Christmas Island Dive Trip

Christmas Island is also known as Australia’s Galapagos Islands. It sits on top of an an inactive volcano that us almost 6,000 meters above the sea floor and is a tiny island located in the vast northern Indian Ocean approximately 2,500km (1,500miles) to the northwest of Perth. Much of the eco system within Christmas Island remains intact even though it was mined for Phosphates for most part of the last century.

Christmas Island has some of the best scuba diving sites in Australia and one of the longest drop-offs in the world. Being surrounded by a tropical reef, the northern coast exclaims many untouched corals i.e. Acropora and plate corals as well as hundreds of unique species of marine habitats such as anemones, butterfly fishes, eels, gobies, surgeon fishes, wrasses, etc. The lack in size is compensated by its extensive marine biodiversity.

Christmas island rises significantly towards the edge of Java Trench which is the deepest point in Indian Ocean. This leads to the countless stretch of spectacular drop-off points from the shoreline with most walls as near as 20 metres.

When you fly in, you will be able to see the volcanic coastline as well as lush green foliage in the sea. It is indeed a delight for nature lovers with over 63% of Christmas Island being a national parkland. More fo the driving and walking tracks will bring your to beaches and freshwater waterfalls and nature parks.

Cultural History

During the late 1800s, there were many workers from Singapore, Malaysia, China and Cocos Keeling islands were brought to Christmas Island to work on the industral factories and phosphate mines. They were administered under British, Japanese as well as Singapore administrations but was subsequently taken over by Australia in 1958. As a result, the residents living there now are all Australian Residents. The racial mix in Christmas has brought towards a variation of religion and cultural diversity.

What Can You Expect To See?

Scuba diving in Christmas Island is a out of the world experience. Shallow waters filled with coral reefs surrounds the island. The depths plunged significantly at the edge towards the Java Trench. Some of the dive sites have shallow reefs that slopes gently towards the drop-off zones. In addition, many caves entwined through within the volcanic mountain where it intercepts the ocean bays.

Dive sites surround the island and some of the sites have steep walls which allow deep-sea water pelagics species to submerge near the shoreline. Very often, you can expect to have up close encounters with whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, and manta rays. Christmas Islands’ steep-sided walls are engulfed in rich wellings and pristine coral reefs down to around 30 m (100 feet) where you can see large gorgonian sea fans covering its base.

The reefs at Christmas Island is dipped with many intact and wholesome corals with a huge abundance of marine species. Particularly along the northern coast, it pride itself in possessing some of the world’s most untouched corals such as the plate corals and Acropora which attracts hundreds of marine varieties. You can spot a great deal of tropical species such as parrot fishes, unicorn fishes, and surgeon fishes . Im addition, you should also be able to spot anemones, wrasses, butterfly fish, gobies, , eels rainbow runner, trevally, tuna and many others. Some of these fish species can only be seen around Christmas Island, making it the one of the highly sought after scuba diving destination. There are estimated 650 identified species of fishes and pelagic marine life here at Christmas Island.

Near the vertical walls in the deep sea, you will also be able to sight marine creatures such as manta rays, eagle rays, giant mackerel, tuna, fusiliers, barracudas, dolphins, swordfish and even sharks such as hammerhead shark and tiger sharks. Christmas island is truly an unforgetable diving experience with so much to offer in its underwater marine life. With its pristine reefs and exquisite variety of marine life from critters to large pelagic sea creatures such as manta rays and sharks, it is a must go destination and a bucket list for any serious scuba diver.

You can spot the phenomenal migration which tons of red crabs spawn ashore takes place as well as the whale sharks also emerging along the oceans during the rainy season.

Diving Conditions

There are virtually no commercial fishing activities and no urban pollution from Christmas island. The fact that this isolated island is 300km (186 miles) from its neighbour helps in keeping the waters are exceptionally warm and crystal clear with incredible visibility of minimum 18 meters (60 feet) throughout the year.

The water temperature is warm around 26-29°C. Hence, you can scubadive in Christmas Island pretty much the whole year round. Current in this area is relatively mild and minimal.

