If you have ever watched a BBC nature documentary, you have most likely heard of the annual red crab migration which is synonymous with Christmas Island. Millions of red crabs migrate from the rainforests that shroud the entire island, and make a dash for the ocean to lay their eggs. This natural event happens nowhere else in the world and is the reason why many people travel from around the globe for their chance to witness the “March of the crabs”.
What you might not know, is that there is a world class underwater environment surrounding this isolated dot of land in the Indian ocean. Crystal clear blue water, spectacular sea caves, pristine coral reefs, and a rugged coastline where lush green rainforests kiss the sea.
Diving here is a bucket list item, especially when there is a chance you might see the largest fish in the ocean, the Whaleshark. As millions of crab larvae float in the ocean after the annual spawning, whale sharks and manta rays appear out of the blue. They literally come up from the deep blue ocean beneath us. But the spectacular Perpendicular Wall was a favourite spot, as reef sharks cruise the deep drop offs, coral fans extrude from underwater ledges, and schools of curious batfish follow you like an entourage.
Spectacular sea caves with an array of swim throughs and towering arches make for an adventurous dive. Inside these natural structures are millions of years of history as stalactites hang from the ceilings above. Christmas Island holds some beautiful hidden gems below the surface. Worth taking a giant stride into the ocean.
This place was designed by nature for the intrepid explorer within. Waterfalls run over the limestone, continuing the carving process that has sculpted these landscapes for millions of years. As you trek through the rainforest the sound of rustling leaves piques the senses as land crabs creep through decaying foliage.
We were obsessed with the Robber crabs. These are the largest living land arthropod. They look like alien creatures you’d find in a sci-fi movie, but they are simply beautiful. Their textures, colours, and movement are all fascinating, not to mention they are incredibly photogenic.
There are so many things to see and do. Whether taking a swim in an underground grotto, exploring secluded beaches, hiking through untouched rainforest, diving with whale sharks, we definitely fell in love with Christmas Island.
Words & images by Scott Portelli & Rosie Leaney