The vanishing islands that failed to vanish

Adam Shakir and the mass of sand bags, wooden pilings and rubble he is using to slow erosion at his Manta Sea Guest House in March on the island of Himandhoo in the Maldives. (Jason Gulley/The New York Times)

DHIGULAABADHOO, Maldives — On a wisp of land in the Indian Ocean, two hops by plane and one bumpy speedboat ride from the nearest continent, the sublime blue waves lapping at the bone-white sand are just about all that breaks the stillness of a hot, windless afternoon.