Michaela Merz

41 days – the new Robinson Crusoe story

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With a backpack round the world. If one had the time, that’s the best way to travel. That’s how Eva arrived in Fiji. It is a wonderful spot on our earth, beautiful as paradise, with happy hospitable people. When the opportunity arose to take a day trip to a small, uninhabited island, Eva immediately said yes. The price was ridiculous and the trip promised wonderful experiences and impressions.

Her expectations were not disappointed. The tiny island was magical. Just like central Europeans imagine paradise to be when it rains for days on end. Eva was not alone, but underway with four other tourists. They swam, they laughed, watched the fishes. Time passed in a flash, soon it was late afternoon and they had to start the return trip by boat. Eva had no desire to do so. She would have liked to remain stretched out on the beach and watch the sunset.

Then came the irresistible offer. Eva and the native boatman, Seru, could stay overnight on the island. There was a bungalow there with several rooms and tomorrow, when the next group of tourists came, they would be collected. Eva didn’t have to think long about the offer, but immediately said yes. There was also no additional charge. The farewell was brief and Eva sat down in the sand and watched the sunset. She felt wonderfully free and enjoyed the inner and external peace.

The next day was glorious. But the new group of tourists did not come. Only now did the two island inhabitants discover that the satellite telephone had remained in the boat and that they were therefore completely cut off from the outside world.

At first, Eva was not worried. Their water stocks were immense and for the first two days they had enough to eat. The island was small. Walking around it took about 12 minutes. On the first day the boat didn’t arrive and the two of them could only surmise what could have happened. But on the second day also no boat appeared on the horizon. And also not on the third. It took a full 41 days until the boat came to fetch the two of them. A new Robinson Crusoe story had been written.


Seru, who grew up on Fiji, knew how to cope. He went fishing, collected crabs and served Eva green papaya. At first Eva was very reserved and had no desire for raw crab. After a while and influenced by her hunger, she followed Seru and ate what he brought her. They came to terms with their daily life on the tiny island and developed sophisticated techniques for improving their diet – for example by catching the wild chicks which live there. After 41 days living closely together you know one another’s deepest secrets. The two got to know and respect one another. Not surprisingly, they had enough time and sunsets.

When the boat finally returned, Eva just wanted to leave, but they had to wait one final night.

Today they live together with their young son, a very happy couple in our civilization. Hopefully they will also teach the youngster how one can survive on a paradise island. One never knows when one will need this knowledge.

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