On Location Christmas Island: Enjoy The Birds Without Catching Crabs


a brown booby with her chick (still wearing white)
a rocky islet in Flying Fish Cove
a silver bosun wondering what all the fuss is about
Ethel Beach

Have A Look At Those Boobies!

Isolated islands are often home to endemic species found nowhere else, and so it is on Christmas Island, now in the midst of its annual Bird And Nature Week, this year running 5-12 September.  Birdwatchers are well known for their dedication to feathered friends and think nothing of crossing the globe for a good look at a pair of brown boobies in the sun or Christmas Island hawk-owls in the night.  Unlikely ever to be a mass-tourism destination attracting hordes of visitors, Christmas Island Tourism Association understands that niche marketing is the way to go, and having such a devoted niche serves the island well.

An exclusive group of birdwatchers is currently enjoying personal touring in small groups led by dedicated experts in their fields.  This week's activities include walks through the gloriously unspoiled forest with expert birders—and those are just the participants.  The guides themselves are renowned in their fields and offer intelligent explanations without resorting to the type of scientific lingo that leaves neophytes passing the time by wondering what to have for dinner.

Christmas Island can keep visitors busy for weeks, especially if they time their visits right.  In addition to birdwatching, the annual red crab migration is another major draw.  In the months of October and November, people come from far and wide to witness the crabs' relentless march toward the sea, which is done with amazing precision.  The female releases her eggs at the high tide of the last quarter of the moon; the release must occur before sunrise during this spring tide. The well known red crabs are only one of the fourteen species of crab on the island, and locals do everything to avoid interfering in the crabs' (and other animals') lives.  No one catches crabs here. 

In the sea, Christmas Island also gives many presents.  Abundant marine life in clean, clear waters make for excellent diving conditions, enjoyed by enthusiasts as devoted as the birdwatchers to their pursuit.  Christmas Island is one of the few places in the world where deep-sea fishing can be done from land.  How is that possible?  Christmas Island, jutting as it does straight up from the sea floor, is not surrounded by a continental shelf, meaning the deep blue of the ocean—and its deep-sea inhabitants—are just off the cliffs.  Of course, if you want to go out on the water, boats for fishing charters are easily arranged.

For more information, visit the website of the Christmas Island Tourism Association.  CITA is a helpful resource in planning a visit and is accustomed to assisting travellers and agents who find it difficult to book trips themselves.  Island Explorer Holidays is Christmas Island's wholesaler and is able to put together the flights, accommodation, and activities desired and present them as an all-in-one holiday.  Right now, Australians and New Zealanders can fly most easily through Perth, flying Virgin Blue from any of the mainland state capitals (as well as Darwin) to connect with flights to Christmas Island, which currently depart Perth three days a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays).  From Asia, access via KL or Singapore on Malaysia Airlines' Saturday charter flights is easiest.  Isolated as it is, Christmas Island is only one stop away from most of the major population centres of the world; whether coming from London, Paris, Frankfurt, Shanghai, Tokyo, Mumbai, or Johannesburg, visitors are able to connect through Asia with little fuss before they arrive in one of the planet's unique getaway destinations.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: R.L.B

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