Some real life Robinson Crusoes – Ada Blackjack survived 2 years on Wrangle Island

Doug Williams
Ada Blackjack, c. 1920. Public Domain
Ada Blackjack, c. 1920. Public Domain

There is no shortage of some amazing fictional accounts of daring castaways and deserted island survivals, however in real life these tales give more inspiration then fiction. The number of real life castaway stories is fairly low, but here we provide a few most interesting of all castaways over many years.

Ada Blackjack – Survived 2 years on Wrangle Island (1898-1983)

In 1921 an Arctic Explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson planned an ambitious expedition of five people to claim the Wrangle Island located in the north of Siberia, for either Britain or Canada. The centre of the story is an Inuit  woman named Ada Blackjack.

The 23-year-old mother of one took the job of a seamstress and cook with the expedition after she was promised to be paid $50 a month; she needed the money for his sick son who was suffering from tuberculosis. The team was advised to bring at least six months of supplies with them as it would have been enough for them to survive for a year if they also lived off the island itself. However, the men failed to find any food on the island, and three of the team members decided to do a food run leaving Ada behind with the other man who was sick and needed help. The men never returned, and Ada found herself alone after the man she was caring for also died after a few days. Ada somehow made it in the wilderness and was rescued in the August of 1923 after spending two long years on the Wrangle Island.

Captain Charles Bernard – Survived 18 months on Eagle Island

After a British ship Isabella had met a disaster off the coast of Eagle Island, an American sealer Nanina came in to rescue the doomed men; American sealer was captained by Charles Bernard. After rescuing the British ship, Captain Charles Bernard realized that there were insufficient provisions to provide the rescued men. Bernard took few of his men and went on to the Island to get more food and water for the men.

However, after they had left the ship British men took control of the matters and abandoned Bernard and his men to survive on Eagle Island. Bernard and party were later rescued after surviving nearly 18 months on the deserted island, at the time of rescue Bernard and his men were living in stone shelters specially built to lookout for any passing boats or ships.

Marguerite de La Rocque – Survived 2 Years on the Isle of Demons

In 1542 a French explorer named Jacques Cartier was leading a voyage to Newfoundland accompanied by Marguerite de La Rocque who was only 19. During the voyage, Marguerite fell in love with a young man. Marguerite’s uncle, Lieutenant General and a ruthless pirate Jean-Francois Roberval became angry on her actions and decided to maroon her on the Isle of Demons (Harrington Island) near the Saint-Paul River.

Marguerite’s lover was also marooned with her along with her maid servant who was accused of facilitating the affair. While on the island Marguerite gave birth of a child who died due to malnourishment. Later Margarite’s lover and her maid servant also succumbed to the harsh conditions of the island. Marguerite, however, survived relying on the meat from the wild animals that she hunted herself and took shelter in a cave for more than two years until the day she was finally rescued by a group of Basque fishermen.



fmssolution is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival