300 Days aloneFeb 27, 2020
It wasn't until I got to the Geneva airport that I realized it was over. There it was physically difficult but above all psychological and if I had to do it well again... I don't think I would. in september 2008 i left switzerland and it is comforting to spend 10 months
alonein the island group of tonga in the middle of the pacific ocean, i brought a machete and my swiss army knife, i also have a medical kit i had a satellite phone, solar panel and battery to power my camera. It is a dream that I wanted to realize.
I have been working for it for 14 months and now, I am here, but I think that the most important thing is to stay zen and be calm because whatever happens, I will be
alone. The Tonga archipelago is lost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The island Tofua is about 250 kilometers from the capital, and its last inhabitant left more or less 20 years ago. Tofua is a caldera, an old volcano that explodes in the middle, has a sulphurous water lake and to the north of the island, you can Seeing the smoke from the volcano is still active It's only 24 hours I'm here I miss the food I miss drinking the water I miss everything is terrible no it's not terrible but it teaches me that you can't do it the first time you have to go step by step and I have to learn and take much longer than I expected.
The next day I installed my solar panel to charge my batteries and went back to fishing. At sunset there was still no fish. But just when I was about to give up, I caught my first fish. to top it off, it was big enough to feed me for the next two
days. I feel good. I feel much better than this morning because I was able to fish. I was able to eat it and still have some for tomorrow. I'm happy to finish this fire again five minutes, ten minutes and then I go to sleep because I don't want to waste wood, there's a lot of it but it's…it's not dry.
All the wood is wet hello hello it's full of ants I can't even eat it anymore. Oh yes, right, I was sure, they had everything. There weren't many friends on the island. I had to find a way to preserve my catch. At home in the Alps, the elders use two ways to preserve their meat, salt and smoke. Well, the goal is to make something to smoke the fish because I expect to have a lot of fish, not a lot of fish, and I need to smoke it. Building the smokehouse didn't take long, it worked perfectly, my grandfather would have been proud of me for the first two
daysI slept as he could use the curved trunk of the coconut tree, but he wouldn't in ten months. spent not so I had to build myself a shelter.
I started with the roof. Latticework, coconut lashes, new or dry the usual lock or the unusual one for the roof, I used coconut branches that I passed through the panels hoping that it would not let the water through and after four days my shelter was built and I could go to another thing. I had to complete another important ritual to live in the rhythm of nature. I had to stop time the thing is I need to find a good place for the watch that is not too far from the sea so even if it is underground it can have a good sea vibe yeah it is beautiful so from now on I will be here from now on. for nine months and 20 days or so myself, where I stopped time.
In the beginning, fishing took up most of my time. I did not fish every day and waited long hours for them to bite. I proposed a system to free myself from this task. The principle was simply a very heavy branch for a fishing rod, a heavy stone for a counterweight, the fishing line and the bait, and it worked. ok it's done I'm exhausted it seems very easy I know how to do it but now I don't eat as much because I have no choice and my drink is fine but every time I have to do physical exertion I sit now I get tired very easily I'm going to rest I'm not in a hurry anyway not when you're hungry you're less fussy I have some sea snails well just a few of them are not enough for the party.
Well, the appetite, the lack of food, the sudden loneliness. Without a point of reference, I don't know what weighed on me the most, but after eight days I collapsed. My family misses me everything I know really misses me. It's beautiful here but I... I can't find out I don't have food... I have water yes but it's so difficult it's very difficult and... in my house I have everything, so I say why, why do you know that? could you, could you, could you stay at home, chill with your friends, girlfriend, family, it hit me without warning, I was depressed, 16,000 miles away from home, away from my friends, my family, my fridge and the worst of it was all my idea.
Luckily I had the motivational flag. My friends wrote me messages that they read, they gave me courage to continue and to top it off, it was that day that I saw whales for the first time and when you see it I can tell you that you forget all your problems. I miss many things from here and there are many things that I have here that I cannot have at home but in the morning it is very difficult to take them into account but in the afternoon I feel them again and I feel very happy I feel calm I think that what I need to learn It's going slowly now I need to learn to... take the time to do everything here but everything I do I want to do fast to finish it as quickly as possible and that's not the way.