Dive Sites

There are more than 40 dive sites around Christmas Island of which many are huge and deep walls filled with gorgeous gorgonian wall corals. Each diving site is unique on its own and breathtaking sights to behold. There are a few highly recommended dive sites that you should go:

Egeria Point

Located towards the southwest of Christmas Island, Egeria Point is a visible and interesting dive site to explore. 20 meters from the depth leads towards the reef slopes. The depth reaches a depth of 25 meters where you may be able encounter reef sharks, baruccudas as well many other schools of large reef fishes.

Perpendicular Wall

The Perpendicular Wall lies 90 degrees in angle to the ocean and hence its name was given as such. From just a few feet from the surface, the corals lean out in order to catch the natural sunlight. It is filled with many gorgonian fans and the walls bustling with fusiliers and other reef fishes.

Pig Rock

From the cliff, you can see the rock protruding which resembles a pig’s head, hence its name was coined as Pig Rock. This dive site is approximately 45 minutes away by boat ride and is the farthest dive site. The depth goes to as deep as 8 meters and you can see the walls filled with gigantic fan corals. With a mid strength current, you can expect to sight fishes such as tuna, fusiliers, barracudas, and sharks. The visibility can go as far as 40 meters which is truly astonishing.

Thundercliff Cave

This is an impressive site filled with many large caves. From the main entrance, you can spot a large chamber opening filled with staggering limestones. It’s a astonishing myraid architecture of cave system which you can explore deep into. The dives allow you to ascend into a cavern brimming with magnificent stalagmite crystallization. It is suitable even for the new divers and a haven for photographers with beautiful sihouettes and plenty of species of fishes.

Flying Fish Cove

Touted as one of the best shore dives among the world, Christmas Island Flying Fish Cove is easily accessible it from the beach and conveniently located right in the center. Enjoy the astonishing corals the moment you step into the waters and be captivated by its beauty!

West White Beach

Home to some of the most beautiful hard corals, West White Beach is a place not to be missed. As a shallow reef, there are tons of beautiful tropical reef fishes with white sandy bottom patches within this area which will delight photographers. You can also view corals such as the porite heads, staghorns among some of the varieties. It is one of the largest beaches within Christmas Island and you can sight beautiful varieties of tropical reef fishes.

Other Activities

When you’re not scuba diving, you may wish to go on the popular hiking trails that leads you through the tropical rainforest to venture, explore and discover waterfalls, caves, mangroves, and beaches. Among the giant fig tree roots lies the island’s famous red crabs. Don’t forget to look up at the tree tops to sight the sea birds.

There have been a spike in interest in the natural landscaping and due to its high rainfall and tropical warm temperature, it naturally develops as a green house platform for as many as four hunderd over plant species. For birds lovers, you can expect to sight some of the rare birds of various species in this island.

Red Crabs Migration

Christmas island is home to 120 million red crabs. During the period from October to November which is the start of the wet season, most of the red adult crabs will begin its migration sequence from the forest towards the coast to breed and release their eggs into the sea. Approximately one month later, you will be able to spot baby crabs returning back to the forest. The process of the red crabs migration is proclaimed as one of the natural wonders of the world, putting Christmas Island on the world map and attracting tourists from all over the world to view this natural phenomenon.

When to Dive at Christmas Island?

The Northwest monsoon season range from December to April which is their typical wet season. For the rest of the year, Christmas Island generally experiences a tropical warm climate. The southeast winds typically reduces the overall temperature and decreased humility with lesser rain. During this period, average humidity is 80% and average temperature is around 25°C.

During the wet season from November through to April, it is obseerved that the schools of plankton feeding whale shark tends to visits the island which coincides with the spawning of the red crab migration period. The larval growth stage of the red crabs are a ready food source for these whale sharks. The whale sharks are a massive and breathtaking sight to behold, these creatures may tend to circle several times near your presence.

Getting To Christmas Island

Perth has twice weekly flights to Christmas Island. Alternatively, there are also weekly flights from Jakarta as well. Ocassional charter services may be available from Kuala Lumpur (KL) as well. There are car rental services within Christmas Island so travelling around is generally not an issue.

Summary

Christmas Island has been known for its spectacular red crabs migration. During the raining season, up to as many as 120 million crabs may migrate during this period.

There is also a huge variety of marine life and reefs to explore in the ocean. You will get to experience exhilarating steep walls dives and discover the pristine coral architecture. Large pelagic creatures are almost a common sight due to its strategic geographical location among the ocean.