Spawning in progress. The crabs stand on their hind legs and raise their front claws. With a shake and a shimmy, the eggs are released.
I set the alarm for 0330 as I needed to be at Flying Fish Cove for the spawning at 0400. I cycled in. A group of people were at the boat ramp. There was a group of crabs but it wasn’t impressive. I looked further to the beach head to see some people there. Heading in that direction, I wasn’t disappointed.
There were crabs on the sandy stretch, the rock face, the boulders. Some were crawling into the water and same were crawling inland. On the waters edge, when each wave came in, the crabs would raise their front claws while standing on their back legs and do a shake and shimmy to release the eggs. The fall into the water as a brownish powder which gets swept away and will return as baby crabs in about a month.
The eggs are held in the body by filaments and after they are released, one sees hairy strands left on their belly.The eggs are released and show as a brown powder in the water.
It would have been very difficult to see all the action without torches. Even better, we had film crew filming and their light helped tremendously. Photos of the actual shake-shimmy-spawn were still difficult as it happens very quickly; a point-and-shoot camera has some shutter lag at low light.
At 0430 the sky had a hint of light. It was my cue for the crabs to wrap up their activity and mine to return to the hotel for some sleep. It was an awesome sight and I was really glad that my visit to Christmas Island [Christmas-Island-travel-guide-1314531] had been impeccably time with good research. But I was also supported by good luck as the Christmas Island flights are notoriously unreliable due to weather.After the spawn, filaments that held the eggs are visible.
I returned the bike midway and continued back to my room on foot for a nap from 0600-0800. My car got delivered at 0900 but I didn’t venture out till late morning with Andrea.
I tucked into an awesome rending (accompanying my nasi lemak) at the Penang Chinese place. It was so good I was surprised the chef was mainland Chinese! It cost AUD18 which was good; Andrea’s omelette was AUD22! We later found that eggs are flown in along with chocolate cakes etc in cafes. Nobody makes anything here?
I asked the Penang lady a few question (but corrborated the answers with others) :
1. Where are the Singaporean Chinese? Most of the people I’ve met are Malaysian Chinese, perhaps more Penang. The Singaporeans have moved to the mainland where they kids go to uni and they enjoy their retirement.Red crabs galore.The Malaysians came later to backfill the Singaporeans, running businesses.
2. Are the red crabs edible? Apart from being protected, they are not meaty or tasty. They feed on leaves and things on the forest floor. Back in the old dyas, the crabs were so numerous they were crushed up as chicken feed but then people realised the eggs tasted funny.
After lunch we tried driving to West White Beach but the road was closed. We took a detour through the other side of the island stopping at picturesque Margaret Knoll before cutting across the island.
We ended near West White Beach and the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC). The walk down to the beach would take an hour each way and we didn’t have enough time. We took a look at the outside of the IDC.Red crabs galore.
The facility was built to house refugees (boat people) bow now that they have dwindled, they mainly house convicted criminals awaiting appealing their deportation (many of whom are New Zealanders).
My hotel cleaning lady’s boy friend works in there. He is finding the work unsatisfactory now that the ~200 inmates are criminals. Refugees were normal people, some with their families. Hardened criminals are a different kettle of fish. But contrary to that, I later met a prison guard who said that refugees are harder as they sometimes cut or hang themselves. As always, different people, different views.
Overall, the outing was quite unproductive. Road closures made some sights inaccessible; some sights were questionable (Pink House, LB4 Lookout) and others (The Dales, Martin Point) involved walks longer than we had time for also due to road closure.Red crabs galore.
We were back for a brief rest at the hotel before picking Diane (arrived on the same flight) to go to South Point Temple for God’s (Kang Tian Tai Di). The nearby ruins of the railway station were nowhere to be seen, so we proceeded to the temple. There were many banners and giant joss-sticks outside the temple that looked out to the ocean.
After a little while, a medium went into a trance and walked around with a whip. Then another medium followed. At its height, there were four media (plural of medium?) in trance. Would that make it a multimedia extravaganza? Lol!
I was hoping for skewers through the cheeks and razors through the tongue but it just wasn’t my night. However, we were treated to a free buffet and beer (yes, this is Australia). It was good to have some free food as eating is expensive on the island; having said that I just had a light bite as I had food to finish up in my room.View from Margaret Knoll.Strangely I had lost my appetite here; I was hungry a lot on Cocos and finished the same amount of food whereas I’m having trouble finishing it off here!
When darkness fell, the media led attendees across the symbolic bridge. It was symbolic of leaving the bad and past behind and progressing towards a good future. I thought that was the finale and started driving before the mad rush to leave.
It felt late when we returned to the township but it was only around 0730. Tha happens when one wakes early I guess.