Posted by: adventuressetravels | April 5, 2013

Do You Want to Spend Christmas on Christmas Island?

Southern Cross had to stay in Bali an extra day for the captain, Steve, to get new pages in his passport.  A quick flight to another island and the pages were sorted.  Still, it put us behind.  It’s amazing how fast passports can fill up when you’re sailing around the world.

00001948The next scheduled stop was Cocos (Keeling), but as a last-minute change WARC announced a mini stop at Christmas Island, a small island en route to Cocos (Keeling).  It was just a pause to break up a long passage.  The cruising book didn’t have much good to say about Christmas:  few moorings, the trade winds could make the anchorage uncomfortable, not much to see other than an annual crab migration which wasn’t this time of year…

But then there was the song.

As soon as the WARC had announced the new stop the captain had started talking about the Leon Redbone song, Do you want to Spend Christmas on 

Christmas Island.   The grandfatherly man was surprised no one else was familiar with it.   Of course we knew it!  How could we not?   He didn’t have a copy on board so he made a half-hearted attempt  to sing it for us.  Still, no luck.  I’d never even heard of Christmas Island let alone a song about it.

And there it was:  we were a day behind, and few other boats weren’t even bothering to stop at the island.  But the question remained:  should we make the stop at Christmas Island or just continue directly to Cocos (Keeling)?

00000440After much debate Steve finally made the decision.   We were in the area; it was even on the way.  Why not see another place?  There were two islands called Christmas, was this the one in the song?  Some said yes, others said no.  But either way,  we’d stop by Christmas Island in honor of the song.

We set out early, but not early enough.   Coming in and leaving the harbor is

almost always the most nerve-wracking part of a passage, and this was no exception.  Leaving the marina was a nightmare.   Little motor bug-boats buzzed us, motorboats trailing parasailors came dangerously clothes-lining the mast.

Once we were clear of the traffic and genuinely underway the real fun began.

The new crew member man from the US had joined the crew in Bali.  He had sailed with the Captain before and was an excellent fisherman and had brought several hundred dollars of lures, reels, and fish-hunting equipment with him.  He wasn’t messing around.

We put two rods out and a few hours later the line whirred: we had a fish!

He didn’t bother with the spray bottle.  He grabbed a bottle of the cheapest alcohol we had and spewed it into the mouth of the unsuspecting mahi mahi.  With a sail-type ridge on the top of its profile, the silvery-rainbow fish struggled for another moment before going limp in the American’s hands.



t was impressive, I had to admit.  Even if it was a mahi mahi.  Mahi mahi are prettier than they are tasty, the bland white flesh is fine for filler in flavorful stir fries, but I’d just as soon have seitan for my protein.  Still, it was the first fish that had been caught since I’d been aboard Southern Cross.  We had to do it up right.

Since we had just left port our fridge was well-stocked with fresh vegetables, so we made the most of our catch.  I made sushi rice and the new crew member rolled sushi with mango, avocado, and various other bites to celebrate our first catch on the first day out.

It was by no means our last.

Fair winds, clear skies, lots of fish, and smooth seas; the sail to Christmas Island was fantastic.  That first leg from Darwin to Bali may have been tedious, but Indian Ocean was looking better and better.


  1. Hey that sushi looks good enough to eat. I suppose I’ll always wonder what you found on Xmas island.

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