September 21-22, 2012 (Eastern Hemisphere)
Well Peter and I of s/v \”Mango\” topped up our fuel. The Co-op at Home Island charges $2.42 Australian per LITER! That\’s about $9.30 per GALLON US. So 21 gallons (80 liters) cost 200.00 US! If you think you\’re paying a lot at the pump, try filling up here! Most of the locals have electric powered or gasoline powered 4 wheel ATV\’s and golf carts. This island is only about 1.5 miles long by a quarter mile wide. Come to think of it, I don\’t think we saw a car anywhere on Home Island.
It\’s interesting to see the Malay community on Home Island in full cover up and head scarves for the women and skull caps for the men driving around golf carts on a tropical island! The call to prayer can be clearly heard here at the anchorage 2 miles away. Another interesting fact is that we can see no real industry of any type here. We see a very few stores and infrastructure support, but no real sign of anything else? Apparently there is a move to start a boutique gourmet food business with genuine \”Cocos Island Sea Salt\”. They\’re using a drying technique for the sea water that is very slow, but very traditional. The article I read here says that unemployment is as high as 65%. There is a rumor that a new detention facility will be built here and that may become the local employer. Otherwise, it\’s \”centrelink\” (welfare) for most of the Malay population on Home Island.
The ferry here is brand new. One of the crew told me it cost 1.8 million USD! Air conditioned, fast, attractive, 600 hp Caterpillar diesel engines. Yesterday, when we went to come back to Direction from Home Island, the new Ferry (3 months old), wouldn\’t start! So we had to take the old ferry back here to Direction Island. Ah Paradise….:-)
We made the trip in the dinghy to Home Island from Direction Island, not too wet. Then took the \”new\” ferry (back working now). It\’s computer got fuzzed up which is why it stopped working yesterday. The trip was 25 minutes and a brand new dock facility is on West Island. It\’s been open only 6 weeks.
Think they\’re building up the infrastructure? The main use of the ferry is to bring the high school students back and forth from Home Island to West Island which is why I\’m sure the money was spent.
We took the shuttle bus into town. Town has 200 people. We learned that there are about 450 on Home Island. We went to the super market which is a local Mom and Pop. It was much better stocked than the one on Home Island. We went to the Visitors center, did some internet and walked about the area. The golf course here has 9 holes and like a few other Pacific Islands, the fairways are part of the run way for the jets. So of course, sometimes you can\’t play! If you came here to surf or dive and sit for awhile, it seems you\’d have good options. There is a dive company here, but they won\’t come over the to Direction Island to pick anyone up. The one and only resident Dugong live on the entrance channel to Direction Island. We may take a ride and see if we can find him/her.
We\’re watching the weather and will leave as soon as things settle. This may be 1-3 days.
Stand by, Scott and Nikki