I had to put this, this plastic that was the protection of my solar panel, because I realized that my roof is not waterproof at all and I really need a waterproof roof for all the materials I have, that's why I put it, I'll start doing it today work with the coconut sleeve to make a waterproof roof. the first step was to reach the top of the coconut tree, but if it seems easy enough to climb the tree, it is another kettle to reach the palms of that tree with such a smooth trunk. This feat accomplished, I stripped the tree of its palms, which I chose for their length quite corresponding to that of my roof.
Then comes the weaving. The method is simply once up, once down, once up, once down. In the Tonga Islands, the roof of the shelters is covered by a layered mesh that makes them waterproof. It is clear that quite a few are needed anyway. Another big problem I had was mosquitoes, there were thousands of them in that forest, so the best way to keep them away from my camp was to clean around the shelter and open the space for the sea wind to create a natural protection, but it didn't work. Since this morning I heard the volcano and I didn't know what happened and I was a little worried because you never know and that's why I reached the top.
I have to find a way. I got to the top to look at the volcano. Climbing up the volcano is not really a piece of cake, especially when it comes to walking through the jungle, but as soon as you reach the side of the crater, the view makes you forget the effort. it's beautiful you feel very humble in these kinds of moments it makes me cry it's true that sometimes I feel alone the only thing that hasn't changed here is me at the beginning but I've been here for a month and it's true that I miss almost everything I'm in the middle of nature but in the middle of nowhere i'm alone i'm really alone, it's not easy.
After my first visit to the volcano, I decided that every day I would expand the known circumference a few hundred meters more. I always look around me a little There are always things to discover, always to find, always Today I was a huge mango tree, bent by too many fruits Finding those almost ripe fruits is like receiving Christmas presents to strengthen my roof, I needed a rope and in Tofua there was the rope tree. I just had to find it oh no it's not solid at all it's not like that it's completely rotten and after several tries I finally found what I was looking for just had to cut a few long strips of the bard and let it dry in the sun.
Today I'm finishing one side of the roof we still have to check if it's waterproof of course but at least I did it with nothing, with my hand and the coconut cover and I'm proud of this and you know life is here very simple but it's not so easy as that...everything you have to do yourself and i learned a lot about it gives me a new perception of the world since fishing did not bring me food every day i added a new dish to my diet Coconut sprouts cooked on charcoal seasoned with ash and bran.
The coconut was easy to open. The inside looked like a fruit compote It's hard to describe the mild taste a bit sweet but no coconut flavor and hot it was excellent after more than a month on the island I was able to survive and organize the essentials There was only one problem that remained was the lack of human contact that I now realize is that I start to feel lonely because I have no one to talk to funny and no one can give me more information about what I already know and I'm alone whatever I do I'm alone I can't say you know I don't think in my mind I have enough.
I'm starting to feel bored alone, lonely and bored now. I found a very nice place there, but the access is very difficult to go from the beach because of all the rocks, so maybe I can find the easiest way to go from inside yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss I found myself facing the worst of our civilization, so much garbage thrown into the sea thousands of kilometers from here and that is carried away by currents to end up on the coast. I even found some bamboo. What can I use it for... I decided to bring it back to the camp until I found a use for it, but I already had my idea... and now, in theory, I... made a digestif you forget the life of mosquitoes in Tofua It may seem pretty smooth, but every day when I go fishing, I risk hurting myself on the rocks.
I rub regularly during my exploration in the forest, I ended up with numerous infections under the skin that no longer healed. I had to use my satellite phone to call Dr. Richon in Switzerland, he followed up from there. Yes, Jack, this Xavier Rosset is calling. Mentally speaking, I'm fine. I can do almost what I want, but it's physical. I have a small technical problem. I need you too... I described what things looked like. he told me what to use from the medical kit that he helped me put together in switzerland now i'm going i'm going that's why i really don't want to do it because it already hurts a lot maybe it will be better after it's better. the dirt comes out every day, every day I have to wash every day after the sea water after I have to boil the... flat water, I have to clean again with normal water I have to put betadine which is a special cream on I'm in the middle of nowhere and I take antibiotics!!! in five days if it does not improve I have to call the doctor again thanks to the advice of my doctor I take good care of my wounds they healed in a few days but even though I was busy every day I began to suffer from another problem that medicine could not cure .
