Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Quick Update:Thoughts on the Cocos Islands and Amara's Current Position

Thoughts on Cocos Islands, by Martin:

"We spent 4 days in the Cocos Islands. An atoll west of Bali by about 1200 miles.  The islands reminded me alot of the beautiful palm covered islands of the South Pacific.  We anchored in a small lagoon off of Direction Island with a beautiful sandy beach and the trade winds providing a nice cool breeze.  Black tipped reef sharks circled the boat endlessly waiting for a handout. Snorkeling in the marine reserve proved to be spectacular as we saw the largest unicorn fish of the whole sailing voyage, manta rays, and several large sharks and a barracuda .  We hosted a party onboard AMARA with the seven other yachts in the lagoon. As a result we made some good friends to keep an eye on each other as we do our crossing of the Indian Ocean.  We were also able to catch up on the internet and reprovision in the local store, but had to pay dearly for it.  A head of lettuce was $9, bread was $8, and tomatoes were $2 apiece.   We made some friends that took us diving to a wreck with some great fish life and then crayfish hunting (clawless lobster).  

On our last day, we traveled over to West Island and got the full tour by our friends.  They were proud of having the only international airport that wasn't fenced in and was indeed the center of a golf course.  I didn't want to tell them that there is another unfenced international airport I'd been to in Antarctica.  Local life moves pretty slowly in these parts without much changing day to day.  There are only 80 adults living on West Island.  The one exception is that they have a perfect location for kiteboarding and have a school there that supports the sport.  We considered giving it a another go, but then decided we would be better off if we got an earlier start toward Mauritius.

We are currently 500 miles out to sea on our way to Mauritius, with 1700+ miles still to go, and the Indian ocean proving that it is indeed rougher than South Pacific.  We debated at length the pros and cons of sailing over the top of Madagascar versus under it and finally made the decision to sail beneath it, knowing that we will be more exposed to any of the dreaded storms coming up from the southern ocean.  I've finally found my sea legs again and have just finished reading the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, a book by Clayton Christiansen called "How to Measure Your Life" and also a book about the Australian outback.  Unfortunately the hard drive with all our movies aboard crashed, but we were able to salvage the TV series Newsroom and have been enjoying it immensely, tonight being our tenth and final episode.  You take what you can get when you're a at sea."

Amara's Current Position and Some Messages to Fellow Travellers:

"AMARA is at 14 degrees 27.3 minutes South and 87 degrees 41.4 minutes East doing 184 miles per day.
I think we are about 140 miles to the north east behind Sanctuary and ahead of Doug on Fellow Traveler.

After much consideration regarding Ken's council (another cruiser), we decided to head for Mauritius instead of Madagascar.

Christine, congrats on a 40 lb Mahi Mahi unless of course your 40+ meant you caught more than 40.  Save some for us!!"