We’re at Cocos (Keeling) Islands. It’s 39 years and 50 weeks since I was last here. Things have changed. Back then this was still the fiefdom of the Clunies-Ross family and the locals lived in what the UN not much later determined to be “modern day slavery.” That ended in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, in 1984 the UN encouraged (and monitored) an election and the locals voted to become a territory of Australia. Despite the fact that nearly all of them are Muslim Malay/Indonesian and have little cultural similarity with the rest of Australia. I guess the offer on the table was better. And judging by what Australia has spent here, I’d guess it was. Now the islands have pretty much all the 20th century conveniences. The internet service is OK, but not great, so I won’t claim 21st century (yet).
Along with the modernization come the regulations. We cruising boats are relegated to a tiny little area at the north end of the lagoon, away from town. It’s very pretty, but not the best anchorage. Any further into the lagoon would be “too risky” according to the port official. But we have a nice sandy beach on a deserted tropical island with palm trees waving in the breeze overhead, sharks and other fish swimming around the boat, crystal clear water (cool, but pleasant for swimming as long as you don’t stay too still) and we can dinghy into town.
CKI (we want to talk like the locals) is a nice stopover after 2000 miles of ocean. There are a couple of cafes so we don’t always have to cook, and they’re cooking a different cuisine than we’ve had in Aus/NZ for the past 8 months. There are a couple of stores if you need to stock up on out-of-date goods or maybe just get a little of the longer lasting fruit and veg (apples and oranges, onions and potatoes). And overall it’s just a pleasant place. The people are all friendly, and smile, and actually seem to be (we haven’t pulled back the covers) relaxed.
The saddest part of the modern world is found on the windward beaches, where modern trash from the rest of the world washes up on the beaches. Don’t look, and just go to the leeward beaches, it’s much nicer there.
And then this special photo, just for Ken