I no longer have the motivation to do anything because I'm alone, I haven't even tried to light the fire with the wood because... because I'm fed up, I have nothing... I don't know why, why should I do this? I'm alone, who should share this with anyone, anyone? I came because I came and I needed help my friend in my town was cutting his fingers so he broke his kawa and broke his fingers too as if he heard me, Lofi appeared in my life. For a few days a year, farmers from the neighboring island come to Tofua to grow kawa, a plant whose root is used to produce a bitter drink. save his friend's finger but his camp was now over six hours away and heading back to my friend Lofi's village because one of his friends has a big cut and the fingers came off the finger a bit and maybe he can Do anything.
I'll do my best, but if the infection has already started, it will be too late. The best way to see is to go and see. Lofi chose to follow me so she could match his speed with mine instead of looking over her shoulder to avoid missing me very sweet huh? the middle huh? It's very very sweet. It's so good. As soon as we arrived at the camp, I was able to quickly gauge the seriousness of the matter. You're ok Maloa lele I couldn't administer first aid but I knew I would have to get to a medical facility as soon as a boat could pick him up In the meantime I did the best I could with the medical kit and my little knowledge Okay I think I did my best I can do it with your friend until tomorrow but then it's better that I go to the hospital. ok thanks i'm a tofu doctor but i did the best i could.
With Chimy's finger I'm much better now and for me it's time to go back to Hokula me to my house in Hokula It's true that it's strange for me to leave these good people and go back alone again to enter my place to let me I don't know but it's time to go and I'm on my way, a very hot day. You don't always find solitude even if you look for it. it is about the arrival of a sailboat that seems to be approaching Hokula. For me it can be an extraordinary visit and I am looking forward to seeing you on the same boat that brought a group of Norwegians.
They were doing two months of navigation in elachipel to complete. for once it's not me on camera No, it's the visitors What do you think of the house? Did you see it? I guess it's not very luxurious for you, for the next half year or a year you have a bed and you have a place to hide from the rain when you finish the roof Before I finished my roof, I took them to the volcano they had that day,... and I had all the time in the world. It wasn't my first time here, but until now I stayed at the top.
With them I got even closer to the crater I like this. on a remote island in the middle of nowhere yes an inhabitant that's cool you like machete you like machete work very nice way of working in the forest could you guide these people great people could you guide them to thetop of the island bring them to the volcano and spend the day with them unfortunately they have to leave today but we had a good day together and now i get some rice i get onion i get a garlic i get two beers and i get a coke too. -queue so I'm very happy to have met them It was great because today I wasn't alone to talk to people anymore I could change my mind, I could... you know I wasn't alone anymore Now it's for sure I feel very happy because they were here but for On the other hand, I also feel a little sad because they are leaving, but what I have to keep in mind is that they were here with me and they changed me. day thank you norwegian people thank you so much my visitors were right in december the rainy season me and gins had to make sure my roof was waterproof once the job was done and the last few branches trimmed i decided to treat myself to another smaller luxury the view over the sea.
All the work with the machete ended up tearing the blade apart. The machete no longer cut anything and to sharpen it nothing better than volcanic stones polished by the sea. Once wet it worked perfectly. After a few months on the island I already had enough knowledge. So something of a routine has been established. I was pretty good at providing myself with food and the perimeter around my camp increased considerably, as well as the loneliness... on Christmas day I decided to use my satellite phone to send a message to my parents This is the first Christmas I have spent without you It feels a little weird but that's how it is.
I just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and Dad I hope your hips are better that everything is going well and I wanted to tell you that everything is going well around here, don't worry about me and I wish you a Merry Christmas. Spending Christmas and New Year's Eve alone on an island is really depressing. I thought about my friends, my family, champagne with foie gras and sparklers, all the things I don't normally like. I was fine here for another six months of solitude, especially since Gael, my best friend, promised to come here and spend the last two weeks with me.
But meanwhile I was alone. this is what i thought because there is a competitor from an amazing company that lifted my spirits. His name is Sugar and he is nine months old, it is Lofi's father who gave him to me because he thought I was very lonely here in Hokula. Luffy, the farmer who came to me for help, came back one morning to give me this dog as a gift. He wanted to thank me for saving his friend's finger. My motivation was back on track. A garden would add diversity to my diet. so i become a farmer and always use what i can find in the area.
It may be strange, I chose the front of the school to do my planting, but strategically it is very well thought out because, first of all, here is the only place where there is not a big tree. Another thing is that it is a 15-20 minute walk from my camp. Then I can come every day for the boar and if I don't come every day they will eat all the things I make here. Another reason is also that the tanker truck is here, I will use it to give water to my plantation. I have to work more useful than beautiful.
