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Publish Year note: First published in 2004
Ron Falconer celebrates the pristine island wilderness of Caroline Atoll in loving detail. Both an adventure and a love story, it's an insightful, poignant and truly fascinating tale of how one man's dream to live alone in paradise becomes very much an extraordinary family affair.
we defend ourselves by wearing socks.’ When we arrive together the next morning, Anne is fortunately impressed with the little clearing I’ve made. After an initial critical examination she becomes enthusiastic and agrees that this islet looks manageable and suitable for a settlement. We organise a storage shelf and small kitchen under the shade of the large trees. Nobody mentions mosquitoes, rats or ants. I begin to feel I’ve overreacted, being the only one wearing socks. Soon the children are
smoke. The response is a deep, ominous, defensive hum from the centre of the swarm. When I apply more smoke in and around the combs, the hum deepens into a threatening groan of possible action by the masses. In total fear I pry out one of the centre combs. It’s heavy and full of honey. It’s also covered with hundreds of bees. I repeat Joseph’s instructions out loud: ‘Give the comb a sharp blow against the hand and the bees will fall off.’ It doesn’t work. The bees hang on as if their lives
year on Caroline draws to an end. It’s September and most of our stored food is finished. The time has come to pay our annual visit to the civilised world – first, to restock with a year’s supply of bought food, and second, to haul out the boat and give it its coat of anti-fouling paint. Third, we’ll visit the dentist and renew any out-of-date medical supplies. All in all, it should take no more than three weeks. We should be back on Caroline before the beginning of the cyclone season. To avoid
by me if it’s all right by Bernard. Don’t ducks need fresh water?’ ‘No problem. They live here around the house without water, they breed fast and roast well and you’ll love them. If you want I can send you up a goat as well.’ He laughs over the airwaves. Anne is furiously shaking her head. I’m thinking, fresh goat’s milk and cheese. Then I consider a captive goat on board Tamata. It would be too much. I agree with Anne that the ducks will be sufficient. One week later the children alert us to
the distinctive long nose of an Alsatian. After an uneventful trip, we anchor once more in Cook’s Bay, Moorea. Even though Moorea is relatively quiet compared to Papeete, and Caroline has recently been rather busy, it still takes us a little time to adjust to the constant noise and movement of people and machines as we look in towards the shore. Alexandre and Anaïs focus on the noisy yellow bulldozers and endless stream of cars that run along the road circling the bay. Jet skis buzz around the