ARRIVED CHRISTMAS ISLAND

This morning I saw the loom of Christmas Island in the distance, off the port bow before sunrise.  I was a bit surprised, I didn’t think the place was big enough to light up the horizon.  It always feels good to make landfall as expected – even in the GPS age when the average muppet can navigate like a pro.  I think this is a symptom of my earlier life before GPS when making landfall was satisfying and sometimes a relief.

CHRISTMAS ISLAND. PHOTO Christmas Island Tourism AssociationCHRISTMAS ISLAND. PHOTO Christmas Island Tourism Association
CHRISTMAS ISLAND. PHOTO Christmas Island Tourism Association

It took a few more hours for us to work our way into Cook Passage against a stiff head on trade wind.  I aborted our first attempt to get into the Cook Passage and past the first set of reefs – we headed out on the track we had come in on to revaluate.  Something was not right – the breaking water on the reefs did not seem to correspond with the charted reefs.  I have a BA paper chart and two electronic charts – a comparison between the three gave a bit more confidence, the reef is not marked on any charts but the paper chart shows thirty decimetres water depth, hence the breaking water.  Once that was sorted out and the situation reassessed I made another go and found my way into a position just off London town in shallow water.

The radio operator on Christmas Island radio advised me to anchor anywhere I felt comfortable.  Basically, that was nowhere.  There is a beautiful protected deep lagoon just off the town which I wanted to enter.  Unfortunately, the lagoon entrance is shallow and only available to shallow draft vessels, larger boats must anchor outside.  The anchorage area is exposed to the trade winds and on a lee shore – we won’t be venturing too far from the boat on our trips ashore.

The immigration, customs, police and associated people wanted to come out to Truce to clear us in.  When they saw the small size of our dinghy and the choppy sea they asked me to bring the ships papers ashore.  A much better arrangement.  Clearing in was done on a bench in a boatyard and was a happy affair.  I must go to their office on Tuesday to clear out – when no doubt they will hit me with a fee.

I discovered that Monday is a public holiday here – national youth day I think.  Saturday most things are shut, but cold beer and a store or two should be available.  Sunday everything is shut, apart from Church.  Looks like a quiet time will be had here – but you never know.

By the time we had cleared in both Jessica and I were not inclined to go ashore.  It had been a long day.  The plan is to relax on board tonight, have sundowners, a good meal and maybe watch a movie before a good night’s sleep.  Total voyage distance 1,198 miles

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