Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
Join Date: May 2006
Thanked 121 Times in 109 Posts
Rep Power: 11
Re: around the world in 898
Cocos-Keeling is very interesting and quite beautiful. It is a fairly big atoll with a lagoon that is quite shallow in most places. They have designated an anchorage for yachts off a little island that is uninhabited. There is a ferry that stops there a couple of times a day. The beach is exquisite, perhaps the nicest I have every seen and the locals come over on the weekend to enjoy it. Rest of the time it is only cruisers - I think there were about six boats when we there. There are two inhabited islands. The one nearest the yacht anchorage is the biggest and the population is entirely Malay (~500 people?), the descendants of the workers who were brought in to work on the copra plantations back in the day. The other island has the mainland Aussies and a few ex-pats on it. There are a couple of guest houses and there are flights from Perth but it is quite expensive. You can get provisions but they are really expensive since they have come by air.
I think it costs the Aussies a lot of money to support the island but I think they do it since the 600 mile limits around these islands and Christmas Island give them control over a huge bunch of sea bed that may or may not worth something some day. Both islands are major destinations for refugee boats. The ones going to CK come from Sri Lanka. It is an incredible undertaking. They come in fishing boats that are 50 or 60 feet long. There is no trained crew. They show the people on board how to control the engine and read the GPS and off they go. it is not poor people who are coming, but quite rich folks from all over Asia who are prepared to spend a few years in an internment camp until they are allowed to stay in Oz (almost all are accepted). When we were in Christmas they brought in 50 or so people from one these boats. When we were in CK they took four of the boats that they had seized a few miles offshore and burned them.
After the refit we have decided to sell Ainia. We want something smaller that would be could for the light summer winds of Lake Ontario, although we plan to spend at least a couple of winters in the Caribbean before heading north.