It\’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…..
13-15 September 2012 (Eastern Hemisphere)
We arrived at dawn on the 13th having just passed our friends on s/v \”Ainia\” who left 28 hours before us! We had a record 235 mile day as we benefited form a lovely 2-3 knot current pushing us here.
We pulled into Flying Fish Cove and picked up a mooring provided by the harbor as to not damage their coral. How nice! The water was clear and warm. No rubbish in the bay, what a pleasure. We checked in with Customs and Quarantine and set off for a walk about town. Having gotten \”sorted\” as they say here, we arranged for a \”hire care\” (rental) and got a good old \”UTE\”. We used this to top off with lovely Aussie Diesel fuel and do a major marketing for food as this would be the last stop for groceries for about 6 weeks. We had a lovely meal out at Rummah Tinggi (Toll Booth in Malay) and enjoyed the calm anchorage. The population here is a mixture of Anglo Aussie, Malay and Chinese. Only about 1500 people live here.
The next day, I booked my ticket from South Africa to London to L.A. for just before Christmas (how ironic!) and did lots of inter-netting at the local visitors center.
An interesting feature here is the \”Asylum Detention Center\”. DETENTION: At least 10,000 people a year come from Indonesia by boat, literally hoping to be taken into custody by the Australian Maritime Patrol or Aussie Navy. Apparently, they catch near 100% of them Why? These are mostly middle eastern Arabs and Iranians WITH money, trying to get political asylum in Australia. They frequently fly first class from their home country into Indonesia with family and possessions. They then pay an exorbitant fee, risking life and limb to take a leaky tiki boat from there \”toward\” Australia. There are very few Indonesians, just middle easterners. Apparently over 99% of them are successful in gaining asylum, which of course keeps encouraging it. It is very unpopular in Australia oh btw! The hitch is, it takes 3-5 years to go through the process; the entire time, they remain in the detention centers. There are several around Australia and several have been out-sourced to the island nation of Nauru which is strapped for cash.
We took a 4WD land tour of this tropical island and it\’s rain forest. The high light was the blow holes on the west side of the island. We went by the detention center which looked like nice clean army barracks. There was a guard and no photos or entry allowed. The locals who work there even tell you that they cannot tell you much about the place. We met a gal at a restaurant who works there during the day as a yoga activities instructor ad teaches English….
Soon we\’ll be off to Cocos-Keeling Island, 550 miles to the southwest. Cocos-Keeling is also an Australian island, but much more like the Tuamotus of French Polynesia as where Christmas Island is much like Niue in the South Pacific.
The weather looks good and we expect the trip to take about three days. Stand by,
Scott and Nikki, \”Ute-ing\” around Christmas Island