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By Tom Neale

Thomas Francis "Tom" Neale (November 6, 1902 - November 27, 1977)[1] 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 residing on my own at the island of Anchorage within the Suwarrow atoll, which used to be the root of this autobiography.

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My first attempts at separating the fine soil took me several days—simply because I had not thought to buy a sieve in Rarotonga. I did, however, have a small tea strainer, and I sieved enough fine soil for six seed-boxes, using only this wretchedly small implement. How I missed a boat! " Why hadn’t I brought some caulking material? Then I could have mended her, hauled her through the shallows, loaded her up and pulled her back. But the boat looked impossible to repair—unless I could think of something; and I seemed to have so many other things to think about.

I was either too tired or maybe too excited even to brew a pot of tea. I had unpacked a little glass and crockery and now I used some of my precious soap to scrub down my eating table. I put a couple of drinking coconuts on the shelf near the bed and then I unrolled my kapok mattress, spread it out and made my bed carefully. I had had no time to examine the books left by the coast-watchers, but in any event it did not matter, for on this first night only one book seemed appropriate. When the cats had settled down, I lit the glass table lamp, carried it to the bedside table, and soon I was tucked in reading The Island of Desire.

After all, I had had more than half a lifetime of preparation. My succession of jobs in the engine rooms of a dozen different island vessels had taught me how to handle tools. Indeed, I was used to coping with any practical problem that turned up, whilst my jobs on shore—clearing bush, planting bananas, even storekeeping—had taught me the hard way of fending for myself. I was the handyman incarnate. I knew four different ways to thatch a roof; I could spear fish; I was able to light a fire with a magnifying glass—not that I ever needed this trick for by now I knew exactly the kind of wood which smouldered but never burst into flame, so that I was able to keep a fire dormant all through the night.

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