I also saved the watermelon seeds that Lofi gave me with the dog. The soil seemed fertile and the ideal temperature. So while I waited for things to grow, I decided to continue exploring the island. In search of new fruits or vegetables, beach caves or just new landscapes, I walked along the coast to the west along the rocky cliffs, which blocked access to the sea. Here I am on the west side of the island, the goal was to discover a little bit about this part of the island that is very different from the part where I have my house. here there are no big trees, there is low vegetation and very dry vegetation and also one of the objectives is to find Captain Cook's cave because it is close to the sea, but here it is so big that it is not impossible, it is not, but very Difficult, okay, now it's time to go home to make dinner and to eat I need a fish.
That night I got a big surprise... I cooked this. It scares me a little to see this little animal. I saw another one about a month ago, quite the same size. I think it's quite big, really. In addition to the beast suddenly being impressive, it had a large amount of food. I tried my humu, it's a hole in the ground that you build a fire in. you put the pieces of fish on top of hot amber and cover it completely like an oven, the heat that comes out is supposed to cook everything slowly for hours The shark spent the whole night cooking I prayed that no insects would be invited to eat at my expense.
With the removal of the leaves and the earth that covered it, I will not believe it, it is hot, it is still hot! Slow cooking would keep the fish for two to three days, but he was frustrated that he had only eaten fish for the past few months. So I decided to go wild boar hunting. I tried to find a pig path, there are many many paths for pigs around here and the pig used this path and for us it is not possible... to follow all the paths because if they are not 60 centimeters high anymore, but if I find one I want to make a hole in it, about 80 centimeters long, 40 centimeters wide, and maybe 1 meter 20 deep.
I want to hide it and put some coconuts in it, and maybe a pig can get it. Along the way he wanted to find the right place where the ground is soft and close to the water and where the pigs would surely pass. Water... I think I found a good pig trail and now I need to find a good spot and dig a hole. While I wait, my little garden has begun to grow. the first shoots were visible. It was a great success and the end result looked quite promising. Big here are watermelons and here are small onions.
Just a week into my gardening efforts, everything was above ground. Ok, I didn't have many options, but I could see that my work was paying off. The trap was set, the garden was growing, it was the perfect time to visit the volcano. I woke up this morning and had nothing to do, so I say...why not go to the volcano and on the way from the top? I could hear a very loud noise from the volcano... already. When you're down here, it really looks, it really does look like the place on the moon. And now I'm going to see the volcano A feeling of deep humility characterizes each visit to the volcano I was in contact with the center of the earth water air earth and fire all the elements are reunited.
Thousands of years of tropical rains shaped this magnificent landscape. As I hiked through the canyons, I was immersed deep into the incredible history of island formation, scratches being part of my daily number of little inconveniences that I paid little attention to. but when one of them started to swell up and I couldn't even bend my finger, I started to worry. Aaaaaïïïieueeeee It really hurt. My doctor explained to me over the phone what steps I should take to try to stop the infection. In 24 hours, if she doesn't seem better, I'll go to the hospital, it'll take five to 10 days until I can get to the first hospital that can do something for me. so... you know I don't have to wait too long if the infection doesn't really stay in the hand it can go up the arm and get into the blood and it can cause a general infection and if I have a general infection infection it's my life that It's in danger and I don't want to die, I'm not afraid of it, but if I can do something about it, I will, you know.
In Tofua, it rains almost every day. My roof had proven waterproof for some time, so, well protected, I waited for the rain to stop and rested my hand. There's nothing really special to do, this is the kind of day you have to learn to do nothing. then I do nothing. The next morning when I got to the trap I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was no longer covered. It was a little pig, a female, surely her mother passed by him but the little one fell inside her. You know what, I made such a big hole, just for you little pig like you, I really didn't know what I was going to do with it, but I certainly wasn't going to let it die here for just a few minutes.
Days later, when my finger was better, I decided to look beyond Captain Cook's cave. When the Tongans brought me to the island, they showed me where I was this time luck was on my side. I could feel certain vibrations and I had the feeling that I finally found it In my garden the plants make me happier here is one and here is another very small one that just started I am very happy and I have it with me little done hands and this is the result Normally when I go for a walk the pig follows me but today I go for quite a long walk and the pig follows me but it only follows me for a kilometer something like that and after that it goes into the forest and starts hiding and it can take me two hours retrieve the pig and then I have to carry it and the pig doesn't like to be carried so shouting and carrying a pig to carry a pig for two hours three hours shouting like this is not possible. and it's very noisy, a pig and that's why next time I'm going to make a booth in front of my house to put the pig in, because... you know how to be patient... this for two hours!
