23rd May 2012
Position 12:58S 94:41E
I left Cocos Keeling at noon yesterday, and a good
days run of 120 miles to this point.
Spent the previous day, my birthday, 'checking
out': it was a gray, windy, wet day, and I had to go by dinghy to Home island,
then by inter island ferry to West Island. I almost decided to stay in my bunk,
but what sort of sailor would that be? Dinghy trip was wet but ok, and at Home
island I was just in time (8.30am) to catch the fuel depot before it
closed and get some petrol for the outboard. Then all aboard to 90 seat
ferry (three of us) for Home Island. It is about 6 miles across the lagoon. The
main Aussie settlement, meaning different to the Muslim settlement on Home
Island because there is an Aussie pub instead of a Mosque, consists of a few
building scattered around the airstrip.. Clear out was at the
Police/jail/courthouse building, but no worries, mate, all done and dusted, and
time for a quite excellent flat white coffee in the beach cafe, and some fresh
food purchases from the mini market. Tried to skype home from the Island's
Resource Centre, but they don't have the bandwidth. Met probably a dozen people,
who all seemed to know that I was the skinny bloke from the yacht on Direction
Island. I am not however the Islands most famous person, that is Kim Hughes,
former Aussie Cricket captain, just a regular bloke here. Came back to Home
Island on the school ferry: muslim girls in jeans and scarfs sharing the
juicy bits of an aussie teen novel! On the trip back to Direction island the
shear pin on the OB propellor did what it is supposed to do when you hit coral,
and for a few mins it was very hard work to row up into the wind to reach the
shelter of aptly named Prison Island: a little coral cay halfway along the reef.
Improvising somewhat we made the necessary repairs, and then plain sailing back
to the anchorage.
A French yacht, with two brothers aboard, had
arrived. They will follow me to Rodrigues, in truth they will more likely
overtake and beat me there. They have a big boat, and seem a determined gung ho
team. Their boat is called Bilboa, and we will keep in touch with
Reading the history of Jerusalem, which has become
quite absorbing. Indeed having just read Howard Jacobson, and also Christopher
Hitchins Hitch 22 very recently, I begin to wonder if I am
missing something in life, but no, my normal boat wear allows a very simple
examination, I remain a gentile.
There is plenty of wind out here, so bouncing
around, but the twin headsail rig is working well at present, and lots of wood
around to touch!