Monday, 6 April 2015

Cocos ( Keeling ) Islands

Indian Ocean-Cocos ( Keeling) Islands- West Island  This is a good card to start as it shows the maps of the Islands. The Malay locals live on home island which was the original settlement. The airport is on West Island . So if you want to see Cocos (Keeling) you need to see at least both islands. I arrived on the Saturday and as the flight times had changed to a later arrival everything was closed except the bar/pub? Stayed in a cottage on West Island that was beside the runway. It was very nice and only a 10 minute walk into the main area. There is one restaurant open at this time of the year and the food was very acceptable. On West Island you see mostly Australians who live or work here. 

The Post office was a bit of a saga here. I was due to leave on Monday afternoon. The Post office was open on Monday morning only. But I did not check that this applied to the Post Offices on both Islands. So on Monday morning went by ferry to Home Island to see the museum and see how different this island was. When I arrived I discovered that the Post office was closed on Mondays and the Post office on West Island was open until 12.00 noon. So I had no stamps and no postcards  !!! I managed to get telephone the Post office on Home island to see if they would stay open 15 minutes more so I could get there but no joy. However I did manage to ring the administration office on West island and a young lady from Chile agreed to buy stamps for me so I could use. The key thing was just to buy only Cocos (Keeling ) stamps and not Australian.
So I was most pleased to find the stamps waiting for me when I got back to West Island. On Home Island the museum is interesting and the development office is there. While there I took the opportunity to find out about Cocos and what is happening here . There is no major promotion for tourists . The island is really a key landing strip for Australia in the Indian ocean . You cannot get loans to buy property here as banks wont lend. You need to have cash. On home island it is really nearly 95% Malay living here that have been here since the early days of plantation. This is their home. The Australian government is talking to the American government about the possibility of using Cocos as a base , like Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. So hence the reason I decided to come this year , just in case it got closed off to tourists. 

Indian Ocean-Cocos (Keeling) Islands- West Island   The water is really like this crystal clear. Had a motorised canoe on Sunday and had a great trip around the smaller islands. Wonderful sand and little small fish like you see in a fish tank. So a magical place .  It was worth coming to Cocos for that alone. Glad we were the only tourists in town. !!! 





The Post office apparently mostly had Australian stamps . So the stamp on the right was the only value they had . The lady from Chile had bought a few stamps months ago and kept them. So these are the tourist stamps you see on the left here. I can now understand why I got a lot of request for postcards from Cocos Keeling Islands. With a population of only 200 on West island and half of them are children not easy to find someone to send a postcard.

34 comments:

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