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Next Stop! : Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Next Stop! : Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Saturday, 22 September, 2012

In the middle of the Indian Ocean twenty-seven islands form an atoll in a horseshoe shape which encircles a shallow and protected lagoon. This lagoon forms the remote Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Some 25km to the north is the single uninhabited island of Pulu Keeling. Both islands form Australia's smallest and most remote National Park.

The history of the islands goes back many hundreds of years and is very long and detailed. It seems that it’s been referred to as the Cocos Islands for centuries, but the name Keeling in parentheses is used to distinguish it from the other Cocos Islands in the world. Although there is still some confusion over who actually discovered them, it is believed that William Keeling of the East India Company was the first to stumble upon them in 1609.

The shallow coral filled lagoon is overshadowed by the leafy green palm trees and white sand that lines the beaches. An ideal spot for snorkelling and diving. Beneath the surface lie pristine gardens of colourful soft leather corals, cabbage like hard corals and delicate gorgonian fans. Sharks, manta rays, dolphins, tunas, turtles, brightly coloured marine fish and Kat, the lone dugong are regularly seen whilst diving.

The World ARC fleet will be anchored behind Direction Island, just north of Home Island, until the 2nd of October. Crews will enjoy the hospitality and unique way of life of the Cocos Malay people. To join community activities, participants will also be able to take the ferry to West Island.


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