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_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cocos Islands

Cocos hammock

Marcy’s passage from Ashmore to Cocos Islands began innocently enough – with light trade winds, sparkling seas, intense sunlight, and soft starlit nights. The Indian Ocean seemed benign and we worried more about sun exposure than anything else. Our new bimini was doing good duty. Ginger enjoyed reading on deck.

Sunny Ginger Indian Ocean

Peter was all smiles as easy miles ticked by.

Peter Indian Ocean

Soon the ocean began showing a different mood. The wind increased, the waves became steeper, and the towing generator began to snatch it’s propeller out of the water as we surfed down the steeper waves.

gen splash

The inevitable snarl up of the towline happened quicker than we expected.

gen snarl Indian Ocean

As the wind and seas continued to build, we found ourselves living a much different life than before. Walking around the boat was impossible – we moved like monkeys in the trees, from handhold to handhold. Cooking was impossible – opening a can of beans and eating it cold was a major project. Sleeping was difficult – one’s body was alternately weightless and pulling 2 g’s, as well as careening between the bulkhead and the lee cloth. We weren’t in a storm at all, just solid 25 to 30 kt tradewinds, but the sea was made chaotic by waves coming from several different directions. Marcy is a good boat in these conditions, and we sailed quickly if not comfortably with very little attention needed on deck from us. Of course we have no photos from this time, as neither of us had any energy or heart for photography. Before long, Cocos Islands appeared ahead of us, and very quickly we were in the pass and dropping the anchor at Direction Island.

Cocos anchorage

With all the bouncing a distant memory, we pumped up Sniffy the dinghy and headed ashore to explore. This spot has been an anchorage for voyaging yachts for decades and a shelter ashore has, hanging from rafters and posts, all sorts of inventive plaques, sculptures and grafitti marking their passing.

Cocos shelter

We discovered that this uninhabited island amazingly has a solar powered telephone. With a few dollars left on our phone card, we connected with friends and family half a world away in Seattle. Incredible!

chatty Ginger Cocos chatty Pete Cocos

Soon we fell into the island routine of laundry

washer woman Cocos

and burning garbage

garbage girl cocos

and socializing with the neighbor yachts

yachties Cocos

and collecting coconuts

coconuts Cocos

and cleaning the propeller

cleaning prop Cocos

and just enjoying the view. The boat anchored behind us, the French yacht Isis, was sadly lost on a reef in Chagos a few weeks later during our passage to the island of Mauritius.

Cocos anchorage 1

While we were in the water looking at Marcy’s propeller, Ginger discovered an old ship’s anchor half buried in the sand below us.

anchor Cocos

We explored further and found one of the undersea transoceanic telegraph cables that made this island important in world war one.

transoceanic cable Cocos

Little fish darted around the coral.

Cocos fish

We enjoy snorkeling. With practice we can dive deeper and stay under longer than we ever thought possible.

Snorkel Cocos

One day Nigel of Spinnalonga set his windsurfer up and invited Peter to try.

Peter windsurf

Nigel windsurf

The wind and sun kept our batteries full. Our convertible wind and water generator is a bit of a pain to use, as the conversion process requires lots of tools and time, but the extra power has made life luxurious on board. We have enjoyed watching working our way through a DVD collection given to us by Joe of Maggie Drum. Here Marcy is swinging to the anchor and making power on a Sunday (we only fly the jack at the bow on Sundays and holidays.) We have the Australian courtesy flag on the starboard spreader for our last anchorage in Australian waters. We first hoisted it three months and 4000 miles earlier in Cairns – Australia is a big place, and we only saw a fraction of it!

Marcy anchor at Cocos

We began to run low on stores – coconuts get boring after a while – and prepared to go shopping. This involves a long dinghy trip to the neighbor island, Home Island – and will be the subject of our next post. Until then we leave you with a picture of a Cocos flower.

Cocos flower

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