I remember clearly an evening spent on Palmerston Island, a coral atoll in the Cook Islands. A few of the locals were taking the neighborhood children for a boat ride to teach them about the sea—and they invited me along. We rode the waves as the elders taught the eager group of five year olds about the currents and sea birds, the tides and the fish. As the sun sank below the horizon and the stars appeared above, they pointed out the constellations that could always guide us home.
What those young islanders really learned that day was how to work with the sea. It’s not an adversary to be conquered—but a friend who supports you. You just have to learn to read it well, its different moods and temperaments.
That’s a philosophy that guides island life here. Islanders live in sync with nature, they treat her with respect, and most importantly, they never take the beauty and natural bounty with which they’ve been blessed for granted.