Lesson 12 (Life on a desert island)

What was exceptional about the two men’s stay on the desert island?

Most of us have formed an unrealistic picture of life on a desert island. We sometimes imagine a desert island to be a sort of paradise where the sun always shines. Life there is simple and good. Ripe fruit falls from the trees and you never have to work. The other side of the picture is quite the opposite. Life on a desert island is wretched. You either starve to death or live like Robinson Crusoe, Waiting for a boat which never comes. Perhaps there is an element of truth in both these pictures, but few us have had the opportunity to find out.

Two men who recently spent five days on a coral island wished they had stayed there longer. They were taking a badly damaged boat from the Virgin Islands to Miami to have it repaired. During the journey, their boat began to sink. They quickly loaded a small rubber dinghy with food, matches, and cans of beer and rowed for a few miles across the Caribbean until they arrived at a tiny coral island. There were hardly any trees on the island and there was no water, but this did not prove to be a problem. The men collected rainwater in the rubber dinghy. As they had brought a spear gun with them, they had plenty to eat. They caught lobster and fish every day,and, as one of them put it ‘ate like kings’. When a passing tanker rescued them five days later, both men were genuinely sorry that they had to leave.


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