Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Cocos Islands - Home Island

Home Island is where the majority of Cocos-Malay people live. They are descendants of the people who were brought from Malaysia to work on the Clunies-Ross family coconut plantations.

Adam and I took the ferry over for a visit, its a nice scenic trip. Our first stop was the Pulu Cocos Museum after we got a key from the nearby shire office.  Exhibits include small wooden boats built for the Clunies Ross family, some radio equipment, traditional Shadow Puppets for plays and history of the Cocos Islands.

We then walked to the small shopping area and had nice lunch at Kafe Ku.  The lady running the cafe is from Malaysia and prefers life on Home Island.

We walked past the Mosque then along a track that goes past Oceania House, the previous residence of the Clunies Ross family.  It is a large imposing house that is now available for tourist accommodation.  We continued on past large building that are now derelict that were associated with Clunies Ross, one is an old school. 

The Cocos Islands Jukong & Sailing Club, which I saw from a distance when I kitesurfed across, is located on a beach on the south side of the island.

We walked north past the Power Station running diesel generators (not enough solar and wind power yet) and on to the Home Island Cemetery which has a mix of Cocos Malay graves and several Clunies-Ross family graves.

I snorkelled across shallow coral reefs and a strong current to Prison Island. There is not much of it left after recent erosion from waves and the increasing sea level.  10 years ago there were about 40 palm trees on it, now there are only 3 left and most of the sand is gone.  Alexander Hare, the first inhabitant of the islands, was briefly exiled here with several of his harem when John Clunies- Ross evicted him from Home Island.

Turtle beach near the cemetery is a quiet picturesque location. 

We headed back to catch the ferry.  Locals get about on small 4 wheel UTV buggies.  There is a buzz of activity when the ferry arrives and locals get off it on jump on their buggies after a day's work on West Island.

















Oceania House






Floating rubbish washed up, most of this comes from Indonesia







Prison Island (foreground) and Direction Island (background)











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