29/09/2015 – Cocos Keeling

Wednesday evening, after dinner, John had a strike on his line, so did I almost simultaneously! I started winding mine in slowly, John allowed his fish to fight a bit longer. Eventually they were both on the surface about 15 metres behind the boat then one of them made a bid for freedom with the result that the two lines got crossed. I continued to wind mine in as John pulled the line manually, then his line chafed through and he lost both his fish and lure again. We landed a lovely mahi mahi weighing 2.5kg which John duly filleted and it is now in the freezer. As anticipated we arrived before sunrise, but dawn was lightening the sky. We anchored at about 0700 Lombok time, 0530 Cocos time. We had a busy time in these spectacular islands. Thursday we cleared in then straightened the boat out. Friday morning we snorkelled the rip along the south side of Direction Island. The current carried us along at about 3 knots and we saw some very large Unicorn fish and Bumphead Wrasse and 3 nurse sharks dozing under a ledge plus lots of other fish. In the afternoon we had a tour of Home Island, one of the two inhabited islands. Home Island is home to about 450 people of mainly Malay origin, originally brought to Cocos to work on the coconut plantations run by John Clunies-Ross. On Saturday we had an all day trip to West Island, home to about 150 of mainly Australian/European origin. Both visits were informative and interesting. Our visit concluded with a Rally Briefing and BBQ on Direction Island on Sunday afternoon. Sorry, no postcards were posted, the post office opens alternate days on each of the two islands, Friday on West Island and Saturday on Home Island! The start line was manned by Rally Control on the Police boat and we were fourth over the line and were very pleased with ourselves! The trade wind sailing was fast and a little rolly yesterday but the winds have subsided a little this morning. Not surprisingly, the fastest boats have streaked ahead, we can only dream of 8-9 knots cruising speed. We are making steady progress, though, and can report a 24 hour run to noon today of 164 nM, our best for a long time. To keep me occupied, I made up a Spanish pudding package, Coulant de Chocolade, yummy chocolate puddings with liquid chocolate in the middle. Chloe, our granddaughter, chose this package when she stayed with us on Tenerife in 2013 but we didn’t have time to make it up! Sorry Chloe, it was delicious. The loaf of bread which has just come out of the bread maker is rather misshapen, something to do with the way the boat is healing no doubt. I’m sure it will taste O.K. though. Joyce

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