Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) managed to keep the whole thing hush-hush. But there’s video evidence (see below) to prove it really happened.
Flake and his two youngest sons took off for a once-in-a-lifetime, four-day trip to a deserted island during the Memorial Day congressional recess, the Washington Post reported.
The Post said that when he launched his Senate bid nearly two years ago, Flake promised his two youngest sons, Tanner, 15, and Dallin, 13, that he would take them on a survivalist trip when the campaign was over.
“We came back a little thinner. Maybe a little wiser. We had an awesome time, it was great,” Flake said in the interview with the Post.
Here’s more from the Post’s story on the trio’s journey:
Flake and his sons set off from Phoenix last Sunday on what would be a 10,400-mile round-trip journey. They flew first to Hawaii and then eventually to Kwajalein Island, a part of the Marshall Islands where the United States still has a lease for missile testing. From there, father and sons hopped on a friend’s fishing boat and traveled 62 miles to Biggarenn, an unoccupied island that Flake estimated was just 55 to 70 acres in size. The fishing boat left them behind.
“Tens of thousands of coconuts littered the island,” Flake said. “You just had to pick up the ones that were still ripe. We ate coconut and crab and fish.”
The Flakes brought along a lobster trap in hopes of capturing meatier fare, but lost it within the first few hours after it was attacked by a shark. They also carried two pumps to desalinate ocean water, requiring them to spend hours each night pumping for just a few gallons.
“For a dad it was a wonderful thing. No video games around, no television, no distractions, no texting,” Flake recalled. “To just sit there and pump water, that was my favorite time, frankly, on the island. Just talking. Just to have no distractions.”
Flake’s wife insisted he at least bring along a satellite phone, and with it the Post reports that he “received updates…especially on the case of Yanira Maldonado, a Phoenix-area woman who was detained while traveling in Mexico after authorities said they found 12 pounds of marijuana under her bus seat. Flake spoke with Maldonado shortly after he returned from the trip Friday night, he said.”
The Post notes that Flake took a similar trip four years ago on Jabonwod, “an island just a third of a mile long and 100 yards wide at high tide. He carried just a few items: A mask, fins and a pole-spear, a manual desalination pump, a magnifying glass to help start fires with the sun, a hammock for sleeping, a knife, hatchet, sunscreen, cooking pot, salt and pepper — and a satellite phone, just in case.”
More from the Post:
And the only political decision Flake made on the trip?
“That this ought to be mandatory” for senators, he said. “We’d all discover that no man is an island. There are a lot of metaphors — sharks and everything else you can come up with — but for me, it was just a great time to be alone with a couple of my boys.”
Check out the full story from the Washington Post, including a Q&A with Flake.
And here’s the inspiring video compilation of the trio getting away from it all: