Castaway! Amazing, Dangerous Real-Life Island Escapes!

Ever thought about escaping to a deserted island? You know, getting permanently lost in paradise?


Well, meet the woman who did just that! It’s an amazing real-life Robinson Crusoe adventure, that began when 26-year old Lucy Irvine answered a newspaper ad!

Here’s the incredible book that tells her story!



I love to share great books, and this is certainly one! It’s one of the most incredible true-life stories – a fascinating tale of the most exotic, extreme adventure anyone could undertake!

Author Lucy Irvine was born in 1956 in Whitton, Middlesex. She ran away from school very early and had no full-time education after the age of thirteen. Seeking a change in her life, she saw this ad in a local newspaper:

Castaway newspaper ad

“WRITER seeks “wife” for year on tropical island”

And of course, Lucy answered that ad in 1981 and ended up spending a year on Tuin, a microscopic island located just north of Australia and south of Papua New Guinea…talk about isolated!

castaway island map

Tuin island is a dot of an island, located just north of the tip of Australia, and south of Papua New Guyinea…here is a look at the area, but the island isn’t even mentioned…

Castaway deserted island life

Here is Lucy and “G” on their first day on the island…Lucy never used “G”‘s full name, but don’t worry, you learn much about his life, and history, what led him to place that newspaper ad – and their incredible year of survival together on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere…

Lucy Irvine Castaway

This is just one of the pictures from the book, showing life on the island…as Lucy points out early in the book, the intense heat led her to discard her clothing early on…here is a shot of her “fishing” for her dinner…

Castaway on a deserted island

A Beautifully Written Gem!

The book is full of pictures of life on the island…but even better, Irvine is a skilled writer, giving a beautifully written account of the physical and emotional toll taken by living on an island…with someone you barely know!

deserted island life

After reading this book, I had a new found respect for local islanders who live their life in such an isolated part of the world…Lucy’s year on the island is full of suspense, heartache, laughter and wonder…

Lucy Irvine is also the author of a novel, “One is One”, as well as “Castaway” and an account of her early years, “Runaway.” She has three sons and lives in the Highlands of Scotland.


The Original “Castaway” Movie!

Long before Tom Hanks starred in “Cast Away”, acclaimed Director Nicolas Roeg also made a film about life on a deserted island…based on Irvine’s book!


Nicolas Roeg turned Lucy Irvine’s book into a film starring Oliver Reed and Amanda Donohoe – filming Lucy’s real life story! Here is the trailer for this 1986 film:

Castaway movie

I cannot recommend this book highly enough – beautifully written, honest and raw at times, Irvine really captures what life on a deserted island would be like…in addition to other books, she also wrote a followup book to “Castaway” as well:


In “Faraway”, Irvine tells the story of moving, once again, to a desert island, this time with her three boys…these books are a bit tough to find, but look for them, they are terrific! I found “Castaway” on Amazon kindle, and the others are available used…

Here is a recent shot of Lucy Irvine…


Serpent In Paradise!

And here is another fascinating non-fiction book about life in paradise – except this one turns very very bad:

Serpent In Paradise by Dia Birkett – published in 1998

This is the amazing story of the Author’s move to paradise – Pitcairn Island, the real-life location for “Mutiny On The Bounty.” But what she found was FAR FROM PARADISE….

From the Author’s website: “I was sitting in the darkened cinema at the Elephant and Castle, central London, watching the film The Bounty, starring Anthony Hopkins as Captain William Bligh and Mel Gibson as mutineer Fletcher Christian. It was drizzling outside; my mood was as dreary. The story of youthful rebellion unfolded before me on the screen. Fletcher Christian led his cast of mutineers against the authoritarian Captain Bligh, casting him over the side of the ship. Ten months later, Christian and his mutinous crew, together with a handful of Tahitian men and, most importantly, women, landed on Pitcairn Island to found a new Utopia.

As the credits for the film rolled, the words came up on screen, ‘ . . . his descendants live on Pitcairn Island to this day.’ When I emerged into the dark street and it was still drizzling, I resolved to leave for Pitcairn Island.”

“Pitcairn has no airstrip, and the only way to reach it is to hitch a lift on a cargo vessel working the route from Panama Canal across the South Pacific. It took two years of planning and persuasion to eventually land on this uttermost end of the earth. And what I found was not a living Paradise, but an outcrop of Hell. Serpent in Paradise is the story of that slow revelation.”

Birkett’s story is an amazing adventure – and a troubling look at paradise – one that shuns outsiders, and has some very dark secrets…after the book was published, half the men of the island were convicted of sexual abuse against children. Mayor Steve Christian was found guilty of five counts of rape against minors. Vanity Fair had a chilling article about this, and Birkett has written about it as well…this is a terrific memoir.

Get all of these books and escape to paradise!


Categories: Action Films, Australia, Awards, Books / Media, British Cinema, documentary films, Foreign Films, Great Films, Independent Cinema, Movies, Obscure Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized

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5 replies

  1. Did you ask Alex about the time she left us on a MOTU in Bora Bora?



  1. “Faraway!” Lucy Irvine’s “Castaway” Sequel! More Amazing Island Escapes! « johnrieber
  2. Faraway! “Castaway” Sequel! Support Lucy Irvine’s Cause! « Spinning Orbit
  3. From “Runaway” To “Castaway”! The “Faraway” Dramatic Life of Writer Lucy Irvine! | johnrieber

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