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Millions of years ago, there was an eruption at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. As lava pulsed from the sea floor into the deepest water on earth, it hardened into rock and built a volcano so massive it broke the ocean’s surface. Over time it became dormant, but with its presence came life and the birth of a future that few could have predicted. It became a beacon for birds and its submerged slopes acted as prime habitat for coral and marine life. As these underwater communities grew around the fringes of the seamount and rose to the surface, the volcano sank under the weight of the life it now supported, back down to the depths from which it came.

What remains today is a coral atoll. A tiny dot surrounded by endless blue that is home to the people of Kiritimati, the fish of the South Pacific, and a sanctuary for 37 species of tropical birds. On the coral rim of an extinct volcano, one of the oldest and largest this planet will ever know, anglers wade in shallow, warm, turquoise waters and watch their fishing dreams unfold in front of their eyes. This is Kiritimati, the one and only Christmas Island.

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