Journey to the Sinking Lands

A witness to the world's first evacuation of an entire people due to climate change

Rain stops play

6am.
Wake up. Taking a boat to the Carteret Islands today! Sky dark with rainstorms for first time since arrived in Bougainville. Have to keep an eye on that.

8am.
Due to meet boat and leave. The boat’s skipper, Lawrence, arrives without boat. Says he has to go and get his wages. Wanders off.

A man called Thomas says he is trying to get home to the Carterets. Can he get a lift in the boat? Sure. Can his two children and two patients from the hospital who are also trying to get home come too? Sure.

10am.
No sign of the skipper. Or of Thomas. Two other women, Reuth and Lorraine, have turned up. They too, are trying to get home to the Carterets. We sit in the shade of a tree, and wait.

12pm.
No sign of Thomas. Starting to think he knows something I don’t.

The skipper drives past saying something about getting fuel. Sit, and wait.

1pm.
Word has got around that we are going to the Carterets and people keep walking up with bags full of food for us to deliver to their families there. At the last count we have seven carrier bags full of fruit and betel nuts.

Man wanders down the beach saying the skipper is just fixing the spark plugs in the boat’s outboard engine. We will leave by 2pm.

Sit, and wait.

2pm.
Rainclouds tear the sky apart. Starting to think it might be best to try again tomorrow. It’s a three-hour journey and the sun sets around six. Even if we left now, that would only give us one hour to play with if anything goes wrong.

2.30pm.
Rain eases. A bit. Go and find Lawrence. Agree it is better to go tomorrow. We will meet at six and try again then.

Move all bags back up into hotel room. Hotel staff think I am hilarious. I think they are right.

Sit, and wait.

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4 Comments»

  class 3 clearwell wrote @

Hi,Dan,
How’s it going?What’s the weather like?Are there any tropical flowers left on the island?Did you find out whether some of the islands are lower in the water than others?
The weather here has been mostly sunny and dry.We had a flower festival in school and , of course we went to Kingswood for a residential trip.We did climbing,archery,aeroball and we made our own computer games.Bye for now, Class 3

  James P wrote @

This may sound academic (it is to the inhabitants) but are you sure that the sea level is rising as opposed to the Islands sinking? I only ask because the sea level in Tasmania, where a level mark was carved into the rock in 1841, appears to have gone down…

  Spike wrote @

Good luck in getting there. I’m guessing by the lack of update that you’ve made it. Look forward to hearing all about it.

  Wolfy wrote @

Sadly typical my friend…take it isi isi


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