Off the coast of Tonga, a group of boys set out for what they thought would be a couple of days of fun. In reality, their reckless joyride turned into a nightmare that would last for over a year. Lost and alone, they were forced to find a way to survive on a deserted island by themselves — until a mysterious fishing boat happened to appear on the shore.
The start of an adventure
This really happened back in 1965. In June of that year, the boys set out from Tongatapu – the main island in the sprawling Tongan archipelago. Aged between 13 and 16 years old, Fatai Latui, Sione Fataua, Kolo Fekitoa, Tevita Fifita Sioloa, Luke Veikoso, and Mano Totau had their hearts set on a wild adventure. But they would end up getting far more than they bargained for.
A crazy idea
The boys had one major thing in common: they were bored and tired of their bland school meals. Their solution was to go fishing, so they planned to sail to Fiji. However, being teens, none of them had transportation. They needed a boat. Luckily, local fisherman Taniela Uhila had a few, so — already disliking him — they snuck down to the waterfront and “borrowed” one of his 24-foot craft.
Failure to prepare
With Fiji around 500 miles away, it was not a voyage to be taken lightly. Surely, then, the boys — being from a seafaring community — would have packed accordingly? Apparently not. If reports are to be believed, they set off with just a gas burner, some coconuts, and a pile of bananas to sustain them — nothing more, not even a map or compass.
A doomed trip
Late in the evening, they made their getaway from Nuku‘alofa’s harbor, not telling anyone where they were going. And at first, things went well: no one saw them leave, and the weather was clear. They then drifted out into the Pacific Ocean, leaving their island home far behind. However, in the wee hours of the morning, they made a huge mistake.