Christmas Island, of course!
After a long time at sea, Christmas Island’s dark cliffs loom out of the Indian Ocean like some sort of monster. Whether you arrive by air or sea, those forbidding bastions definitely don’t make you feel welcome.
Most histories of Christmas Island mention discovery in the 1600s, with the island being given its present name at Christmas in 1643. William Dampier visited the place in 1688 and caught some robber crabs to tide the crew over until they reached Batavia or another suitable ports. The island seems to have been a very secretive, lonely place, uninhabited by humans until exploration and settlement in the 1870s. Phosphate mining began at Christmas Island in the 1890s.
An Australian territory since 1958, Christmas Island is 2650 km north west of Perth. Christmas Island is surrounded by cliffs around 20 m high, broken by several small beaches around its perimeter.
With a permanent population of approximately 1300 people, the island has a temporary population which can vary considerably, due to staff and inmates at the Immigration Detention Centre. Locals and guidebooks describe the island as the crabbiest place on earth, which is not a reference to the general disposition of the human population but the estimated crustacean population of 20 million crabs of various species. The red land crabs migrate to the ocean en masse in November or December each year, providing a unique sight for tourists.
The crab population did not appear to daunt the earliest settlers, nor do the risks associated with travel to Christmas Island deter visitors.
Least of all Maria in my Turbulence and Triumph series, as Ocean’s Triumph is set at Christmas Island in the 1930s.