May 8, 2008

How To: Robinson Crusoe Island

Moated by choppy seas, 667km east of continental Chile sits Robinson Crusoe Island. You may have heard of it. Once it was a mid-Pacific mini mart for pirates seeking food, fuel and shelter.

They stocked the rocky land with goats and berry bushes, wholloped the fur seals and dug their stolen booty into its earth. The island was also the home to Alexander Selkirk, Defoe’s inspiration for Robinson Crusoe, a cantankerous Scot who went native—spending over four years stranded here—rather than board his worm-eaten ship. (Perhaps he fared better, since the ship did fall apart). Depository for shipwrecks (such as WWI’s Dresden) and keeper of treasure (or so they say), fables it boasts in spades.

Potential visitors should know a few things about the island:

  1. Getting here ain’t cheap. In fact, it’s cheaper to fly the much larger distance between Santiago to Easter Island. Miniature airline Lassa charges $800 US dollars for a round-trip. Dress warm, since cabin temperatures are fixed for the live lobsters.
  2. That reminds me. You don't get seasick, right? Because the airport sits on the other side of the island from San Juan Baptista, the only town. Post-flight taxi means a one-hour ferry, or if that isn't available, an open fishing boat transfer. Unless you bathe regularly in sea spray, you might want to bring waterproofs.
  3. Commitments are casual. The airline may or may not give you a return date. Flights in low season should go weekly, but if winds are high (or seas), you might find yourself island bound a few more days. I hope you like lobster.


Paul said...


Dalva said...

Keep up the good work.