Cocos Keeling Update

Mike and Liz Downing
Tue 24 Sep 2013 07:40
The anchorage here at Cocos Keeling is off Direction Island, an uninhabited half-moon island covered in coconut palms and lapped by a lagoon of brilliant turquoise coloured water. The colour is equal or better anything we've seen and is right up there with Bora Bora in the Pacific and the Tobago Cays in the Caribbean. When the sun is out it's incredibly beautiful. However, to send this we will have to go to Home Island which has a small Malay population of a few hundred people, and Internet access. Although Australian, it's a Malay village, with Malay customs and culture (including dress), and is mostly self governing. They are all descendants from the workers brought from Malaysia to work on the coconut plantation established here. Pictures in a later entry, but transport is by golf cart or quad bike. Even the police car, with the police emblem, is a big golf cart! Home Island is about half an hour away by dinghy, but unfortunately upwind most of the way. So as it's been blowing 20-30kts all the time we've been here, the trip is into the wind and waves and on our first trip across we only kept dry by both sitting back and getting the dinghy's bow right up. In the old dinghy we would have been completely swamped and the trip would have been impossible. The 30 minute return trip across the fantastic colours of the lagoon with the wind behind really was magical. It was worth coming here just for that! We went across on Saturday, but unfortunately Internet access is only available during week days, so we need to make a second visit to send this and check up on the weather forecasts for the next passage.
The other inhabited island, West Island, is further away (about 5 miles) and has a small population of just over 100 Australians. It's where the airport is (they have 2 flights to Perth each week), the main police station (which also carries out Immigration and Customs duties), a tourist office (as well as the lagoon and beaches, the diving is supposed to be spectacular) and a few small hotels for visitors.
Have made the trip to Home Island and have connected to the internet, but unfortunately the upload speed is so slow it's impossible to send pictures. So just text for a while longer.