Awful!!! Every day the island was full of surprises. Waving my machete, I ended up cutting a strange vine. yes it comes yes, it probably takes a little more time than drinking water in our countries, but... at least we have water and here and we have time it's very good it's a little sweet when I'm in the forest to go it's It's very important to have this because there are not many coconuts around and I have to drink Since I am in Tofua, it is really the first time I see these big waves breaking, they are very big waves.
There is the place where I am going to fish today the waves are about 10 m higher It seems the beginning of a storm or I don't know or la la! Great waaaaaave, it's really amazing. When I saw the storm coming, I wondered if my heart was going to survive. The ability to waterproof is one thing, but there were other issues to consider, like the roof blowing off or a coconut tree falling on it. I need to remove my solar panel. The next morning, back to the same place, there was nothing left. the sea took everything. at night the wind became even stronger and at dusk my ordeal really began.
The creaks were quite scary but the worst was when the wind changed. The rain hit me square in the face, there was no place to hide anymore. I was soaked... Hello everyone. Now morning is starting to come again, which is great because I didn't sleep for most of the night. I couldn't see around me and I didn't know what happened, but I could hear thunder storm thunder lightning many sounds, storm thunder, thunder, lightning and everything. I slept a little but every time I fell asleep something would wake me up again very short night I won't be back today because I'm starting to be able to see what happened again it's important New day new day I am happy because my shelter is still in good condition This is what i use to clean in front of my house i decided to make two pads in front of my house.
I know that it is not very useful to walk these paths because every day I have to do it again because the leaves of the trees fall a lot and I have to do it again but then I have something else to do because sometimes the weather here sometimes gets me it's very long, so I don't know what to do. Had to put my solar system back together as well Apparently no faults it's fully charged I wasn't sure the adapter was working because all the moisture was with the storm maybe I thought it was broken but it still works and seems to work fine .
But there were victims of the storm anyway. at first glance everything seemed fine. the sugar cane grew as did the onions and taro and watermelons, however they did not survive. they were rotten it was terrible everything was destroyed i took my misery to a new craft project i am very happy because now i have a bank. Sometimes it's hard here to get motivated, but today I woke up and said yes, great, I'm going to do the bank and now in the afternoon I have a bank, I have my bank, I'm happy. It was near the end of my adventure, Gael would soon arrive to help me adjust to a social life and prepare to return home. so i started scanning the horizon.
Nothing in this world can be taken for granted. Baby had a bad surprise to me how she always came out of the pan but this time she disappeared. Today I entered the island, maybe 500 meters stellate, 500 meters further I tried to find it but... The island is too big you can search as long as you want... it was not possible to find it. but at least i tried. When I caged her in the hole I made, she was about three weeks old at the most, she was very small. I had to feed her the best I could and after a week she started eating on her own, that was a big win for me.
I feel like parents that you have to let the children out. and if it was her decision to go back to the wild and divorce me and start living her life in the wild again, that is her decision. I'm happy with it and now that it's gone I don't have a problem with my shelter. I miss this... I mean, you know, it's part of the game. I just hope all is well for her. and if she wants to say hello to me one day before I leave, I will be very happy. Gael's arrival meant the end of my lonely life and really revived my energy.
I wanted to show him everything and looking back, I tell myself it was amazing. it's very nice because since she arrived Gael I can start eating again like the food she ate in Switzerland and here there is dried meat and cheese and it's the paradise of Nirvana Christmas Hey Gael, where is the road? For a little another two weeks I tried to share myexperience of the last nine months with my friend who fished in the volcano. I told him all my joy my sadness my loneliness The final game was approaching. There was one more task to complete before I left the island.
When I put the box in the hole, I stopped time and now I realize that even if I wanted to stop time, time keeps running, but you don't have the same perception. and for me it was always important to know what the day was like and I know that every experience has a beginning and an end. and when the experience begins when the adventure begins You must always push forward, forward and in the end you must accept that you have left everything. And it's part of the game to drop everything and go back to the life you had before.
When I came here I didn't know anything about this place and now I can say that after nine and a half months I feel at home yes I do feel at home
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