Journey to the Sinking Lands

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

Coral spires

Coral spires
I’ve just got back from a trip out into the lagoon. I took a scuba-diving mask with me and have never seen anything like it. Spires of coral, starfish over a foot wide and bright red or blue, fish in a thousand colours and poisonous black anemones. The boys I was with were hunting, diving underwater and bringing up this to eat, then this, then this. Eventually we went after clam shells; holding our breath to duck down and slide a butter knife in between the clam lips, severing the tendons on either side, then tearing the shell itself off the sea floor. That’s another thing I like here – really fresh food.

When I got back to land, my host boiled a dozen of the clams up in coconut and stood proudly watching me eat. I, for my part, smiled and endured. I don’t like clams and was expecting those we gathered to be shared among the boys (who did almost all the work of finding them). I managed to get rid of a few by sharing them out with other people, only for my host, Rose, to make up the difference by bringing me a plate of steaming sea-turtle meat instead.

Which actually is quite nice…


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