While people all over the world are putting the finishing touches to their Christmas decorations, on the island named after Christmas, it’s the wildlife who are stealing the show.
Everywhere you look, whether it be in the rainforest, in the sky, or in the water, the island’s unique creatures are embracing the festive spirit. “It’s as if someone has draped the island in the traditional Christmas colours of red and green” says Lisa Preston, Chairperson of the Christmas Island Tourism Association – referring to the combined effect of millions of the island’s world famous crabs with their bright red carapaces scuttling through the verdant green jungle.
“Islanders are planning to clear the red crabs for a special landing zone on Christmas Eve for Santa’s sleigh,” reveals Paul McFarlane, Manager of the Christmas Island Airport. “We are in close consultation with Airservices Australia to determine the precise time for Santa’s arrival to ensure that no crabs are injured when Santa touches down on his favourite island”.
When Santa does eventually touch down, he might want to have some serious words with the male Christmas Island Frigate Birds who have been imitating Santa’s sack. They have a distinctive red pouch under their throat, which they inflate to attract females during the breeding season, which is just starting.
Meanwhile, for the island’s natural Christmas light display, you have to venture underwater to Thundercliff Cave, a sea cave where divers can surface into a huge air-filled dome, decorated with spectacular cave formations. Here, deep in the darkness of the cave, tiny flashlight fish sporadically blink their bioluminescent lights on and off” explains Hiro Yoshida, manager of ExtraDivers Christmas Island, adding, “it’s more magical than a fairyland at the North Pole”.
So what about the two-legged inhabitants? How do they celebrate Christmas on Christmas Island? Well, on an island where it is about 30 degrees every day of the year, it’s not surprising that on the the 25th of December each year, locals flock to the beach for a traditional Christmas BBQ lunch and swim. Everyone comes down to Flying Fish Cove in their swimmers and their santa hats. It’s a similar atmosphere to Bondi Beach, only without the crowds. Some locals even don reindeer ears and venture into the island’s underwater Garden of Eden for a Christmas morning dive.
Oh, and why is the island named after Christmas? We’d like to think it’s because it feels like Christmas every day here, but the actual reason is that Captain William Mynors, aboard the British ship, Royal Mary, first “discovered” the island on 25 December 1643.
Merry Christmas from Christmas Island …