Survivor's Story Checks Out
A Salvadoran fisherman's account of his survival after more than 13 months adrifting across the Pacific in an open 7 meter boat is checking out.
Mexican authorities have two reports of a boat going missing around that time and the names of the crew match those of Jose and his companion Ezequiel. Jose was known at home by the nickname "Cirilo". There is a discrepancy in dates, but they are very close and the names of those aboard match the nicknames of Jose.
Journalists found the parents of Jose Salvador Alvarenga in the coastal town La Garita Palmera. where his 65 year old father, Jose Ricardo Orellana, owns a store and flour mill. They said:
Disbelief in the survival tale continue, but, José's tale rings true with us for the simple reason that the currents would have taken him across the Pacific to the Marshall Islands and he could have survived if he was an experienced seaman by living on a catch of birds, turtles and blood. He says he drank rain water, blood and his own urine. The young crew member could not stomach the diet, and that led to his death.
Another factor would be mental strength and determination to live. José said he prayed and was afraid to take his own life. He kept going dreaming of real food and reaching land once again.
Comments by Jose Salvador Alvarenga's joyful, sometimes tearful parents about their son may help explain how he survived, but they did little to dispel continued doubts about his tale.
Note: James delivered a catamaran Suzy Q to the Marshall Islands in the mid 1990's. The trip took 84 days under sail. They made 75 miles a day and caught enough rain water for the captain and two crew to manage without using the water in their tanks. The hardest part of survival in a small craft would be shelter from the sun.
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