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Old 05-24-2014
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Sailing off to live on a deserted island

Is this even possible anymore in today's society? When I was younger I always wanted to take a well-stocked and well-equipped sailboat and do a "Robin Crusoe" or "Swiss Family Robinson". Sail off and find a deserted island. No crowds, no people. Have the place totally to myself. Bring along some dogs and pets for company. Build me a bamboo shack, fish, hunt, just live the life. And since I'll have a well-stocked sailboat with me too, watch movies, play the guitar, read, photograph nature, surf the internet, make videos for Youtube. Anchor the boat out in the lagoon. I know in the 1970's there was this island called Palmyra Atoll
south of Hawaii you could actually do something like this at but since then it's been sold to a nature conservancy. And 50 years ago a guy named Tom Neale
actually lived this kind of life for years on an island in the South Pacific.

Last edited by khammett; 05-24-2014 at 02:36 PM. Reason: :
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Old 05-24-2014
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Re: Sailing off to live on a deserted island

There are 45000 tropical islands according to Wikipedia.

Source: Wikipedia

Over 1000 in Polynesia alone.

Source: Wikipedia

I remember reading somewhere that there are over half a million islands on the planet, and that only about 2% of them are inhabited.

Of course, it depends on what you consider an "island", and most of them probably don't have a sheltered anchorage.

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Old 05-24-2014
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Re: Sailing off to live on a deserted island

Hi,

The romance of the early part of the last century has, unfortunately, disappeared.

Palmyra is a great example. It looks like no one owns it and you could just roll up and drop the pick, but thats just not true. Its a wildlife refuge and until recently any visits were illegal... But this has changed
Quote:
Limited visits to the refuge are allowed, including by private recreational sailboat or motorboat. Visits must have prior approval, with access to Cooper Island arranged through the Nature Conservancy.[22]
Every other island in the world is sovereign territory for some country and you are required to live under their laws. This means most of the Pacific is owned by the french and you get your standard 6 months and then get the hell out of there. Some of the smaller island nations are much more draconian.

There is also a practical reason why so many islands are not inhabited. Their aint no anchorage, nor access to their lagoons. You physically just cant get on them.

Any island big enough for fresh water and accessible by sea will have people on it, or be owned by a family etc

Then you have the cyclone season...

There must be places you can go and the finding of them would be an exciting adventure, but it would be time consuming and full of unforeseen difficulties.

Have fun researching it, and finding your paradise.... But when you do find it do not tell anyone because the next day you might find a few boats beating into the anchorage.


Mark
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Old 05-24-2014
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Re: Sailing off to live on a deserted island

Tom Neal lived on Suvarov atoll, much as you are thinking of doing. You should read his book, An Island to Oneself. Most of the islands that are out there which you could actually live on in the SoPac are in the cyclone area. This does create some problems if you are arriving and hoping to keep a boat while on the island.
As Mark said, there just aren't any places that are free for the taking, so if you want to do it you are going to have to find the island, then get someone's permission.
Good luck.
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Old 05-24-2014
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Re: Sailing off to live on a deserted island

I can't imagine living on Suvarov (also called Suwarrow these days) for years. It has a lovely lagoon (with lots of reasonably friendly sharks) but the island is tiny and the only source of fresh water would be collecting rain. The park rangers who are there for six months of the years try to grown vegetables but they have to protect them from mice and land crabs (if I remember correctly). There are lots of fish and coconuts to eat. After that it is whatever you brought with you.

The island is now a national park and gets about 100 cruisers a year visiting so you would not be alone there even if it was available. When we were there the rangers, two very nice guys, organized a pot luck in honour of Tom Neale's birthday. A grand time was had by all (I think there were about six boats present) and we toasted Neale's memory, at least a few times. When we got to civilization (Fiji I think) I checked Wikipedia and found that Neale's birthday was months away from when we there. Found someone who knew the situation and he said the rangers have a birthday as soon as all of the boats from the previous pot-luck have left. I think their diet is remarkably boring, fish, coconuts, bread, and whatever vegetables they can grown. For six months there is no supply ship so if they run out of something they are out of luck. One of the rangers said he would stay there permanently but the Cook Island government won't let them. The island is hit by cyclones and I don't think any of it is more than 2' above sea level. Climate change may put it all under water.
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Old 05-24-2014
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Re: Sailing off to live on a deserted island

Quote:
Originally Posted by capta View Post
Tom Neal lived on Suvarov atoll.

Looks like an interesting place.

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Old 05-24-2014
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Re: Sailing off to live on a deserted island

With 7 billion people on the planet, if you find an island with no one living on it, there are good reasons. Often people did live there and they left.

Besides, it is easier and more convenient to be a hermit on dry land, though most people consider that to be like solitary confinement; cruel and unusual punishment. There are exceptions.
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Old 05-24-2014
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Re: Sailing off to live on a deserted island

You can get pretty close to what you describe, sure there are visa limitations, and you might have to follow some local laws and customs, but there are plenty of place's to escape for awhile. The fast track bucket list cruisers never have a chance to figure these places out. I won't tell you where my Robin Crusoe hangout is, you will just have to find your own. Modern man is not really made out for remote living anyway. You'll be missing the comforts of home long before you wear out your first set of guitar strings. It's a great dream, so come on out and give it a go.
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Old 05-25-2014
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Re: Sailing off to live on a deserted island

I don't think you're going to find the kind of place you're talking about has an internet connection, unless you can afford a satellite hookup.
You can't go off from civilization and expect to bring it with you.
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Old 05-25-2014
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Re: Sailing off to live on a deserted island

One of the more interesting things in the Bahamas, is how many small islands will be uninhabited, but if you walk around, you will find a small abandoned house (and sometimes a really nice one), where someone obviously tried to make a go of it, but couldn't for one reason or another.

I always wonder what the story is behind those abandoned home-sites, and I admit, my mind usually starts to fantasize about trying to buy it and trying to repair it and try living there myself.
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