Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th, September, 2015
W. Eric Faber
Sun 20 Sep 2015 05:19
Daily run: 145 logged miles
The jungle tour on Saturday took us in a 4x4 Toyota along dirt tracks into the mountainous landscape of Christmas Island formed by an seismic uplift that threw the coral seabed into the air and which can be seen everywhere. It makes the landscape very inhospitable. With the uplift came phosphate that the island mines and sells. There are only 1600 people in the island including 400 children.
What the island is best known for is its crab population that has featured in one of David Attenborough’s programmes showing billions of red crabs scurrying down the beach to breed. It is the dry season now so that we did not see that migration, but we did see blue crabs, red crabs and the rubber crabs, pre-historic looking creatures with huge claws and antennae that function as their nose with a keen sense of smell. They live on the land seeking food and moisture in the undergrowth of the woods.
As soon as we were back from the tour, we cleared out with the Australian Border Protection Force that had a big fast patrol vessel moored in the same bay. It is used to keep out and send back boat people from Indonesia. Christmas Island has a detention centre where in earlier years these migrants were kept, fed and sent on to Australia. The situation became untenable and the flow has now been stopped. The Australian Coastguard became known as the Australian Border Protection Force. At 2pm we left the bay and headed out for Cocos Keeling some 525 miles further west. A good fresh breeze from the Southeast sent us bowling along at 7 knots under two reefs in the mainsail and a full genoa.