Again, thanks to the Dirk and Linus travel agency, we elected to fly to Xmas Island after LCA 2013 since it was a better time of the season to go compared to Ningaloo Reef which is awesome, but very low season in January. The main reason was to go diving in warm easy waters with great visibility.
As seen from the plane, Xmas Island is reasonably large, you definitely need a car to get around
Thankfully they have a real runway that allows full size jets to land (along with proper luggage)
Our hotel was called "the sunset", I wonder why :)
Some dinners, we at in our hotel room with basic cooking facilities, others we ate in restaurants:
The island had a lot of industry linked to phosphate mining:
Unfortunately, people from other countries have figured out that they can just take boats to show up as refugees and flee to Australia:
Anyway, back to visiting the island, we covered a lot of the island thanks to the rental car:
This is the lovely 4x4 we got. It was full of dings and scratches, and that turned out to be a feature since we sure got a lot more scratches while driving between trees and plants and trying to avoid running over crabs that were everywhere.
We used our beaten up 4x4 rental to drive around the island to some hikes, remote beaches, and interesting viewing points, and it was definitely worth it. While they call themselves "the other galapagos" this is over-reaching, but they do have lots of cool birds, many many kinds of crabs, boobie birds, and more.
look at the webbed feet around the branches
We also got to see flying foxes (bats):
We also had many lizards and geckos:
This of course does not count the diving which was quite good in warm easy waters with great visibility.
After the dives in the morning, we used our rental car to go visit the Island, and it was a lot of fun to see so many crabs. From what we were told, the ubiquitous red crabs that are all over, including crossing the road everywhere, making driving interesting, aren't good to eat, but the robber/coconut crabs are, however they are protected. To be honest, I grew attached to those little red crabs, they are not afraid of humans, I've been able to give them food to their claw which they grabbed and ate slowly, and they do a great job recycling organic matter (animal or vegetal).
I have so many crab pictures, it was hard to select a few:
we missed the big crab migration, but some roads were still closed due to too many crabs
those little guys were fearless and all over, including the road
we found this coconut crab white driving back at night
this little guy went hiding in the urinal during a rainfall, maybe not the best move
these guys were more shy
coconut crabs come in different colors
a beautiful blue one
the path was littered with crabs
this coconut crab found in the rocks had eggs
the ubiquitous red crabs eat all debris, vegetal or animal
we were able to feed the crabs some leaves, which they were happy to take from us
all shapes and sizes
unfortunately, many get run over
Many other pictures from driving around and hiking to beaches:
we actually got to use the 4x4
Jennifer had to chase the coconut crabs I couldn't safely drive around
remote beach we drove and hiked to
the tracks are from turtles that came to nest
Jennifer tried to channel her inner monkey to go get a coconut
I was able to shake one down for her :)
these crabs can't swim, but they lay eggs in the ocean
they were underwhelming when we arrived, bad timing
A couple of late afternons, we went to Margaret Knol to finish the day. We got to see some birds and flying bats: