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'Island to Island'

From Somerset to Seychelles

Living & working on the tropical island of Aride amongst 1.5million seabirds

Crawling with crabs, the sweet scent of Wright's Gardenia filling the air, By-the-Wind-Sailors floating by and the highest density of skinks in the world, Aride Island is truly a nature lover's dream.

Island to Island: Welcome
orange hermit crab 2_edited.jpg

Island to Island

Released - 23rd August 2022

'Island to Island' now available to purchase from Waterstones, Cranthorpe Millner and Amazon.

Sally's first illustrated narrative non fiction novel, 'Island to Island', was inspired by her conservation career giving her the opportunity to live and run a remote Island nature reserve in the tropics, with her partner. 

Suspending two well established lives in the UK to swap Somerset security for tropical tempestuousness was the most significant decision in their lives together so far. Like David McKee’s Mr Benn, the children’s television adventurer from the 70s, they were about to take on new identities; to cast off their scarves and put on their sunglasses. They had the opportunity to unlock their own magic door, to live and work on a tropical island one mile long by half a mile wide, six nautical miles from the mainland, with no electricity or running water and just six other inhabitants.

Aride remained the special place where fairy terns hovered around your head, shearwaters wailed under the cover of darkness, and frigate birds peppered the cliffs like flies on a carcass. The ocean was awe inspiring. Humpback whales migrated along the shore, eagle rays the size of blankets surfed the waves, and flying fish glided past. Whilst secretly beneath, the water was crowded with fish so colourful they would have been more fitting in an aquarium.

The aura of Aride invigorated the senses; at night with no light pollution, like a myriad of crystals on black velvet, the Milky Way illuminated the sky. Bioluminescence shone in the sand, whilst the sweet scent of night flowering cucumber, drifted in the breeze. Natural sounds replaced human noise. Casting salt into the air as they repeatedly hit the shore, the rhythmical waves of the sea were the most pronounced.

However, the aesthetically idyllic Aride was deceptive, and as Sally and Melvyn shifted from buying a comfortable quality of life to sustaining life, the everyday challenges they faced were extreme and, often, severe. From star-filled skies to merciless monsoons, deadly pisonia to devastating poaching, turbulent seas to tumultuous staff, their Aride existence became dominated by an eclectic mix of emotional turmoil. Unaware, they had entered a life that was in a different position along the cultural timeline. Two disparate cultures met, they jostled together and frequently clashed, culminating in a roller-coaster life of intense highs and lows.

Island to Island: Work

'Island to Island' now available from Cranthorpe Millner, Amazon and Waterstones

'Island to Island' now available to review at Waterstones, Foyles and on NetGalley.

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Island to Island: Image

Full seal of approval...

Powerful endorsements

Naturalist, Author & Award-Winning Producer of BBC's Springwatch.

"A delightful account of living the dream - and saving nature."

Baroness Barbara Young of Old Scone

Ex RSPB Chief Executive

"Sally Mills' book will remind us all of the heroes, both Brits and Seychellois who have tended and restored Aride and its nature.“

Miranda Krestovnikoff

Broadcaster, diver, author and current RSPB President

'This tropical adventure set on the tiny island of Aride sounds fantastic.  I can’t wait to read it!'

Author of The Ghost Sister, and historian

"A fascinating true story of island life, with a close and expert attention to detail in the descriptions of both the natural world and of human kind."

Aride Island Custodian

"Responsible for an island which has magpie robins and other key birds of considerable conservation interest … I have been most impressed by the way you have run the island… very well done."

Aride Island Custodian and Island Conservation Society (UK) Trustee

"It is lovely to read and very comforting to know that the wishes of my grandfather, Christopher, to protect, conserve and restore its wildlife, and to use Aride to inspire future generations, are still actively being delivered."

Island to Island: Clients

A Sneak Preview

Reveal an associated exert from the book by selecting the image.

The gallery below provides an insight into the challenges and highs and lows faced when living on a remote island in an alien culture.

Illustrated with watercolours, 'Island to Island' shares a unique existence, with many tales to tell. Life was certainly not all sun, sea and sand, food supplies were limited and with little alternative, every day was physically challenging, intensified by the extreme climate; over 30°C and 90% humidity...

Seeds washed up on the beach crest
White-tailed tropicbird
Purple turban shell
Bwa d'roz
Seychelles map
Map of Aride village
Banana trees
Lesser noddies
Blue pigeons
Angel's trumpet
Shell-less purple hermit crab
Okra flowers
Roseate terns
Blue-cheeked bee eater
Copra house
Black parrot
White-tailed tropicbird
A map of the Inner Islands
Aride Island map
Island to Island: Portfolio

Join Sally to hear a taster of Island to Island

Life on a remote tropical island was certainly not all sun, sea and sand. Sally provides an introduction to her debut novel 'Island to Island' in this short Christmas video. 

Island to Island: Video

Working together

An opportunity to say a small thank you

"My dad and I shared a passion for wildlife. He loved the countryside, which provided all the introduction I needed to a career in conservation. Although he never made the planned trip to Aride, he avidly followed our tropical journey every step of the way and his support as always was unquestionable. Over 45 years he taught me many skills and was the biggest influence in my life. He was my source of knowledge and advice – Dad would know. He taught me how to grow vegetables, and sunflowers 12-foot-tall, how to drive a car, plumb in a bathroom, build a fireplace and paper sticks to burn in it. He believed in me, encouraged me, and enabled me to flourish. After all, as his daughter, I was in his eyes a bobby-dazzler. A kind and nurturing man, I have always felt fortunate, privileged, and grateful that his last few days were spent at St Kentigern’s Hospice. As an expression of humble recognition and gratitude, the funds raised through sales of Island to Island will be donated to 
the hospice, who I can never thank enough for the sensitive 
and compassionate care they gave him.”  Sally.

Island to Island: Image
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