Scuba Diver Australasia + Ocean Planet - - Contents -

Is­land. The word con­jures up images of palm-be­decked beaches, gleam­ing sand, pel­lu­cid turquoise wa­ter, birds twit­ter­ing in the trees and fish swirling on daz­zling reefs – in short, par­adise.

But is­lands are so much more than dream holiday destinations: These are frag­ile ecosys­tems and, un­for­tu­nately, many are un­der threat – sub­jected to pres­sure from run­away tourism and pol­lu­tion, but also by ris­ing sea lev­els. Is­land na­tions like the Mal­dives and Kiri­bati are al­ready mak­ing plans to re­lo­cate their peo­ple in the com­ing decades.

Im­por­tantly, is­lands are vi­tal oases in (gen­er­ally) nu­tri­ent-poor ex­panses of ocean. They may ap­pear to be iso­lated pock­ets of life, but the co­ral reefs sur­round­ing them are the liv­ing, puls­ing heart of the in­ter­con­nected seas, and are of­ten havens to which the wa­ters’ wildlife comes to feed, breed and be cleaned.

As the poet said, “No man is an is­land”; all are in­ter­con­nected. Well, judg­ing by the way life works in the wa­ters off these tiny specks of land, per­haps we can say that no is­land is re­ally an “is­land”, ei­ther…?


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