“EXPLORING CHRISTMAS ISLANDS”
By Sukanya Bora.
Christmas Island as the name suggests is a tiny island in the vast Indian Ocean. It is located 2,300 km north west of Perth,Western Australia. Its capital city is Flying Fish Cove which is also known as the ‘Settlement’.
The island is surrounded by shallow waters with fringing reef. The marine environment in this island is suitable for snorkelling as well as scuba diving.
Over 63% is a national parkland. There are many beaches and fresh waterfalls over here.
Christmas Island is famous for its unusual rare species of flora and fauna. Approximately 450 plant species are here of which 18 are endemic and 126 are found nowhere else in the world.
There are many sea birds of different species here. 8 species of sea birds nest here,including the rare booby and frigate birds in the world.
It is also the home of 120 million red crabs.
First I want to describe about the endemic birds of Christmas Island.
These are seen in the forest areas of Christmas Island particularly around the LB4 Lookout. These birds fly quite high.
These birds are found nesting behind the golf course. These birds are seen regularly soaring.
- Christmas Island Goshawk Accipter natalis.
These birds are found sitting quietly in the forests.
Then there are the Christmas Island Imperial Pigeon Ducula Whartoni, Christmas Island Hawk-owl Ninox natalis and the Christmas Island White-eye Zosterops natalis.
Now lets come to the endemic birds sub species found in Christmas Island.
These birds nests in the crevices in the cliffs around the “Settlement”.
- 1.Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor minor.
These birds are found nesting along the road to the famous Lily Beach over here.
Then there are the Christmas Island Emerald Cove Chalcophaps indica natalis, Christmas Island Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta natalis and the Christmas Island Thrush Turdus poliocephalus erythropleurus.
There are other rare species which are found only in this island. These include:-
- Christmas Island Flying Fox- Pteopus melanotus natalis.
- Christmas Island Gecko Lepidodactylus listeri.
- Varied Eggfly Hypolimnas bolina nerina.
Some sea birds which are considered as rare species are found here. Such as :-
- Red-footed Booby Sula sula rubripes.
These are found nesting along the road to the Lily Beach. These are seen feeding off the east coast.
- Brown Booby Sula leucogaster plotus.
These are found nesting on the ground on cliffs throughout the Christmas Islands.
Christmas Islands is not only famous for its rare species of flora and fauna but it is also famous for its diving spots over here.
From the month of November to April,the world’s biggest fish,the Whale Shark visits Christmas Island in large numbers.
Dive sites of the island:-
- West White Beach. This is the home to the coral reef. It is also the home of the pristine coral,masses of Porite heads,staghorns etc. This is also the home of the colourful tropical fish and one of the best scuba diving site.
- Pig Rock. This Rock itself resembles a pig’s head. When the current is running barracuda, then divers can observe the tuna, sharks and the colorful fusiliers.
- Thundercliff Cave. This cave is extremely large. On entering the cave, the blue light from the entrance creates awesome silhouettes. Further back,divers can see thousands of bullseye fish which darts back and forth. Divers while diving here can also remove their scuba gears and explore this cave on foot. This site is suitable for experienced and novice scuba divers.
- Egeria Point. This site is located on the south westerly corner of Christmas Island. Here divers can encounter with the grey reef sharks, resting white tip sharks, barracuda, wahoo and large reef fish can also be expected.
- Perpendicular Wall. In this dive site,divers can observe the butterfly fish,corals,sharks,rays cruising by in blue.
Christmas Islands experiences a tropical equatorial climate with wet and dry seasons.
The wet season over here starts from the month of December and lasts till the month of April. In this time, the island experiences the North West monsoons.
The currency over here is the Australian Dollars.
Here English is the official language. Apart from English, Malaysian, mandarin and other Chinese languages are also spoken by the people of Christmas Island.
This place is one of the most beautiful places of the world and it is a must visit for the people. So, once in your lifetime if you plan a holiday, Christmas Island should be at the top of your list……!!
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