Desert Islands I Have Known – Part 2
Have you ever dreamed of being castaway on a desert island? Perhaps at this time of pandemic with all its accompanying restrictions, for many, the idea of such solitude would be quite alarming. It would certainly be the ultimate lockdown.
In my last post I wrote about a desert island on which I’d been castaway for several hours in the middle of the Red Sea. You can read about it here.
That particular island was memorable not because of its lush, tropical vegetation and pristine beaches but because it was the complete opposite – barren and featureless. But once I’d started thinking about desert islands, I remembered another one I’d visited in the Maldives.
Again, my husband and I were on a diving boat and strictly speaking, I wasn’t exactly cast away because a group of us were escorted to an uninhabited island by the dive guide, Chris. But this island lived up to my expectations, with its beaches and waving palm trees. What I hadn’t expected to find, was the reason why Chris took us there.
On each diving trip, he stopped off on the island with a group of that week’s divers and two black plastic rubbish sacks and he carried out a litter pick along one of the beaches. And each week, sadly, he filled two sacks easily. There was no more room to store rubbish on the dive boat and therefore he couldn’t take more than two sacks per week although that meant a lot of the rubbish on the beach was left behind. But each time he visited, unfortunately, more debris had been washed up to litter the sand.
As you might expect, there were remnants of fisherman’s nets and line and other marine paraphernalia as well as assorted flip-flops but there were also more surprising items such as an old television and a fluorescent tube. If you want to see more photos of that litter pick, you can see them here.
It was so sad to see what had been washed up on the tide line and to know that if Chris hadn’t been so conscientious, what should have been pristine beaches, would have been rubbish tips.
So, this desert island memory was bitter sweet with the beauty of nature and the diligence of Chris, alongside the obvious contempt of some people towards the environment.
And as my mind moved on, I wondered what it would really be like to be washed up on a desert island and have to wait to be rescued. With BBC Radio 4’s programme Desert Island Discs in mind, I wondered what luxury item I would want with me. And that, of course, led to me wondering which book and songs I’d want to accompany me but that’s a topic for another post…