Direction Island, Cocos Keeling Islands
It’s not hard to slip right into island life and live on island time for awhile. In fact, we have! Despite chores to be done and initially feeling stressed about getting things done and moving on quickly, we’ve taken to island time just fine.
We wake and rise early … with the sun … but the rest of the day seems unhurried. We get things done, it just seems to take longer than usual. A typical day for us at the moment? I’ll share, but if you hold a 9-5 job or if you’re a high energy sort of person, you might not get it.
Morning chores for me consist of laundry which has soaked overnight in a bucket, dishes from last night’s dinner and writing for at least an hour or so. David usually downloads emails from SailMail and picks up the weather while I’m finishing up my chores, then we have a cuppa together in the cockpit. We enjoy the mornings … they’re relaxed and quiet. No dinghies zipping around the anchorage; no VHF chatter. We sip a cup or sometimes two and chat and plan our day. This morning ritual can last anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours, depending on our plans for the day or if we’re having a good conversation and time gets away from us. Actually, time seems less relevant here.
We’ve been planning an “excursion” every other day. One day to Home Island to explore; one day for working on the whisker pole; one day for snorkeling on the reef; one day to take down the jib and repair it and replace it with the yankee; one day to take the ferry to West Island; one day for cleaning the boat and getting her in shape for another long passage; one day for walking the Direction Island Heritage Trail. An excursion might last anywhere from a couple of hours to a whole day and we plan chores around this accordingly. On non-excursion days, we still dinghy into Direction Island to walk a bit and take a break from our projects. Sometimes we bring in our breakfast and insulated mugs with tea or coffee and just sit and enjoy the day from another vantage point or chat with fellow cruisers. Sometimes we just walk the beach. There are no rules.
Lunch is something light. If David’s working on a project, he’ll stop every once in a while for a cuppa and perhaps have a sandwich. We eat when we’re hungry rather than a designated time. Sometimes dinner’s at 9pm; other times it’s at 4pm. We’ve been known to have just a big batch of popcorn for dinner.
We often take afternoon siestas, especially in the heat of the day when working on deck is just too hot and working below doesn’t appeal either. These afternoon reprieves are guiltless and refreshing. Taking a cool dip in the lovely Cocos waters has been a wonderful late afternoon ritual that we look forward to. After we dry off, it’s time for sundowners … one of David’s homemade brews or a glass of wine. We like to watch the sunsets.
Evenings begin when the sun goes down. In the tropics, that’s about 6:30pm. David checks e-mails and weather once again, while I make dinner. We take turns choosing a movie from our huge hard drive collection. Perhaps, we prefer to read some evenings or play a card game or do all of the above. Wind power here has been no issue, so we’ve been free to use our computers and watch movies and listen to music and run the watermaker to our heart’s content.
Soon we’ll be back on passage. Three hour watches … 24×7, conserving water and power. About 2,000 nm to Rodrigues Island where we can lapse into island time again for a brief time.