Cocos (Keeling) Islands

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands, affectionately known as the “sandbar in the middle of the Indian Ocean”, is a small chain of low lying islands mad up of two main atolls. Tthe northern atoll, comprises Pulu Keeling National Park, a single island, and and Australian National Park, that is a recognised international seabird rookery. The southern atoll consists of 26 islands encompassing a picturesque horseshoe shaped lagoon.  Only two islands in the southern atoll are inhabited; West Island, the gateway to the Cocos (Keeling) Island, with predominately ex-pat Aussies making up the 120 permanent residents and Home Island some 8km east of West Island and home to the 500 or so people of the local Cocos Malay community.

Most of my landscape work is that of West Island due to easy access to all its areas regardless of weather conditions.  Tiny Prison Island and Direction Island are also high on my list for capturing their ever changing scenes.  Both are a boat trip across the sometimes not so smooth lagoon, just to add to the adventure. One of my most rewarding self-imposed projects was photographing Trannies Beach (named after the transmitter towers nearby) every afternoon for an entire month during the hours of 5pm-6pm.  It really made a point that no matter how many times you photograph one particular scene, there is always something unique about each image.

Underwater photography is where it all started, thanks to my husband, Dieter.  Little did he realise when he handed me a simple film camera in a polycarbonate housing, that my love of photography would blossom into such a passion.  Taking images underwater is exciting; capturing the unique marine life and corals that most only have the chance to see either in documentaries, aquariums, glass bottom boats or when snorkelling.  I love the feel of weightlessness, the joy of being able to move around with the fish, documenting their daily lives, revisiting old friends and finding new ones that have made their homes in the coral wonderland.  My favourite subject is Kat, the Dugong, who arrived on Cocos several years ago from goodness knows where.  Kat also holds the record for having swum the furthest distance from any known dugong herd. Through my photography several first recorded sightings of fish have been documented and soon an updated list of marine species will be released for the first time in 20 years.