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Bali - Christmas Island - Cocos Keeling

Wed 19Sept

Found a big flying fish in the cockpit as I went to let out reefs around 5am, with the wind having lessened (slightly calmer seas also). I'd found several really tiny flying fish on deck the previous day.

Tried to sail in to Flying Fish Cove on Christmas Island this afternoon... well before 'Trudel' arrived. (They saw me pass them last night at around 2am). Thought I'd better see if they could get in without motor - especially when I was told that anchoring was forbidden because of coral, and even more so when I saw the BIG (difficult) mooring buoys provided ... not meant for small yachts. I was able to moor up under motor to the only smaller buoy (on my 1st attempt - I was pleased!!) No way they could have done it under sail - either there was no wind, in lee of the nearby high tree-covered cliffs, or there were strong williwaws... So I spoke to Harbourmaster to explain their problem - he came back to me to say they had a volunteer rescue boat which was about to go on the water ... and could help them when they came in ... which they did a couple of hours later - they were given a tow and tied to a buoy near me.
We had to clear in with customs & quarantine ...forms galore!... and later they kindly had me over for dinner.... got to bed rather late....!

Thurs 20Sept

Fuel may be OK in starboard tank - will try cleaning sight glass at Cocos and bleeding again - I may not have got so much seawater in as I'd feared.... but won't use it for time being....

Well, 'Trudel' now has a freed prop & shaft.... Had a VERY late sleep-in this morning (10.30a.m.!) and then a walk/look around onshore with Joerg who booked a taxi to take us all to the resort hotel in the SE of the island for dinner tonight - very nice of them to treat me again. I lent Sylvalie my divegear to dive on the prop to free it & she did fine. Cut away a load of very fine netting with some thick twine + lead wts - none of the really thick monofilament I'd been expecting.

I suddenly remembered that I'd figured on 3 days to sail to Cocos from here, assuming that speed is same as coming here, so best to leave very early Friday morning & then should arrive morning (or later, if a bit slower) at Cocos, so leaving this afternoon from here was not a good idea. Meant a much more relaxed day.... Have got Clearance to Cocos.... more officialdom in Oz!!

Went for a snorkel from boat to shore, over reef - amazing variety of hard corals, with the most enormous fans I've ever seen, an enormous trunkfish and lots of beautiful surgeon fish, lovely yellow butterfly fish etc etc - good variety with, as usual, several kinds I've not seen before. I'm looking forward to 2-3 days of snorkelling/diving at Cocos Keeling in sheltered waters - quite a swell came in here this afternoon and a strong onshore wind + clouds - land heating effect, I presume.

Dinner over at resort went well - good food but only two others in the dining room!! Clearly business is down. Casino has been closed for two years but they're hoping that change of govt after elections in October will change policy so Casino will be able to re-open, obviously then giving more business!

On way back tonight saw several enormous coconut crabs - got out to photograph one...

Birdlife here is pretty good, as well as crablife! (Not seen any marching red crabs as yet - although if rainy season starts early, they'll start off - first downpour brings out the males, next the females... they have "Crab Crossing - open/closed" roadsigns!!) I'd forgotten that tropic birds are also Bosun Birds - they have a yellow version of the white-tailed tropic bird here which is specific to Xmas Island.

Written by : Mike

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