The reason for travelling to Christmas Island at Christmas is to see the red crab migration, it hadn’t occurred to me to study this in any great detail before leaving and so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. If I was honest , I was probably hoping for a bit of a fishing trip, with an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Al had been getting regular updates and it looked like Red Crabs were constantly migrating from about August. Apparently this is something to do with moon cycles and the weather
When we arrived the first thing apparent, it’s a trilogy of crab migrations not just one, apparently the blokes all go down to the ocean early to get ahead of the woman folk, They do the normal things and build a home for the new bride, and hang around socialising and waiting for the ladies to turn up.
Once the ladies arrive there’s the usual courting activities, and while she is priggers he pops back to the bush for more socialising. She hangs on until a full moon and a high tide as you do and then drops her up 120,000 eggs which hatch immediately and she to heads back off to the bush.About three weeks later the little guys come ashore in their millions, we arrived in time for the little guys to come back to shore. Watching this mass landing of the youngsters is a complete pleasure and perhaps the most fascinating thing I have ever seen, the best wild life adventure since Africa in 1999.
The island takes the crab migration very seriously and as such the roads have Crab underpasses and I know, crabs can’t read to find these underpasses and like humans if it is quicker to walk before or after and underpass you will. The solution has been to put a plastic edging about 60 cm tall along the roads that funnels the crabs to the underpasses. There is also one overpass, I am not sure how successful this would be.
Crabs still die on the roads all the time, and the road is signposted to constantly remind you to drive around them not over them. Sometimes however this is very difficult and more than once the passenger had to get out and clear the way for us to proceed.
Oh and forget about the fishing although there are lots of private boats most of the fishing is for pelagic, not bottom dwellers as the waters here are exceptionally deep and drop off almost immediately from the shores. It appears there is no organised chartered fishing trips from what I have seen.
The island provides an amazing amount of walking and sites to see and of course the bird life here is very unique with a number of endemic species.