Photo Diary: Christmas Island

Ernest and I have been suitcase dwellers for quite some time now. So when he received a mail inviting him to Christmas Island, we didn’t quite know what to think about it.

All I’ve ever seen of Christmas Island was vaguely remembering documentaries about the crab migration through the Island to spawn. Visions of crabs coloring the kampongs red, littering the roads as they were crushed by the hundreds by oncoming cars came to mind.

With an opening in our schedule between Singapore and home we decided, if anything it would be an adventure.

I was too busy in between moving houses every other week and trying to keep my job to research much about it. That is until we were in line at the airport.

Tired after a long transfer, I lined up to check into the flight to Christmas Island while Ernest tried to sleep.

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There is one flight into the island weekly and often times the plane is unable to get in on time due to old airport technology and a short curved runway. I struck up conversation with the man next to me in line who filled my head in with horrors of Christmas Island being a place full of criminals and refugees.

What on earth was I doing there?

This set the bar for low expectations, but I was about to be proven wrong over and over again.

I arrived with burnt ends from a fashion show and with less than a thousand people on the island, the prospect of finding a hair salon was less viable than chopping my hair off myself.
It wasn’t migration season, but these crabs are literally everywhere. Except the beach because funnily enough they can’t swim.
Our first day swimming at the pier, the mines in the distance is such a surreal sight. Most of the islands economy is from these mines which mine phosphate.

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25 meters of clarity in these waters.
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Small overview of the capital of Christmas Island, Flying Fish Cove.
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Apparently jumping off the pier is a past time, I’d see children as young as six launching themselves off without hesitation.
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Population and culture-wise, you’d get thrown off. A pasar malam with all the familiar Malaysian faces with Australian accents.
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The Chinese Literary Association brought over Malaysian designer Hideaki; I bumped into them by pure coincidence. Together with his models, we made up about a dozen of the island`s only tourists.
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The fashion show was a huge community event on an island with no retail stores.
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On the non-populated parts of the southern island lies the blow holes, which are caused by fissures in the rocks. The waves that crash against these rocks erupt into loud sea sprays.
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These forest crabs don´t seem to fear cars or know how to react to us really. I think the locals are desensitized, but the loud cracks were putting me off so I had to try to shoo some away.
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The forest floors are so clean because they eat all of the fallen leaves and debris.
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There is a waterfall you can trek to pretty easily if you know the right people. Thanks, Chris.
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View from Margaret Knoll. I pretty much walk around with the Jurassic Park theme song playing in my head by now.

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These robber crabs are huge and endangered because they are super delicious. You get fined if you run over one, but they are not very smart. So often this has to be done manually.
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We took over the radio station and broadcast to about ten people that night.
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Beach party at Lily Beach before I found out who Lily was and what happened to her.
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There are very few places to eat and nowhere that is open the whole day. So, if you don´t grab your breakfast, lunch and dinner at the right times you´re not going to find anything else.

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The Grotto is safe for swimming, most of the time. It isn´t deep, but it is very cold.

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I never made it off the pier.

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Buildings in Christmas Island.
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We visited the school on one of our last days. I found the children to be more open here because there really is no concept of stranger danger. Most were friendly and enthusiastic about everything.

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Leaving something behind for Christmas Island.

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I never thought I´d swim in the sea at night.
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Goodbye, Christmas Island.

Christmas Island is truly one of a kind. The people, culture, economy, nature and history.

Living without internet was tough enough. I remember our guide telling us that he got so confused when he went back to the mainland and everyone was glued to their phones. At risk of sounding preachy, it was a nice short break away from constant technology.

I don´t actually wish for tourism to kick off in a place like this; with any luck, we´ll be back before the year is over.

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