Tom Neale was 50, and had two cats and a few boxes of stuff, when he convinced the captain of a New Zealand cargo ship to drop him off in Suwarrow, a deserted atoll in the Cook Islands. He aimed to live the rest of his life like Robinson Crusoe. "I hate protracted farewells -he wrote in his memoirs book An Island to Oneself- and yet I would have been abnormal had I not felt a pang or two of emotion. It was not despondency. It was not fear. But when Tagi, who was the last to get into the ship’s boat came and said, “Best of luck, Tom!” I will admit there was a lump in my throat”.

The man responsible for Tom Neale's exile from the world – the exile of a man who spent nearly all his life sailing around the South Pacific – was the North American writer Robert Dean Frisbie...

Published in Siete Leguas