Irene Waters launches her book at Gloucester Bookshop

Irene Waters officially launches her book about her adventures in Tanna surrounded by her old friends in Gloucester. Photo supplied.
Irene Waters officially launches her book about her adventures in Tanna surrounded by her old friends in Gloucester. Photo supplied.

The Gloucester Bookshop recently celebrated the launch of Nightmare in Paradise by Irene Waters.

Irene, a past resident of Gloucester, returned from her new home in Noosa, to join with friends for this exciting event.

The book is a true story set in the remote island of Tanna, Vanuatu. Irene and her husband, Roger were business partners with the paramount chief of the Island in running a small resort and tour business. Their dream of an exotic escape soon turned into a nightmare. Believing they were embarking on a return to a simple life, Irene and Roger realised that island life was anything but simple. Immersed in the Cargo Cult, including witch doctors and chiefs, their adventure became one of comedy and drama.

The resort catered to sophisticated guests who expected five star meals. How to achieve this with two old cast-iron Primus stoves and a small kerosene bar fridge, to keep the food cold, was a challenge. Nevertheless, the food problems faded to insignificance when they were confronted with the death of one of the guests, at the active volcano on the island, and Roger’s kidnapping.

Here is a small taste of the prologue to the volcano tragedy.

“I’d felt disconnected since our cook, Elizabeth, had rapped urgently on our door.

‘Missus! Touris emi killem long volcano!’ She stood agitated, her eyes matching the hysteria in her voice.

‘Killem mo killem ded?’ I asked.

‘Killem ded,’ she replied.

The bile intensified my desire to vomit. No. It can’t be true! The words echoed in my head as I screamed for Roger, my husband, to follow us. As we raced down the hill to the resort, Elizabeth filled me in on the detail. I was working on automatic pilot. I became the intensive care nurse and my need to get to the other side of the island, to the volcano, and offer any nursing assistance was overpowering. She may not be dead, I kept thinking. She may not be dead. By this time Elizabeth had told me one of our tourists, a Japanese girl, and one guide had died. Still I hoped …”

‘Nightmare in Paradise’ can be purchased from The Gloucester Bookshop.