When 73-year-old Andorran millionaire Ian Argus Stuart goes on holiday, he packs two bottles of water and a 4m-by-3m tarpaulin into a dustbin. He jumps in a fisherman’s boat, and when they spot an island where the fishing is good, he wades ashore, the dustbin keeping his other meagre possessions (rope, a sheet, a toothbrush) dry, too. The fisherman will collect him in a week or perhaps a month. He uses the tarp and dustbin to harvest rainwater and eats whatever he can catch from the sea or find on the island, growing or washed up.
In 2015, he spent 11 days on an island in Tonga that had been newly formed by an underwater volcanic eruption. He was the first person to spend a night in Hunga Tonga, which was only two months old at the time and had no vegetation. He survived by eating squid and bird eggs.
After an eruption in December 2021, which caused tsunamis around the world, the island disappeared. Even when Stuart was there, it was unstable. At one point, the ground gave way under his feet and he was washed into the sea — he is unable to swim. He also got stuck up to his waist in compressed lava dust. Why put himself through these life-threatening challenges?
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