Monday 23 May 2016

Cocos Keeling

We arrived in Cocos Keeling  on Tuesday May 17.  It is a tricky anchorage with lots of reefs to avoid.  We dropped anchor about 4:30 pm which meant we had the light behind us which was wonderful. We could see the reefs as we battled the 22 knot winds on our nose to get to the anchorage.  Upon arrival we contacted the Australian Federal Police and we were told to stay aboard and they would be by in the morning.  Carol and I went for a swim and I checked the anchor to insure it was embedded nicely in the sand bottom.  I later had a wonderful but cold shower in the downpour we had after dark.  The next day after our check in we headed for Home Island and got totally soaked from the waves as we dodged the reefs on the half hour dingy ride.  Home Island is mainly Malay and there are about 400 people who live on the island.  They have several stores, a post office, wood working shop, and a restaurant that is rarely open.  After checking the island out and purchasing a few groceries we headed back to the boat getting soaked again.  We spent the remainder of the day working on the bilge pumps which we got installed.  The following morning we again headed for Home Island this time with rain gear on so as not to get soaked again.  We took the ferry from Home Island to West Island.  It was a 30 minute ferry ride.  Upon arrival we took a bus to the main town which is near the airport.  West Island has mainly Australians and there at 120 people there.  It has the visitors center and all the government offices.  There is a fairly large hotel there as well.  We had lunch ashore enjoying the breaking surf on the reef.  After seeing what there was to see we waited for the bus to return us to the ferry to head home.  The next morning the crew member Tim on No Regrets and I made 2 trips to Home Island to get diesel and I paid the mooring fee at the shire's office which turned out to be quite an ordeal as I didn't have he correct form and the lady who normally deals with the process was away.  That afternoon I spent on Direction Island.  There is a lot of history here.  The Island was used as a monitoring station for the communication cable that was laid from Australia to Africa by the British completed in 1901.  During World War I the Germans came and wanted to destroy the cable.  Fortunately they had a dummy cable which the Germans blew up.  It was a very gentlemanly process.  The Germans wanted to blow up the tower.  The people ashore requested they not topple it onto the tennis court and the German's agreed to grant their wish.  Unfortunately the German cruiser SMS Emden ran aground on the reef off North Keeling following a sea battle with the Australian warship HMAS Sydney. Survivors were picked up but some perished trying to evade rescuers.
Saturday everyone but myself headed back to Home island as fresh vegetables were available as a ship has arrived the night before.  I stayed and lounged on Direction Island.  You can see why.( if possible include the picture I sent of Direction island, get the kids to help you insert picture).  The next morning we started our trip to Rodriguez.

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