By Tom Neale
Thomas Francis "Tom" Neale (November 6, 1902 - November 27, 1977) was once a brand new Zealander bushcraft and survival fanatic who spent a lot of his existence within the prepare dinner Islands and sixteen years in 3 classes dwelling on my own at the island of Anchorage within the Suwarrow atoll, which was once the foundation of this autobiography.
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Additional resources for An Island to Oneself
Was there anything left of the garden which the coast-watchers had started, and what about the fowls they had left behind? Then there was the old boat. I had seen no sign of it on the beach. I quickened my step along the narrow path, brushing past the tangled undergrowth and creepers, the dense thickets of young coconuts, pandanus, gardenias, which had grown into a curtain, walling me in, almost blocking out the sun. Suddenly the shack was there in front of me and I must admit my heart sank. I had forgotten the amazing violence of tropical growth; forgotten, too, just how long ago it was since men had lived here.
Had there been any good volcanic stones on the island, I might have built a stone fireplace of sorts, but there were none. Once I had unpacked, firewood was one of my top priorities, for I wanted the shed filled with a good six months’ supply. In a few weeks the hurricane season would start, and that could mean a spell of heavy rainy weather. I had no intention of being caught without dry firewood. It was a hard job. Some of the shrubs and trees had dead limbs which could be severed with a couple of strokes of the axe.
51 - To get over this, I wrapped the end I had to hold in layer after layer of the large cloth-like dead leaves which you always find attached to the base of a coconut palm frond. Once I had got a good fire going in the cook-house, I found it fairly easy to hammer the iron to a point, and when it had cooled off I filed the point down with my coarse file until it was really sharp. Then I heated it again until it was bright red, and plunged it into water several times to harden it. After I had picked out a suitable sapling for a shaft, I cut a slot four inches deep in one end, fitted the spear-head into it, then bound the whole with wire.
An Island to Oneself by Tom Neale