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Castaway on Cocos

Robert Tuxson On Board The Uto Ni Yalo
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Vosota for the feigned secrecy about our "destination". It felt like WWII and "secrets sink subs" mentality! All this time many of you would have known that between Cabo San Lucas and the Galapagos lay a diver's delight the exotic and very green Cocos Island of Costa Rica! We arrived over 24 hours ago having taken a tack that took us into spates of wind and waves tempered by flares of doldrums.

Our time off island was efficiently spent cleaning the drua and getting her prepped for our stay here in what should be a dry hilly landscape like Baja and beyond. A quirk of meteorology has turned this almost mountainous single large island into a Rotuma look-alike. It remains for us to explore the interior to see how fertile it really is. That will come after the rangers, who we were reluctant to alert with our communications, thus the "destination" or "Mysterious Island" titles. Now that we have arrived in a big way there's no problem and after the rangers visit and permit fees are paid ($35 per vessel and $25 per person both per day) we can explore and find that waterfall we've heard about and of course snorkel and dive. The only caveat is there is no fishing with 12 miles of the island as this whole area is a national park.

From our moored perspective (we're less than 200 metres from shore) we can see coconut trees with hopefully "levu na bu". The bird life abounds around and over Cocos. From earlier research we've found out that the island is a sanctuary and there's no people (aside from rangers) living here. Rumour has it that there are feral goats which will be fair game for us as will the suspected wild pigs and deer. Wouldn't that make some lovo/koua! If only true we have crew members ready
willing and able to take part in the hunt!

The rocky/hilly windward side of the island is steep and the hillsides are full of bushes and considerable hardwood trees.

We notice fringing, but not wide beaches and one small waterfall emanating for high on the hill falling directly down into the sea. With crystal clear blue waters and patches of Porites (massive or brain corals) we anticipate a healthy ecosystem and some fine snorkeling right off the drua! Kim and others just went for a snorkel and report seeing several white tip reef shark lazing on the sandy bottom beneath the UNY. So different from Bahia Magdalena, Baja.

Mausio reports a large Peacock flounder camouflaged in the coral sand that makes up a significant portion of the "bahia".

After our Sunday devotional service which continued stressing the relationship of trees to Biblical prophesy we couldn't help but note that each devotional reading we've shared had a topical message or referred to something from our contemporary environment in this case trees.

An interesting "coincidence" that we might call Cocos the island of many trees! Looking forward to identifying varieties and perhaps enjoying some local fruits.

A little known anecdote about Cocos is that many scholars claim that the story of "Robinson Crusoe" was generated from a castaway on Cocos Island in a time before people regularly visited the island. While living a solitary life is a death sentence for some, bearable for others, it is for a few a paradise to be alone with God and nature. This island would provide a castaway with more than enough to not just survive, but thrive. The key factor is a continuous supply of fresh water, followed by food sources (birds and the sea and perhaps feral goats) and building materials in the form of plentiful trees and shrubs including "God's gift to Oceania", the coconut tree.

Our latitude is N 05 degrees and that of Galapagos is almost 00 degrees and less than 250 nm away from us here AND YET the Galapagos is teeming with reptile and bird life with many indigenous species. It is much drier than here AND YET Cocos has none of the life forms that fascinated Darwin and many others when they first set foot on Galapagos! We will need to research this and learn more about the factors that have made each so distinct.

Sunday lunch looms near and with the infusion of some of our stored meat from the Evohe, plus chocolate cake made by LeeAnn we will be in for a treat before our afternoon exploratory trek into the green undergrowth. The next article will focus on our observations and findings. You'll get a clearer picture of "la vie en Cocos"! Until that time ... tabu soro Viti ... eight weeks away and we miss our loved ones and friends and send them our loloma and hanisiof. ........our sailing stops, but our journey carries on. We are stoked with the excitement of anticipated discovery.

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