Tracking down tribal music in remote regions of the world poses its share of hazards, says David Fanshawe, a composer and explorer. On Pulap Island in Micronesia, Mr. Fanshawe had his ``worst experience'' ever in the last 10 years of traveling. He had been recording all day and decided to go for a swim as evening approached.
``I was so tired ... I just lay back in the water and totally relaxed. Suddenly, I was snatched by the sea and sucked through a passage in the reef and swept out into the sunset,'' says Fanshawe, sitting on the edge of his chair.
He tried to swim back but soon realized he'd never make it. ``So there I was, with 3,000 fathoms of water underneath me ... floating due west.''
Then he had an idea. Years ago he had been impressed by the full-throated cry of a date picker on Bahrain Island. It was shrill enough to be heard for miles. ``So I cried out at the top of my voice `HEEEEYOY-YOY-YOY-YOY-YOY-YOY!''' says Fanshawe, giving a vigorous illustration, rapidly slapping the backs of his hands under his chin. After calling out for about an hour, he was heard by some children on shore. Fanshawe had also taken off one sandal and was flapping it continuously on the water to attract attention.
Pretty soon, ``I saw two little canoes leaving the island, and it took them five hours to reach me. When those fisherman rescued me, you couldn't see any land at all - nothing except stars. They heaved me out of the water - and I'm not a small man - with such strength; they didn't waste a minute.''
Once in the canoe, the men gave him hot tea and biscuits. When they reached shore, well after midnight, ``I collapsed on the beach, I was so exhausted.''