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Mogmog - one family's epic adventure by Jennifer Barrie

by Jeni Bone on 18 Jul 2011
Mogmog - the modern day Swiss Family Robinson tale. .. ©
Perth family, the Barries made headlines around the world last year when their beloved 'Windrider' was shipwrecked on a tiny Micronesian island, Mogmog. Now we can share the highs and low (many, many of both!) and vicariously experience the Swiss Family Robinson-style adventure in Jennifer Barrie's new book, 'Marrooned on Mogmog: a remote island, a shipwrecked Aussie family, a clash of cultures'.

Jennifer Barrie and her family had been organising the holiday of a lifetime for 10 years. The plan was to sail around the Pacific and see some of the most beautiful and remote islands in the world. But their plan became horribly unstuck when they struck a typhoon and their boat was shipwrecked on Mogmog - a tiny island in Micronesia with a population of just 220. The strange customs of the people of Mogmog were just one of the myriad challenges faced by Jennifer, Andrew and their two daughters.

Writes Jennifer: 'Our beloved boat, Windrider, is now seated indecorously on the coral beach with her bum ripped out, rudders bent through ninety degrees, engines out and systems largely rendered useless. The morning after, we sat on the beach looking at our boat. Was this the end? Could something be salvaged? Andrew has a saying - actually he has lots - but this one is that it is possible to eat an elephant as long as you do it one bite at a time. So we set about our elephant, hoping we weren't going to get stomped on.'

And so began their book-worthy adventure.

With a combined boating experience of 65 years, Jennifer Barrie and her husband Andrew were confident that they were unlikely to hit any major snags after setting out on their dream voyage sailing around the Pacific.

Despite certain hardships, such as a limited diet of fish and turtle, strict rules governing places where men and women can mingle, and the traditional grass skirt dress, life wasn't all bad on the 600 by 200 metre island. Their daughters enjoyed the freedom, the ample time for learning about their new playmates, all while still keeping up with their schoolwork via distance education.

For the rest and how they returned to relative civilisation, you'll have to read the book. Available from HarperCollins Publishers Australia RRP $35. More at www.harpercollins.com.au

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