A DAY OUT ON CHRISTMAS ISLAND

This morning we had a run ashore, in fact by the time we had ourselves ready it was almost lunchtime.  The wind and waves at the anchorage are too much for the small rubber duck so we had to launch the pig which has been languishing on the foredeck for months undisturbed.

Jessica bailing a full boat load of water
Jessica bailing a full boat load of water

This is Jessica’s first experience with the pig and she seemed to take my warnings to be careful a bit too lightly.  Together, we could just manage to lift the pig and sling it over the side.  The best way to launch even if it does mean there will be a bit of water to bail out.

The trip ashore was very wet, the twenty knot trade winds coming uninterrupted across the lagoon whip up a small sea.  Luckily the water is warm and its no hardship.

When we arrived at the dock a surprising event occurred.  I asked Jessica to hop onto the dock first.  As she proceeded to alight she performed an uncoordinated pirouette followed by a squeal, some small boat gymnastics (that I have only seen surpassed by her mother) and then a large splash.  I found myself sitting bin a boat full of water and quickly rescued the valuables and myself to the safety of the wharf.  From the wharf, I looked down at a boat full of water and Jessica clinging to the side.  Quite how this happened I am a loss to explain.  Anyway, based on the you caused it – you fix it philosophy, Jessica started bailing.

Just then a guy called Rab, wearing a NZ Rugby Sevens shirt turns up and we get chatting.  He tells me a few interesting things about the Island, where to get cold beer and offers to find us some fresh local fruit on Sunday.  He also gives us a large papaya that he happens to have in his truck.  Then he offers to fill our diesel jerry can and bring it back for us.  Wonderful.

By this time Jessica has clambered out of the water and is now complaining about jelly fish stings.  We set off into town – as Rab says you can’t get lost.  The main street has tarmac between the pot holes, soft tarmac that squashes as you walk on it.  We visited most of the shops in town and bought a little something at each one.   Finally, I found full crème powdered milk – no non-fat rubbish for these people, they understand the value of full fat.

After the shopping, we headed towards some loud music and found the Lady Wheel Bar.  I drank an almost cold Heineken and Jess had a warm coke.  I wondered why they needed chicken wire over the bar – reminded me of the Blues Brothers film.

When leaving Truce at an exposed anchorage I can never really relax ashore so we headed back out for another soaking in the pig.  Boarding Truce in the seas was a bruising affair – I now have bruises on bruises.  Jessica has had her first experience with the pig – now she understands its malevolent attitude if not treated with the utmost respect.

There are no other cruising boats here.  Not many boats come here, the customs man reckons there have been ten in total for 2017.  I suppose the lack of a protected anchorage is a big drawback, although catamarans could easily assess the protected lagoon by the town which would be perfect.  There is a weekly flight here now from Fiji and Honolulu, tourism is being developed – I would say they have a long way to go but the potential is there.

I was thinking about all the remote places I have been and think Christmas Island must be the remotest I have been to in terms of distance from major cities.  The people we have met here are all very genuinely friendly and helpful.

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