We had to pay close attention to our sailing today to ensure we maintained more than 8 knots of speed the rest of the day, so we could arrive before dark at Cocos Island. Since we had been maintaining 8 knots for the previous 24+ hours, we knew it was feasible. But, there were some challenges to wind direction and speed, combined with rain squalls, that kept us on our toes.
We did achieve our goal and arrived at the top of the lagoon entrance at about 5:30 PM. But, there were rain squalls approaching the islands as we arrived. We were worried one of them was headed straight for the anchorage, so we quickly dropped our sails and motored faster than I had intended into the lagoon.
Just as we reached the lagoon entrance I saw two largish dark bodies moving in the water. I suddenly realized it was dolphins! A pod of 7 dolphin danced on our bows, one of them leapt 12 feet in the air!, and they even escorted us all the way into the anchorage. Very cool! Cocos Island has the best welcoming committee anywhere.
Luckily for us, the rain missed us – except for a few sprinkles – and so we didn’t get too wet while setting our anchor. We had called in to Australia customs on the way in, and the directed us to anchor at Direction Island (the designated anchorage for cruisers), and call them again after we anchored. We did, and they told us they would come by to clear us in the morning. Since our friends on Gryphon 2 are expected then, they told us to expect our clearance after they arrive.
As soon as we got our anchor set, I noticed three small shark. Suddenly there were 5 or 6 black-tipped shark around the back of our boat. These shark obviously know that a boat anchored here might drop some food in the water. Not good that they have become so dependent on boats, but it is exciting to see so much sea life so quickly here.
We are very happy to be here, and pleased that we made it here in less than 3.5 days – a total of 592 miles. More to come after we get cleared in and find a way to get Internet. We’re sending this via our sat phone.