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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wonders of the World: Christmas Island!

Photo posts have never really been my thing,but then we must always try and remain flexible.

The story is from the fascinating Christmas Islands - a tropical island lying about 36 kms south of Indonesia (Java). Two thirds of this Island is national park, and the majestic rainforests, the bountiful marine life, the stunning seascapes, and the presence of  large number of endangered species of animals on this island makes this Australian territory a haven for nature lovers.

Again, birdwatchers would love this island as this is one of the world's most magnificent sea bird breeding sites. Around 80,000 birds nest on this 135 square kilometre area island every year, and you see and hear birds just about any time of the day. The evergreen forests here are the world's last nesting habit for the endangered seabird Abbot's Booby, besides also being home to the Emerald Dove, Imperial Pigeon and Glossy Swiftlet all of which are endemic to the island.

But Christmas Island is most famous for something else - the unique red crabs and their spectacular annual migration from rainforest to the sea. And it is that picture story, moi shall be sharing with you.

Tens of millions of red crabs live on Christmas Island and are the region's keystone species. Every year when the wet season starts (between October and November) the adult crabs embark on a remarkable migration from forest to the sea, to breed.

This natural 'travel' attracts both national and international visitors. During the peak season, it is possible to walk among thousands and thousands of crabs as they journey to the coast.

Every year, many crabs also get killed (mostly accidentally) while crossing over roads, human habitats etc. As a result, the island has come up with a series of plans that would help the crabs cross safely, and constant efforts are being made to improve the same.

The picture (above) is of an underground crossing built for the red crabs to pass through.

The picture (below) is a "pavement" built only for the red crabs' migration.

There are signboards placed all over the island, to ward off, warn, inform and sensitize people about this species.

It is wonderful to see, how the people care about other species on their land, and are willing and enthusiastic about going to difficult lengths to protect the species.

This is a wonderful picture of two girls on their bicycles, stopping, pedalling, stopping again, because they want to make sure they don't hurt the crabs.

Once the crabs have reached the coast, they start breeding. If you are lucky enough, you might even see some of the female crabs releasing the eggs.

Some of the best spots to see the breeding is near the blowholes, along the southern coast of the island. The Blowholes are holes in the ground where air and seawater are blown out due to waves crashing into caves in the the bottom of the cliffs. Depending on wave conditions, the water and trapped air in the caves are forced out from the holes formed at the top of the cliff caves, leading to spectacular plumes of water thrown up into the air. It is another attraction that Christmas Island is quite popular for.

So that's it for today. If you can, do visit Christmas Island some day for its magnificent migration, the teeming wildlife, the beautiful sea and marine life. If you do go there, make sure that you do not hurt the crabs at all.

Getting here: You can fly into Christmas Island via Perth, Australia. There are 4 flights every week from Perth to this Island (Virgin Airlines).

Leaving you with one of my favourite pictures of the island.

You can also read:

1) The Day I Ran With The Bulls
2) How I Met A Bear And Got Chased By It In Croatia
3) Nero goes deep sea soloing: Scariest Adventure Of My Life