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Factual
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Friday 23 August 11.00-11.30am

Hoping for a Miracle

Arriving by boat

Go on a virtual tour of the South Pacific of islands of Tokelau>>

For details about the Journey of a Lifetime competition, click here

Damian Welch's proposal for an expedition to the tiny atolls of Tokelau in the middle of the South Pacific was the winner of a BBC/Royal Geographical Society award to make a Journey of a Lifetime.

The three atolls of Tokelau, the tops of ancient undersea volcanoes, have a land mass of about four and a half square miles. Atafu atoll's village island is in places 50 metres across.

Damian's journal Damian discovered, however, that statistics conveyed nothing of the Tokelauan people: incredibly skilled fishermen who can pull 120 kilo marlin from the ocean on handlines; lovers of feasts and by far the most complete sharing community he has encountered.

Damian witnessed Tokelau's genuine co-operative enterprise in Inati: the process of dividing fishing catches equally between all inhabitants, no matter what their age or status, and the selflessness with which they gave their time and energy to pass on their skills to their guest.

Damian's journal

There is a real environmental threat to this idyll: a small rise in water level would make the atoll disappear. How are the inhabitants facing this, are they hoping for a miracle?

Damian's journal


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