Journey to the Sinking Lands

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

Climbing the coconut

Climbing the coconutThe baby is fine; a boy. I took a Polaroid photo for his grandfather, who is at Tinputz as part of the first wave of evacuation from the Carterets. As I stood talking to the family, the new mother slept, exhausted, on the bare sand floor of one of the houses here.

I also had my first coconut tree-climbing lesson today. The theory is to fashion a rope from banana leaves, tie this in a loop around your feet for extra purchase on the bark, monkey your way up and throw down some fruit to eat. The reality, for me at least, stops about two metres off the ground with an embarrassing slide down the (surprisingly sharp) trunk and an embarrassed hop into the ocean to cool my feet. Cue laughter from all sides.

I tried again and again until even my audience of children had grown bored and wandered off. I never got very far from the ground.


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