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Discoveries: Idyllic Honeymoon—How about a Tranquil Island in the Pacific?

Just the two of you...beautiful sunsets...walks along the beach...getting back to nature. What could be better?

That's what newly-married Mr. and Mrs. William Meng thought they'd find when they set out for their honeymoon right after WWI. They chartered a fishing boat in Hawaii and headed out for the remote island of Palmyra in the Pacific.

Sounds idyllic, right?

Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way...


National Labor Tribune (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), 9 February 1933, page 8.

As this newspaper article explains: "En route, the party lost its way, sailing blindly for three days. A threatened mutiny arose the second night. The mutiny averted, they reached the Palmyras on the sixth day."

The hoped-for romantic honeymoon turned into a nine-month ordeal, surviving being marooned as "they lived on coconut milk, using the heart of the leaves for vegetables, and catching fish, lobsters and crabs for meat."

Like Robinson Crusoe they set up signal fires that finally caught the eye of a passing Australian freighter.

Even after establishing contact with the passing ship, it still took another two months for a U.S. Navy vessel to finally arrive at their island and rescue them—after being stranded for a total of 11 months.

This article, written in 1933, says the Mengs have settled in Austin, Texas, 12 years after their honeymoon misadventure, and "have sworn off adventure."

However, the article ends on this tantalizing note: "an invitation to join friends in the Adventure club of Los Angeles, to which Meng belongs, in a big game hunt in Africa weighs heavily on their minds."