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 even in the water, the island’s unique creatures are embracing the festive spirit,” says Linda Cash of the Christmas Island Tourism Association.
“It’s as if someone has draped the island in the traditional Christmas colours of red and green,” explains Ms Cash, 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.
“Some islanders are even planning to clear a special landing zone of the crabs on Christmas Eve just for Santa’s sleigh,” reveals Ms Cash, adding, “we are in close consultation with Airservices Australia about the precise time for Santa’s arrival to ensure than 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” explains Ms Cash.
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 Ms Cash, adding ‘it’s more magical than a fairyland at the North Pole.”
So what about the two-legged inhabitants? How do Christmas Islanders celebrate Christmas? Well, on an island where it’s about 30 degrees every day of the year, it’s not surprising that on 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 Santa hats,” says Ms Cash, adding, “It’s a similar atmosphere to Bondi Beach, only without the crowds and without flies.”
Some of the locals even don reindeer ears and venture in the island’s underwater Garden of Eden for a Christmas dive.
Oh, and why is the island named after Christmas?
“We like to think it’s because it feels like Christmas every day here,” says Ms Cash, adding, “actually, the real reason is that Captain Mynors onboard the British ship Royal Mary first to ‘discovered’ the island on 25 December 1643.”
- For updates on Santa’s flight path: www.airservicesaustralia.com/santa
For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact Linda Cash from Christmas Island Tourism Association at [email protected]