The Real Castaway
At the age of fifteen, Martin Popplewell saw the popular 1980 film ‘Blue Lagoon’ starring Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins. The story is about two teenagers who end up stranded on a tropical island. They grow up together and eventually fall in love. Martin then decided that he wanted to spend some time on an uninhabited island in the Pacific with a girl.
Martin Popplewell planned to live on the island with his girlfriend, but just before they were supposed to leave, she had second thoughts and backed out of the project. This forced him to make a public appeal for a replacement. His only requirements were for the girl to be practical and easy to get along with. A woman named Helen, who was 12 years older than him, agreed to the adventure.
When they first heard about his plan to move to a deserted island, Martin’s parents decided to ignore it in the hopes that it would just go away. That was not the case. Their son wrote many governments requesting permission to live on one of their islands and, after three years of planning, finally ended up eight thousand miles away on an island called Yap in the western Pacific, part of the Federated States of Micronesia.
When they first arrived, the government official who met him was very surprised to find out that he was only 18. This man felt that the boy’s life was at risk and that he wouldn’t be able to survive the harsh conditions. So he purposed to find somebody who could teach him basic survival skills. These included how to open a coconut, which fish to eat, and how to build a shelter using palm leaves.
The view from the airplane was breathtaking. The island was just one of dozens that surround a large lagoon. But after spending a few days there, Martin discovered that life on that island was nothing like the Blue Lagoon at all. There were tons of war rubbish, millions of mosquitoes, and hundreds of rats. Add to that the fact that his relationship with his companion, Helen, wasn’t going too well either.
Soon the dream became a nightmare and Martin found himself all alone. Then a local family from a nearby island decided to take him under their wings. They taught him about the culture and made him earn his keep by teaching at the local school. He learned that their diet consisted mainly of turtle, fish, and coconut, they were very superstitious, and their only communication with the outside world was by radio.
Eventually, Martin found another island and finally convinced his childhood sweetheart, Rachel, to join him there. She was the one he had always fantasized about sharing his island with.
In this film, Martin Popplewell returns to his island twelve years later. Watch this now.