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Cocos Keeling Cruising Report

By doina — last modified Sep 14, 2004 01:21 PM

Published: 2004-09-14 13:21:09
Countries: Cocos Keeling

Lilly Vedana & Thomas Mueller, Yacht MIZMAE, 2001

Updated August 2004 by Tudor Roman on DANERA

The beautiful atoll of Cocos Keeling in the Indian Ocean has currently 100 mostly Australians and some 500 Malay people living on it. Apart from the other uninhabited islands, three islands are of interest for the sailor. Direction Island in the NE, where you arrive and where the yachts anchor. Home Island, where most of the Malay and a few expats live, 2 miles south of Direction Island and accessible by dinghy. Last not least West Island, where the international airport, authorities and most of the Australians live.

When closing in to the northern tip of Direction Island and entering in the lagoon, leave the red beacon on your port side. New beacon installed June 2001. Turn slowly east towards another red marker buoy into the lagoon of Direction island. Eyeball your way over the bar 1nm west of Direction islands beautiful beach. There is at least 2,5 mtr of water over most of the bar at low water. All yachts and authorities monitor VHF ch. 20 (repeater) and some even 16. Ask for directions. We do certainly not recommend to enter the inner lagoon at night. It is easy to anchor off the bar in 10 mtr of sand just south of the red marker buoy and wait for daylight. By then you are well out of the swell. Advise Customs on VHF Ch.20 about your arrival and use the heavy duty yellow quarantine buoy to wait for the police officer to clear you. The quarantine buoy was new in June 2001, complete with catch lines and excellent ground tackle (OK in 2004). Clearance is free of charge, very friendly and uncomplicated, but can take a while to achieve as the officers have to come by boat from West Island. Even though Cocos Keeling is part of Australia, it is treated as an overseas clearance even when you come from Darwin. Australian visas are required. Fresh produce will not be taken away provided it is kept onboard.

On Direction Island you can find 2 tanks catching rain water for laundry and shower. Also telephone for local calls, toilets, BBQ facilities, tables and chairs for excellent sundowners.

On Home Island you find drinking water (small charge when brought with the barge), diesel (1.80 A$ in 2004), LPG (6,70 A$/kg in June 2001) and gasoline for 2.10 A$ per liter available from the Marine Center on Home Isl. Also on Home Island is a post office, tourist information center, museum, a health clinic, a small supermarket, an Internet Shed and ferry to West Island. The supermarket on West Island has a slightly better selection. Fresh produce depends on the arrival of the supply ship from the mainland, so cannot be counted on.

West Island: Supermarket with duty free shop, internet access, post office, small hospital, restaurant, bank, International Airport (doubles as golf-course) with flights to Perth (twice per week) and Christmas Island, dive shop, some small repair shops.

However, if you need repairs or parts, see Allan Curyer first so he can point you in the right direction or help you to locate parts in Perth with the help of Coastal Marine, a friendly supplier of all parts available in Perth. But watch the freight cost and your deadlines so you don't get too surprised.

It goes without saying that Cocos offers great snorkelling and diving in crystal clear water, good beach walks, great camaraderie amongst the yachties, fun BBQ's with the local expats and interesting history. But best of all we liked The Ripp, a small channel on the southern side of Direction Island, marked with some floating buoys. You will get carried away under your snorkel, not only by the current but by the abundant fish life there. But it's strictly a "No fishing zone" ! Cocos Keeling is a very friendly place, laid back and offering an excellent anchorage. Have fun!

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