National Geographic : 1955 Jan
132 Canton's Children Live in a Vacation Climate and Atmosphere Sun-drenched beaches are open the year round. As in a holiday resort, the population comes and goes. Most residents arrive under contract and return home after two or three years. If I failed to observe all the coral types, blame the myriad fish, tiny to huge, in every conceivable and inconceivable color combina tion. Striped like tigers, spotted like leopards, black as jet, yellow as butter, jade green, lapis lazuli, scarlet, russet, or of a silvery transparency, these creatures eclipsed the other wonders of their stunning sphere. I saw long fish, short fish, round fish, flat fish; fish fat as pigs or thin as sticks; giant eels; and massive clams ready to slam their purple jaws. "Want to look at a shark?" asked one of my companions when I surfaced for air. That was the last thing I cared to see, but I half-heartedly submerged just long enough to watch six feet of gray horror slink past. I surprised myself at how quickly and easily I sprang back into the boat. Only the in credible beauty of that incredible world be low could entice me into the water again. I had succumbed to undersea fever. Now let anyone suggest a submarine ex cursion in Canton's lagoon and I'll go at the drop of a face mask. For me, one such ad venture is worth the journey to this distant island. Distant? Mile-wise, yes; but not in time. Nowadays you can leave New York City on Wednesday and land at Canton Island Thurs day. Planes Keep Canton Alive Aircraft brought this once-empty isle into full focus. The remote reef proved itself an indispensable steppingstone on the way to war in the South Pacific. Although a small atoll, it's big enough to handle today's largest pas senger planes. They keep Canton alive; and Canton keeps them flying regularly between North America and the far antipodes. All of which reminds me that tonight I'll board a Clipper on Canton Island for an ap pointment early tomorrow in Australia.