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An eye for the storm (2)

(China Daily)

16:25, August 11, 2011

But since 2004, the station has been receiving funds from the government. "We received one million yuan last year," Wang said. "For us, it is quite a fortune that can be used to improve facilities in the island."

In the old days, Wang had 40 to 50 colleagues with him on the island, but due to the improvement of observation facilities, only two people are required to stay. Though the Internet is available on the island, it can only be used to transfer the observation data to the center.

Now Wang spends most of his spare time planting vegetables, feeding cats, dogs and poultry.

At times, he also likes to climb the mountain and sometimes watches the TV, even though there is only one channel available.

"I want to keep myself busy, otherwise I will miss my family," Wang said.

He has few chances to go back home, as transportation between the island and the city is not very convenient - Wang has to take local fishermen's boats to travel between his destinations.

"The inconvenience of transportation is one reason that I would rather stay on the island than go home on a regular basis," Wang continued. "Fortunately, my wife doesn't complain too much. Instead, she treats my parents and me very well."

Wang said his wife visited the island only once. She had thought her husband was guarding a treasure island. But after one visit she decided it was too sad to see the hardship her husband has to endure.

But in recent years, Wang usually has the company of his only son, now 28, on weekends.

"Our relationship is very close, though I didn't accompany him often in his childhood," he said. "He loves the environment on the island but complains a lot about the food."

As life on the island relies a lot on rain for fresh water, it can be a problem when there is a drought. The situation can get worse when the ship carrying supplies can't reach the island due to strong waves in the sea.

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