The Gull Reef Club

6/12/2005

Cuckoo for Cocos

Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:33 pm
cocosislands

Happy Sunday, beachcombers. Tonight’s Sunday Postcard is inspired by The Gull Reef Club’s visitors logs. I saw someone visited here from a country called the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Despite fancying myself as a amateur geography buff, I had never heard of this place before. I will use this postcard to return the visit and learn a little something while I am at it.

The Cocos Islands are one of the Indian Ocean’s best kept secrets. 27 tiny islands make up this territory of Australia. These maps will help orient you to the atolls. According to this site Cocos Tourism – the islands didn’t even exist when our last postcard, the Roman Ruins, were at the height of their civilization. In fact, there were no inhabitants until the 1820′s. The people maintain residences on only two of the islands – Home Island and West Island, with a total around 600+ people living there.

In the last week I spent finding resources on the Cocos Islands I think I’ve seen just about all there is to see. This place is so incredibly tiny. The 27 islands make up a total of 14sq kilometers. There are only 15 kilometers worth of roads. There is one landing strip and two planes that arrive in and out of the Cocos Islands every week. There are two schools to educate about 150 students. If you are looking for a paradise in the middle of nowhere, this is it.

There are a few very nice galleries that will help you get an idea of what the area looks like. First we have some photos of the lucky Karen Willshaw, a citizen of The Cocos Islands: Ikan Images. Next, Windsurfing in Western Australia brings us on a nice little tour. CR-Photo, a German website, has a nice gallery also. The Australian government has a mediocre gallery (the pics are a bit small for my liking) featuring the everyday life on the Cocos Islands. The best gallery I found is that of Jonas Lorch. He has the most complete Cocos Islands online photo gallery.

If you visit the Cocos Islands, it seems there are two ‘must do’ activities. One is to go scuba diving in their abundant coral reefs. Cocos Dive hosts a stunning gallery of life under the sea around the atolls. Another activity that shouldn’t be missed while visiting the Cocos Islands is a guided tour of the Pulu Keeling National Park. Home to an abundant ecosystem of rare vegetation and animal species, the park is only accessible by boat (and even then you have to swim in the last few meters). Once you’ve covered these spots, had supper with one of the local supper clubs, and slept on the beach a few days, you’ve done just about everything there is to do on the Cocos Islands. Of course, setting this pattern on repeat for a few weeks could prove to be quite therapeutic.

I reluctantly pack up to leave the Cocos Islands. I had no idea what to expect when I first ran across the name of this wee territory in my visitors logs. This trip has been a delight. Thanks to my anonymous visitor from the Cocos Islands for the inspiration.

Selamat jalan!

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