Jose Salvador Alvarenga and his friend are fisherman from Mexico. They mostly go out in the early hours of the morning to fish. This was to enable them come back on time and sell their fish in the nearby market.
On November 12, 2013 however, he set sail with his friend off to the nearby Pacific Ocean within coast. They went with a boat which had no rooftop, no room and measured an estimated 7 meters. Outside of those, the boat had an ice box powered by the boats small motor. The ice box is used to store the fish after they capture them.
At first, things went well and they were getting good yields for their effort, until the wind changed. However, instead of going back to base, they went 121km further into the pacific waters for more fish. They were there when a typhoon hit them. They tried going back to land, but their motor stopped working midway, forcing them to contact their base for immediate rescue. But before the rescue team could reach them, they have drifted further into the big pacific waters. After consecutive four days search for them, they team forfeited the effort and left the search.
By the 5th day, they were 450km away from land and lost in the pacific ocean. As expected, they had to resort to eating the fish they had for survival, and used rain water for drinking water. The size of their boat made things even worse, it was very small and difficult to spot by a larger vessel. When it doesn’t rain, they drank their urine or drank the blood of a tortoise.
Salvador’s friend died after 4 months. He decided to stop eating and drinking what they usually consumed to stay alive. However, Salvador pushed on, trying to survive at all cost.
He recounted that a cargo ship passed him on the 8th month but couldn’t spot nor hear him due to the size of the small boat be was in.
By the 11th month, he has drifted 11,000km further apart from land.
However, on the 30th of January 2014, he managed to find an island which had people and houses. By this time, he has spent 438 days (14 months) at the ocean.
In recounting his experiences, he wrote the book “438 Days“.
This is him before and after a fine barbing.
Ocean images: GOOGLE!