Fanalei Island

Time passes quickly at Fanalei Island. I’ve already been here for a week!

The place is absolutely beautiful. White beaches, palm trees, and amazing marine life. People live a simple, peaceful life, going gardening and fishing. Life is determined by the sun, tides and the weather. I kind f wish I would be here for holidays.

Fanalei Island during sunset

However, the island is also highly at risk from storms, swells, and sea-level rise. Currently, the village gets flooded around once or twice per month and people have been telling me stories about severe shoreline erosion, mainly after cyclone Namu in 1986, but also recently. In the last decade, several houses had to be moved inland and space starts to become scarce, as most of the island is covered by mangroves. Due to an increasing population and the risk of flooding, around half of the people have already relocated to the nearby mainland.

Shoreline erosion is also visible on the exposed northeastern shore of the island, where trees are dying and the vegetation is moving back from the coast. Over the next week, I will conduct some more physical measurements to learn more about the possible drivers of shoreline erosion on the island.

Northeastern shoreline on Fanalei Island
Getting the GPS coordinates of the vegetation line

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