Sorrel Wilby and Australian Geographic present Christmas Island - a natural wonder

2012

Christmas Island, a jewel in the Indian Ocean, presented by Sorrel Wilby and the team at Australian Geographic.

Transcript - Christmas Island, a natural wonder

Sorrel Wilby

Christmas Island is a natural wonder - a jewel in the Indian Ocean. 2,600km north-west of Perth, light years from the rest of the world. People have only been part of the equation here for a relatively short period of time. So, beyond the laid-back settlement that stretches out from Flying Fish Cove, the original ecology endures. A haven for wildlife, replete with surprises for ecologists and travellers alike.

Of all the creatures thriving on this remote Australian Territory, land crabs are the most successful. And, with at least 20 species featuring in the mix, they comprise the most diverse collection in the world. One of the best places to see crabs year round, is here, at the heart of Hugh's Dale.

Max Orchard (ranger)

There's a spring up above the falls that flows out into the sea, and it forms ideal habitat for the blue crabs and all the other crab species as well.

Sorrel Wilby

Robber crabs are clearly the biggest, but they are outnumbered by the reds, with a population in excess of 40 million. If you happen to be here in the wet season, chances are you will see them en masse - leaving their burrows in the forest for their annual migration to the sea.

Max Orchard (ranger)

The uncanny thing about the migration is that it's more or less a dead straight line in the interior of the island to the coast.

Sorrel Wilby

The bird life here is equally captivating and most species are easy to see. There are brown boobies nesting on the shore terrace, red-footed boobies in the trees, and, higher up in the rainforest canopy, the last Abbott's boobies on earth.

Bird specialist

I suppose there is enough habitat type there and it provides a niche for each of those three species, and they've taken advantage of that and are able to nest here quite successfully.

Sorrel Wilby

You can literally spend hours on the coastline just watching the frigates and golden bosun birds fly. Or, take a walk into the rainforest to meet a few of its special residents. It's the sort of place that spoils you for life as far as birdwatching goes.

And, if your interest in nature extends seaward, expect to be completely overwhelmed.

Diver

I've been diving here for about 12 years now and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sorrel Wilby

With dive sites all around the island, the team at Wet and Dry Adventures can nearly always find somewhere in the lee. Few places in the world offer such diversity across a relatively small area. And fewer still have this opportunity - the chance to dive into a cave. Of course you can explore the subterranean world here without actually getting into the sea, but you'll still need a sense of adventure.

'That's beautiful how the light just touches on those formations and all those crystals just appear. It's like a massive big organ pipe structure'.

At the end of each day you'll feel exhausted but elated by all the wonder you have witnessed. And, where better to cool off and chill out but this magnificent grotto? The ultimate natural wonder.