Christmas Island diving.

I had to move house earlier this week, as my couchsurfing host Braydon had his landlord moving into the room I was using. However Claire, Braydon’s work colleague, helself a brand new couchsurfing host, offered me her spare room, so on Tuesday afternoon, after a snorkel down at the cove, I moved house.

I have spent a couple of very relaxing days reading, writing, watching movies, and wandering about the island in the cooler hours of the day. Claire took me to see The Blowholes after work on Wednesday, where, when there is a swell, water is forced up through cracks in the limestone, and shoots spectacularly skywards. The roads on the way were covered in crabs, most laden with young, and we had to be very careful not to run over any of them.

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Yesterday, along with Meryl, we went to Lily Beach, and then up to the awesome Golf Course Lookout. Here, high on the cliffs above the golf course in the late afternoon all the fishing birds are returning from their day out at sea, and using the cliff up-draughts, glide serenely upwards from down below. I could have sat here for hours watching them, but we had a radio show to go to.

Kent, another of the National Parks crew here, has a weekly two-hour chat and music slot on a Thursday evening, and armed with beer and food, we made our way to the studio. Meryl had a bit of a chat on-air with Kent, and then I somehow found myself in the chair with headphones on. It is the first radio interview I have done with a beer in my hand – all very relaxed, Christmas Island-style, and great fun.

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This morning was an early start though, as it was the first possible day for the female crabs to spawn, and drop their eggs in the sea. I had the chance to go out on one of the dive boats, and possibly see this from the sea, and so was up at 3.30am, and headed down to the dive shop.

We were out on the water before it got light, and the sea cliffs were covered in crabs, some dropping their young, some not. The first dive of the day was a slow drift under the cliffs, and out over the dark blue drop-off, where the steep wall drops down to around five kilometres deep. There are some incredible corals to see.

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The second dive however, was the highlight of the day. The location is home to hundreds of batfish, which are quite curious, and follow the divers around for much of the dive. We saw a big moray eel, a couple of large rays, and best of all, just as we surfaced at the end of the dive, a cry went up from the boat, “Whaleshark! Coming your way right now!”

I swan towards where they were pointing, and the huge mouth was the first thing I saw, heading right for me. it must have been 7 or 8 metres long! And it swum right towards me, and passed so close. I have some video of it, which I will put together with some other Christmas Island footage over the next day or two. Awesome!

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So tomorrow, as many of the crabs didn’t spawn today, there is another chance to go to one of the beaches to see the spawning at close range. Another early start then, I guess!

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bathmate - December 23, 2009 Reply

very good posting. i liked it. 🙂

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