our dinghy with jerry cans to fill up on Home Island, about a 20 minute trip. The weather has turned a bit nastier and I got pretty wet on the ride. We\’re seeing our first rain in three months here! It looks like it will be a bit unsettled for the next few days as well, so we\’ll plan our departure accordingly.
We were going to go back to Home Island with the dinghy today and take the ferry to West Island, but we\’ll leave that to be \”weather dependant\”.
There are 8 boats here now. One from the UK, three Americans, one Canadian, one German, one South African en-route to OZ (a power cat!) and one unknown.
The water here is perfect. Warm, clear and lots of fish and well trained black tip reef sharks. These are the \”hamsters\” of the shark family and only hang around to see what goodies we might throw off the boat. If we go swim with them, which I may later, they\’ll flee very fast. However, if you spear fish around them, they\’ll steal your catch right off the spear. As I don\’t do any of that, no worries. Friends John and Paula on \”Mr. John\” recounted when they were here years ago how the black tips would come in when they saw a diver spear fishing. Not so dumb animals after all!
Stand by, hope to tell more before we\’re off…. KIT,
Scott and Nikki (working out those sun shots…:-)))