From the silent darkness comes a beam of light. A weathered face is looking down on us, the eyes narrowing ever so slightly. Over the shoulder of the onlooker comes a cry, “Over here!” Some of us look over in the direction from which the booming voice comes. Others are simply too exhausted to even open their eyes. Their skulls gently rocking atop their spines as the bitter waves push and pull below us, enticing us downward.

I hold my hand up, blocking the piercing stream of light that bores down on us, scanning over us like a sentry in a watchtower. From above they float downward, ethereal. I scrunch my eyes as salt water spits and sprays in the air, stinging my face. I blink away tears as I realise the looming figure is coming down towards us, their alien blue eyes casting over us all huddled together. Then they stop dead on me.

Their eyes are unlike anything I have ever seen. I have never seen so many hues of blue in my life. Where we had lived, there were only patches of green, then many shades of brown and finally came the searing, unstoppable reds and yellows.

Their eyes are like pools of deep azure and as they soften I am dragged downward into their depths. A rope and ladder appear from nowhere out of the pitch black. “Here, hold on!” Blue Eyes shouts as they tie the rope around my waist. I clamber up the ladder, heaving myself from the inky gloom towards the golden light. We are saved.

I awake to the sound of the waves, smashing in turmoil. But they are different somehow, booming and grand. I hear cheers, laughs and gasps. Oh, how I have missed the sound of children laughing with joy. I open my eyes and for a moment my aching bones feel lighter. I glance down and feel a soft bed. Above me is another bed and I hear content snoring from the bunk above. I rise quietly and creep out of the room, easing the door shut behind me as my family rests heartily.

I walk along the passageway, smiling and saying “Good Morning” as I pass each face, my furrows easing with each passing day. The ship slips silently through the sea, a far cry from the behemoth smoking ships I had once seen. Electricity in a ship! I never thought I would live to see this day. As I near the door to the ship’s deck, I peep through the portholes and see throngs of crowds peering over the sides. I push open the door and the gentle sun hits my face as I am greeted by the cry of thousands of seabirds suspended in the air like puppets. And then, as if someone had cut the strings, they all dive bomb into the deep blue, rising with prizes of fish in their beaks.

They join the writhing mass of dolphins, sharks and giant fish, all of them once thought to be doomed to extinction and now racing after the eternal flow of smaller fish. Hoards of Bluefin Tuna the size of cars zip through the water, Great Albatrosses swoop down and a smorgasbord of sharks follows, their precious fins cutting the surf.

“Hard to imagine we nearly lost all of this, hey?” says a chirpy voice.

As I turn, I am greeted by one of the ship’s crew. They are short, with black hair and brown eyes, just like me. It is like looking at my reflection in a magic mirror, I see my children’s future. The lines ease in my face as I smile. I have almost forgotten how to smile. The muscles in my face need time to readjust to this new life.

“What are they? I have never seen these creatures before,” I ask, slightly embarrassed by my accent as I speak.

They show no sign of awkwardness as they put a reassuring hand on my shoulder. “Don’t worry. You’ll have plenty of chances to learn all about this once you and your family arrive. It’s something we all are taught these days. It’ll be second nature for you soon, trust me.”

They look outwards to sea as the bladeless, soundless ship glides onwards. I can hear no noises except the cacophony of birds above and the splashing of fish, whilst dolphins are exhaling salty air below.

A cry of gleeful shouts comes from the starboard side of the ship. I rush over and as I turn the corner I see a pulsing tide of whales under the surface, and then it happens. A giant whale breaks the surface and twists mid-air like a ballerina, but suddenly it is joined by another and then another. A variety of majestic beauties, different shapes, sizes, species, most of which I have never seen or heard of before, hurtle upwards before pummelling down with a humongous splash, soaking the children who chortle in astonishment.

I laugh from deep within my belly. It’s been a long time my old friend, it’s good to see you again.

The sun’s beams power our ship towards our new home, the light nourishing the plants atop the ship as well as the solar panels. We journey onwards, spotting islands once barren and dead, now wild and brimming with life. Encircling the islands are fluorescent corals, a glowing kaleidoscope of colours under the crystal-clear water. Thick mangrove forests protect the island like soldiers standing guard, ready to defend the onslaught of any storm. There are no humans on these islands, they are left in peace to thrive. We see no fishing trawlers, poachers or oil rigs out here, ‘not anymore, never again’ they say.

I know I am nearing our new home when I see floating machines atop the sea, harnessing the power of the waves for energy. Whilst deep below the floats are underwater gardens of seaweed which farmers gather onto their boats, waving at us as we pass. Occasionally we pass a strange-looking device which sieves the plastic from the ocean. Incredibly, they tell us our ships are made from that very same plastic. We pass through wind farms which halt spinning their blades as passing colonies of seabirds plunge between the wind turbines to gorge themselves on the reserves of fish sheltering in their shadows.

I feel that I am in a dream and any moment I will be torn away from it. I think back to our flooded home, helpless as it was swallowed by the insatiable waves, year by year and then day by day.

But then the tannoy announces we are nearing landfall. I take a deep breath of anticipation, clean nourishing air filling my lungs.

I brace myself as I rush over to take my first look at the new world. I do not see anything but forests. Am I looking the right way? I was told tales of a metropolis like nothing I could ever imagine, yet I can only see trees. I am not the only one confused, as I look at my fellow voyagers and see concerned faces among the adults, while the children shout out in wonderment at the engulfing green woods. Where is the city? Where is our opportunity? Where is our home?

Then I see it. The trees are not what they seem. As we get closer, I see the outline of buildings now engulfed by plants. Where the city begins and the forest ends cannot be fathomed, both habitats now intertwined and unbroken. A healthy mist of water vapour hangs above the city, like a soft blanket protecting those underneath. We edge ever closer to the shore and I see marshlands pulsing with bird life, which explode into plumes of millions of tiny specks, swirling and dancing in the air as if putting on a display for our welcome.

We arrive at the port and I gather my things. As I wait to disembark I check for my passport which I had salvaged before leaving. I pat my pocket to double-check as I step off the ship onto land. Solid land, but it is plush grass I feel under my feet and the almost intoxicating perfume of flowers all around as insects busily buzz between my legs.

It is like our old home, there are buildings and roads, but every surface, crevice and crack is alive with life.

They transport us on vehicles which swish silently as they carry us to our new homes. There is a screen above our heads; a woman, confidently and unwaveringly shouts “You don’t need a passport anymore! We are all in this together! We are on the same planet!” to which an enormous crowd cries, synchronising chants and screams of delight. Flags of the Earth are proudly held high, waving blue and green. “It just took us a long time to figure that out!” she laughs.

I gaze outside in wonderment as the farmlands are a vibrant mix of wild trees and plants alongside familiar friends such as tomatoes and corn. I think I glimpse a Lynx behind a majestic oak tree, however, when I look back it is gone. I look forward through the window, and see not planes in the sky, but thick flocks of millions of birds blackening the setting sun’s rays as they return home to roost. One by one, fellow migrants arrive at their new homes, no longer outsiders, immigrants or victims. They arrive and are welcomed with open arms.

We arrive outside our building as a herd of deer crosses the road and begin to nibble on some lettuce growing on the side of the building wall. A local resident simply watches and chuckles to themselves, as if to say, ‘There’s enough for everyone.’ My eyes follow the trail of vines clinging to the wall and apples hang outside a window, plump and ready to pick.

I hear shouts, “Come on in!” by a group of families preparing the evening meal together, cooking, socialising and laughing.

We take our first tentative steps into this new world. We are not dreaming, this is not a fantasy. We are home at last.