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Christmas Island. (AFF community report)

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Was the blue crab you saw the Robber crab?
We weren't brave enough to swim in the Grotto....looked a bit menacing as we arrived around dusk time! But we did hike out to rhe Hughs Dale waterfall and were refreshed by the cool shower as shown in the photo above....it was quite a hike maybe 60-90 mins in quite humid conditions as the road in was closed because of the red crab migration.

We did see another type of crab on the hike....the blue crab!
 

kpc

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Was the blue crab you saw the Robber crab?
No the robber crab is a much bigger crab than the red and blue crabs (both are similar in size, the adults anyway). You can see a close up of the robber crab in the 5th photo of my post #15. In the 4th photo in post #15, you can see how big the robber crab is cf to the red crab...I believe the robber crabs do EAT the red crabs!!
 

Scr77

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So are the red crabs no good for eating (by humans)?
I couldn’t say. They are land crabs (not ocean) so perhaps no.

The crabs are protected and The locals go to trouble to keep them safe. Roads get closed, signs and notices are common. Kids will be out sweeping roads before and after school. The crabs are quirky and have personalities, with some being brave and some not taking their eyes off you as they take a wide berth.
 

JackMiles

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Thanks Scr77. Certainly looks like a pleasant place to visit. What about beaches/ocean swimming? Any nice beaches? Are there nasty things in the ocean preventing swimming, either seasonally or year-round?
 
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The red crabs even before they needed protection, were still not eaten. I was give a doz eggs once and made them into a 12 egg omelette inspired by a Sophia Loren movie. What I didn't know was that the chooks had been fed red crabs and I had an awful allergic reaction to the shellfish and ended up in the hosp.
 
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You have to go via Cocos Island, and they have won the world's best beach a few years ago. You can certainly do some lovely snorkelling across the coral reef that the Islands encircle.

Thanks Scr77. Certainly looks like a pleasant place to visit. What about beaches/ocean swimming? Any nice beaches? Are there nasty things in the ocean preventing swimming, either seasonally or year-round?
 

kpc

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A few points:
1) The flight to Xmas Island departs from Per international terminal so the liquid rule applies. Technically you only need your Australian Driver Licence as it is part of Australia but it is advisable to carry your passport as Jakarta is only 500 kilometres North of Xmas Island and is an alternative airport for emergencies. Landing at CGK with only your Australian DL is not going to get you very far. All the Va crew have to bring their passports!
2) A car is essential for getting around Xmas Island, preferrably a 4WD as there are many gravel, unsealed roads...we hired a Toyota RAV
3) If you are making the effort to go to Xmas Island, It is worthwhils stopping over at Cocos Keeling Islands as well (Cossies beach on Direction Island was named Australia's best beach in 2017)
One day the VA flights goes Per-Xch-Cck-Per (Tues when I went) and the other day (Sat when i went), it was Per-Cck-Xch-Per)
4) We only stayed 2 nights at Xmas Island because of flight delays ex Cocos but a mininum of 3 nights at Xmas Island should be enough. You really need to work your stay length around the flight schedules esp if you visit both islands.
5) Be prepared for flight delays / cancellations meaning you could be stranded on the islands longer than planned so have adequate travel insurance. Exmouth is also an alternative airport on the mainland for emergencies. Insurance is important for Medical Evacuations to Per as there are limited health care facilities on both islands
6) book accommodation early....When we went in late November all the accommodation in Xmas Island was booked out by bird lovers! (apparently Xmas island is a bird watching paradise!!)
 
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Scr77

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The red crabs even before they needed protection, were still not eaten. I was give a doz eggs once and made them into a 12 egg omelette inspired by a Sophia Loren movie. What I didn't know was that the chooks had been fed red crabs and I had an awful allergic reaction to the shellfish and ended up in the hosp.
Thoughts on the hospital? We found it better staffed and equipped than our local hospital, 1hr from Melbourne CBD.

Thanks Scr77. Certainly looks like a pleasant place to visit. What about beaches/ocean swimming? Any nice beaches? Are there nasty things in the ocean preventing swimming, either seasonally or year-round?
There are some great swimming and snorkelling spots, but not like a Gold Coast beach. The sand is coarse, broken down coral. Being able to jump/swim straight off the pier makes the water easy to access. The water is warm and we have never seen stingers, bluebottles etc.

We spent all day at Lily Beach (Below). It's bigger than it looks and the outer rocks break the waves. Plenty of fish!

IMG_7733.JPG
 

Denali

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So the crab migration. Yearly thing, full moon monthly thing? Dumb it down for me please as I was thinking about doing it next year for hubbys 60th

cheers,
 

kpc

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So the crab migration. Yearly thing, full moon monthly thing? Dumb it down for me please as I was thinking about doing it next year for hubbys 60th

cheers,
Varies....sometime in Oct/ Nov usually. Impossible to predict the actual spawning dates though but you still get to see the red crab migration before / after the spawning dates. Red crab migration
 

JackMiles

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Oct 7, 2016
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Thanks; get me, kpc and Scr77 again, for the further info. Really starting to look like an intriguing destination. (Particularly comforting to hear about the hosp since if we go in the near future we'd be traveling with a toddler.)
 

Cossie

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Aug 24, 2006
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A few points:
1) The flight to Xmas Island departs from Per international terminal so the liquid rule applies. Technically you only need your Australian Driver Licence as it is part of Australia but it is advisable to carry your passport as Jakarta is only 500 kilometres North of Xmas Island and is an alternative airport for emergencies. Landing at CGK with only your Australian DL is not going to get you very far. All the Va crew have to bring their passports!
2) A car is essential for getting around Xmas Island, preferrably a 4WD as there are many gravel, unsealed roads...we hired a Toyota RAV
3) If you are making the effort to go to Xmas Island, It is worthwhils stopping over at Cocos Keeling Islands as well (Cossies beach on Direction Island was named Australia's best beach in 2017)
One day the VA flights goes Per-Xch-Cck-Per (Tues when I went) and the other day (Sat when i went), it was Per-Cck-Xch-Per)
4) We only stayed 2 nights at Xmas Island because of flight delays ex Cocos but a mininum of 3 nights at Xmas Island should be enough. You really need to work your stay length around the flight schedules esp if you visit both islands.
5) Be prepared for flight delays / cancellations meaning you could be stranded on the islands longer than planned so have adequate travel insurance. Exmouth is also an alternative airport on the mainland for emergencies. Insurance is important for Medical Evacuations to Per as there are limited health care facilities on both islands
6) book accommodation early....When we went in late November all the accommodation in Xmas Island was booked out by bird lovers! (apparently Xmas island is a bird watching paradise!!)
Love point number 3, definitely have to go to "my" beach! :)

Thanks for the great info.
 

Scr77

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So the crab migration. Yearly thing, full moon monthly thing? Dumb it down for me please as I was thinking about doing it next year for hubbys 60th

cheers,
This should have been in the first post!

The crabs are land based, but need to lay their spawn in the ocean. Once the wet season starts, they will time their migration to allow for breading, nesting/brooding and then coordinate with the full moon (highest tide). It's all very cleaver for things that don't do calendars! GMOH link has the possible dates for spawning into the ocean. You will always see crabs on the island, but a week or 2 either side of these dates is ideal. In 3 visits, I've never been at sunrise for the actual spawning and I don't feel like I've miss out.

The start of wet season can be fickle. I was there 30 November and the Island hadn't seen a drop of rain in months!
 
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