Hunga-Tonga island receives first castaway before it disappears in the ocean

May 24, 2015 · Curiosities

Hunga Tonga New Island Right now, Ian Argus Stuart, our bravest explorer and our oldest castaway, is in a boat on his way back to civilization, after facing quite probably the biggest adventure in his life: spending 11 nights completely alone on the new island of Hunga, Kingdom of Tonga. A remote island that experts have confirmed will sink back into the sea within months.

Ian Argus Stuart in Hunga TongaA few months ago a volcano exploded underwater and expanded until this island was formed in the middle of the ocean.
This 65 year old millionaire managed to survive from nature whilst on this fascinating and entirely unique desert island. With extremely limited resources, his diet was mainly comprised of seagull eggs and squid.

Ian has become the first human to sleep on this remote piece of land that recently emerged from the deep oceanspending 11 nights alone, in most extreme isolation, with not even a dinghy to escape in should the island suddenly collapse or start blowing again. Due to the dangerous nature of this adventure, his experience has been kept completely secret, not even his wife knew. This secrecy was mainly due to the high risk involved, specially if we take into consideration that Ian is castaway on a sinking island and doesn’t even know how to swim! Docastaway ensured that safety procedures were in place and Ian was connected at all times via satellite phone. In the event of an emergency, our team was standing by in Tongatapu, Tonga.

Hunga Tonga Cave

Back in March 2015 geologists advised people to  stay away from this island as it is unstable and will probably sink back into the sea within months. It is for this reason that the government of Tonga hasn’t even give the island a name.
However, true to our nature, Docastaway wanted to enjoy this island before it disappears, and in case it doesn’t disappear entirely and a new island is born, we wanted to check if this new island is suitable for our future castawaysWith this eventuality in mind, Mr Stuart has already given the island a name : ‘Nuria’ (God’s Fire)
Over the 11 days Ian Stuart spent living as a castaway on the island he was able to record an interesting video which will be available very soon. Meanwhile, Ian has been sending us his first impressions about this fascinating place via satellite as he experienced it:

Hunga Tonga Beach ‘It looks like a lunar landscape not having trees or other vegetation’ 

‘I found a cave to shelter in. I was there until the sea damaged it. The island is disappearing in the sea day by day’

‘The lake is not a lake anymore as the sea and the volcano crater have both joined together’

‘Moreover both of the two existing island are connected. Not as previously reported in media’

Hunga Tonga Lake crater‘The sea gulls are there in their hundreds with eggs hatching whilst I was there’ 

‘The first sign of plant life has started from the volcanic ash. No doubt seeds was brought there by sea birds’

‘Also I noticed long legged spiders in the cave as well as crabs. One day I saw 3 butterflies’ 

‘It’s really amazing to see how life is starting here on this remote island lost in the ocean. Most of it was brought by sea birds but some probably came floating in on the sea from miles and miles away. The other day I found a coconut laying on the beach’ 

Ian Argus Stuart sleeping in Hunga Tonga

‘One day walking on the shore, the land gave away and I was hit by a large wave which dragged me into the sea, then another wave dragged me almost to the point of no return. Then I dug my arms as far as I could into the grit and dragged myself underwater back to shore. I was 99% sure I had had my last day on earth as I cannot swim but luck was with me and I survived’ 

‘I managed to catch a few fish and a lot of squid which is the one thing from the sea I don’t like but as I took no food I had no choice’ 

‘Making fire wasn’t easy as wood is almost non existent on this island. Only some little sticks which had washed up on the beach’

‘For this trip I took some water as I was aware is wasn’t raining at all this month but also as there is no wood to distill sea water and of course no plants or coconuts’

‘There are not real words to describe that place but it must be just like it was at the start of time’


You can follow Ian Stuart on his facebook page

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

JB May 25, 2015 at 11:34 pm

Congratulations…the only way to know where the “edge” is, is to cross the line to the other side.

If you’re still in Tonga I’d love to buy you a drink and pick your brain…come visit us out here at Keleti Beach Resort, on the S/W coast of Tongatapu.

All is well which ends with a smile 🙂


Alvaro Cerezo May 25, 2015 at 11:40 pm

Thanks JB. Yes he is still in Tonga. We will inform Ian 🙂


Jessica Thomas July 11, 2016 at 7:12 am

Wow…… Very brave.


Josef November 4, 2016 at 1:57 pm

What is the latest news about the condition of the island. Any plans for another castaway. Love your story.


Alvaro Cerezo March 3, 2017 at 4:35 am

Hi Josef.

Ian actually came back to the Hunga Tonga after after a year. You can see the video of the new experience here


Alvaro Cerezo March 3, 2017 at 4:35 am

Hi Josef.

Ian actually came back to the Hunga Tonga after after a year. You can see the video of the new experience here


Erick February 11, 2018 at 10:36 am

How did you guy manage to get there? I really want to see this place.


Alvaro Cerezo August 11, 2018 at 4:50 am

Oh it wasn’t easy eactually. You need to hire a big fishing boat in Nukualofa. If you like we could help you. Send us an email to


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