We woke late for us (0715), early for Cocos Keeling (0545) … we've grabbed the 1-1/2 hour time zone change without a hitch. After a remarkably calm and peaceful night, despite the howling wind, we were all ready to embrace our new surroundings and get to work on the to-do list. First things first, however … I made a coffee cake and we sat in the cockpit to enjoy it along with our morning cuppa. We do have priorities on Nine of Cups.
The wind continues to scream, but still, sitting in the cockpit was a delight. We are surrounded by startlingly clear and vibrant turquoise blue water. It almost hurts your eyes, it's that dazzling. We can see zillions of palm trees on Direction Island, in front of which all the rally boats are anchored. Home Island, the home of the resident Cocos Malay people is about 1.5 miles away and quite clear. West Island, the administrative center, airport and ex-pat Aussie hangout is quite hazy and about 5 miles away across the lagoon. We saw a pod of dolphins swimming near the boat this morning. Supposedly the swimming, snorkeling and diving are great here on calmer days though the dolphins didn't seem to mind the wind in the least.
We had thought to move into the inner lagoon in the lee of Direction Island today, but at least four more rally boats have arrived and only one has left to our knowledge, which makes for an even more crowded anchorage. We decided we were comfortable enough where we were in Port Refuge for the time being. Besides, the wind was still blowing consistently near 30 knots and we wouldn't be launching the dinghy today … more akin to flying a kite. We're content to be captive aboard Nine of Cups till the winds settle down (and maybe some of the boats leave the anchorage). There's definitely plenty to keep us busy.
David got right to work on his to-do list. First, the cockpit GPS which we just replaced about six months ago and which he just re-wired in Geraldton. It's toast, but we have several GPSs aboard … no worries, just not as convenient. Let's move on! Taking down the jib for repair in 30 knots, probably not. Ah, yes, the whisker pole. I helped him take it off the track so he could get the sail cover on and then left him to his own devices with instructions to take pictures as he went along. His goal is to cut off the broken bits of the aluminum extension pole, refit it and make it useable again. Knowing David, if it can be done, he'll do it. He's a great MacGyver kind of guy.
In the meantime, all our our salt-water sodden clothes have been rinsed in fresh water and another load of laundered clothes are holding on for dear life pinned to an aft clothesline that we rigged. In this wind, they should dry quickly if they don't jump ship first. The wind gen is putting out beaucoup amps and the watermaker is churning away, turning all that beautiful turquoise salt water around us into to beautiful drinking water for the tank.
The Federal Police never showed up today to check us in … perhaps too windy even for them or too busy with all the ARC boats?
Still … there are certainly worse ways to be captive.