A British woman has returned home after spending two months stuck on a deserted island because of restrictions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Natalie Poole, 35, spent lockdown on Kyun Pila Island in Myanmar after crossing the Thai border just 15 minutes before it closed.
She experienced lockdown as a real-life castaway on an island with just four other British people, after their boat off back was cancelled.
After spending 60 days on the island, she’s now back in Ashburton, Devon and already working on her family’s allotment.
Luckily, the scuba instructor had planned to be on the island for a month as part of a team helping a coral reef, so she came at least partially prepared for the stay.
The island is a six-hour boat trip away from mainland, a journey that was rendered impossible after the lockdown restrictions in both Thailand and Myanmar.
Although admitting she faced difficulties during her trip, she found her sense of freedom quite liberating.
They only received one package of food to last them a month, but they found enjoyment in foraging for food.
“We crossed the Thai border 15 minutes before they closed it so we would have either been in no man's land in Thailand or could carry on to the island.
“We knew what was happening with the coronavirus but we went with it. We thought we might get stuck a little bit but did not think for one minute it would escalate as dramatically as it did.
“We made the best decision as at least we were able to do what we were meant to,” Poole explained.
The team on the island used cleaned washed up plastic to to set up a rainforest camp and rationed the food they were given once a month between the people living on the island.
The individual camps were made with bamboo, rice sacks and bottles and they even made furniture, a well, a fire pit and a place to wash while they were deserted on the island.
Despite the idyllic location, they did have to deal with a fair few unwelcome inhabitants.
They shared their space with scorpions, snakes, mouse-deer, wild boar, monitor lizards, and slow lorises, but Poole said the biggest annoyance for her came from the mosquitos and sand flies.
“The island is obviously stunningly beautiful but we were there at the start of a brand new three year project with very little facilities,” Poole said.
“We were in the set-up phrase so if we wanted something we had to build it for ourselves.
“But at no point did we run out of anything. It was communal living so you had to be careful what you ate. A boat would come once a month with supplies, it was a slow boat from the mainland.
“You would get a lot of rice and pasta but we had our own garden so had a constant supply of vegetables.
“But like any tropical place - the biggest annoyance was we would be eaten alive with mosquitios and sand flies.
“I have only just stopped itching since I got back. But I am very used to living and working in an environment like that.
“I am used to simple living so that wasn't too difficult to adjust to. But we were in a situation where we were worrying about home but with no home comforts.”
Poole dreamed of drinking a cold cider in the garden on her return and luckily for her, it lived up to expectations.