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Authors: David Yeadon

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Lost Worlds

BOOK: Lost Worlds
Lost Worlds

Exploring the Earth’s Remote Places

Written and Illustrated by David Yeadon

Peter Hillier

pilot, philosopher and friend;
the man who gave me yet
one more life
and widened my smile




Zaire’s Ruwenzori: To the Mountains of the Moon

Venezuela’s Los Llanos: Exploring Infinities

The Venezuelan Andes: Seeking the Hermit

Barbuda: All Alone in Paradise

Panama—The Darien: Lost in the Golden Time

The Chilean Fjords: Killer Waves, Williwaws, and Other Wonders

Northwest Australia: Bungle Bungle and the Never-Nevers

South-West Tasmania: Journeys of Solitude Through a True Wilderness

Fiji: The Temptations of Taveuni





The saving of the self:


The point of life is to know, love and serve the soul.

Thomas Moore (
Care of the Soul


Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

Helen Keller


I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion.

Henry David Thoreau

The saving of the earth:


We have done, and continue to do, terrible things to the Earth in the name of “progress.”


I believe it is still very much in the balance, whether we can succeed in rescuing ourselves and the Earth from the consequences of our arrogance and folly. There’s no room for the unbelievable complacency of those who claim that we have already done enough, and that our economic prospects will be undermined if we make too much of a song-and-dance about the environment. The truth is that there will be no singing and no dancing if we don’t take far more drastic measures than we have to date.


The wounds we have inflicted can be healed; the Earth can be “saved” from further destruction. But if it is to be done, it must be done now. Otherwise, it may never be done at all.

Jonathan Porritt—
Save The Earth
—Turner Publishing, 1991


So many individuals gave encouragement and support during my travels. Without their kindness I might never have completed my journeys—or this book. In particular I would like to thank:


Richard Agar,
for his hospitality at Exmouth in Western Australia.


Parker Antin,
for his book
Himalayan Odyssey
and his enthusiasm for my adventures.


The legendary
Doña Barbara,
who gave meaning (tinged with menace) to Venezuela’s Los Llanos.


Jan Beck,
for his help in reaching Zaire’s Mountains of the Moon.


Tim Cahill,
for his kind words on my previous book,
The Back of Beyond,
which gave me heart for these journeys.


The late
Bruce Chatwin,
for his beautiful book
The Songlines
from which I learned so much about the Australian outback.


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,
for the pleasures of his book
The Lost World
and for the dreams he made me dream.


Phil Cooper,
pilot and companion, for his calm and composure over the notorious Western Arthurs range in South-West Tasmania.


Tom Cronin,
for his ongoing interest in my adventures (and his desire to join me as a video-recordist for WHBG, Boston).


The Cuna Indians,
for their hospitality in Panama’s Darien Gap and their explanation of “The Golden Time.”


Lynne Cupper,
my sister, and husband
who offered sanctuary and fine sustenance during my homebound stopovers in England.


Jose Diego,
llanero and lover of the wild places, for his tales and insights during my Los Llanos odyssey.


Monica and Herman Ehret,
for their constant support and love.


The Estrada family,
for their kindness and hospitality in Venezuela’s Los Llanos.


Ormond Eyre
of Taveuni’s Maravu Plantation Resort, for an evening of kava and fine conversation.


Bill Foley
Westchester Book Composition,
for transforming a spotty manuscript into perfect galleys.


“Frigatebird Sam,”
for his company and revelations on the island of Barbuda.


Bob Geeves,
a wilderness-man par excellence, for his stories and bush-wisdom (but not his snoring!) at Melaleuca in South-West Tasmania.


Stephanie Gunning
of HarperCollins, for always making the process of book-creation seem so easy.


Linda Halsey and the staff of
The Washington Post Travel Section
who faithfully encouraged me in my wanderings and published numerous extracts from these journeys.


Don Hammerquist,
a true “King in a Grass Castle” rancher at Western Australia’s Mount Augustus, for his tales of the “jackaroo” life.


Peter Hillier,
to whom this book is dedicated, who saved my life (and this book) in Australia.


Michael and Marianne Hume,
my white-water-enthusiast friends, whose experience on the cutting edge of life makes some of my adventures pale in comparison.


The late
Deny King,
for the comfort of his hikers’ hut and the inspiration of his “writing-shack.”


Eric Leed,
for the insights of his book
The Mind of the Traveler
and the pleasure of our conversations.


Anne Morrow Lindbergh,
for the inspirations from her little book
A Gift from the Sea
on the island of Barbuda.


Graeme Macarthur and Murray,
my hosts and companions in the Bungle Bungle of Western Australia.


Maika, Mitieli, the four fishermen, and the villagers of Navakawau
on Taveuni (Fiji), without whom my visit would have been far less rewarding.


Thomas Moore,
for his wonderful book,
Care of the Soul
which helped my spirit through so many rough patches.


Jan Morris,
whose books are among my favorite traveling companions.


my guide into the Venezuelan Andes, whose energy and endurance were inspirational (if occasionally irritating!).


Nancy and Sam Paskin,
who are always the first to ask about my journeys.


Dan Peebles,
for his help in extracting me from a mud hole in the Australian outback.


Bob Poole of
National Geographic
for constant encouragement to this world wanderer.


Wilf and Joan Proctor,
for living life to the full and always being there.


Lela Prym
of Taveuni’s Garden Island Resort, for her kindness and Julia Roberts smile.


The Pygmies
of Zaire’s Ituri Forest, for one night of magic following that strange “bangi” afternoon.


Lanny Riley,
for his tales—and truth—about Tasmania’s “hidden history” (and an excellent breakfast!).


Juan Felix Sanchez
and his wife,
from whom I learned so much in the El Tisure valley of the Venezuelan Andes.


Christine Schillig
of HarperCollins, for her support with this book and her subsequent decision to wander the earth in search of her own lost worlds.


Peter Swales,
my Australian skipper and companion on the almost-disastrous sail down the fjord coast of Chile (and special thanks to
his boat, for her amazing endurance).


Scott Swanson of Lost World Adventures,
for his company and conviviality in Venezuela.


Joan Tapper and the staff of
Islands Magazine
for inviting me to share some of my “lost world” discoveries with readers.


Paul Valcoze,
for his company and quiet insights on that long boat journey into the heart of Zaire’s darkness.


Mike Ventura,
a fine photographer, with whom I plan to enjoy more odysseys.


“Walrus” Wade,
Australian outback pilot and raconteur, for getting me safely across the great “Never-Nevers.”


Kurt Wassen
and his team of fellow-mountaineers for helping me down from Zaire’s Mountains of the Moon.


Aubrey and Rosemary Webson
and their two children,
for their kindness on Antigua and enduring friendship.


Barbara and Peter Willson,
tin miners at Melaleuca in South-West Tasmania, for their company and English humor.


Bill Winkley,
a fellow writer, for his hospitality and advice in Fiji and the endurance of his friendship.


Claude Yeadon,
my late father, whose spirit wafts through these pages, and my late mother,
whose love of open-ended travel taught me so much.


Lynn Yorke of the
National Geographic Traveler
who shares my love of places unexplored.


And special thanks, once again, to:


Hugh Van Dusen,
my HarperCollins editor and friend, who creates the best welcome-home dinners.


And finally—my wife
—for all her help in preparing the manuscript, her prayers during my long absences, and her love.

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