Mariners have always understood that the ocean represents a threshold beyond which basic life support services such as fresh water, food and shelter are severely curtailed. Boat-wrecking reefs, storm swells and carnivorous predators are just a few of the hazards posed by the open sea. However, despite the oceans’ power and ferocity, a handful of fortunate souls who are lost at sea do live to tell the tale, as the following 20 incredible stories illustrate.
20. Louis Jordan
In January 2005 Louis Jordan set sail on a fishing expedition off the Carolina coast when his vessel capsized. As a result, all of his electronic equipment was destroyed, and to make matters worse, Jordan had fractured his shoulder. Miraculously, however, after being adrift for 66 days he was found alive. He credited his survival to drinking rainwater, using his clothes as a makeshift fishing net to secure food, and the comfort of prayer.
19. Jose Salvador Alvarenga
Jose Salvador Alvarenga is perhaps the most famous castaway survivor of recent times, not least because the Salvadorian was accused of cannibalizing his shipmate, Ezequiel Cordoba. The two fisherman got into trouble in November 2012 when a five-day storm off the coast of Mexico destroyed most of their boat’s equipment. Cordoba subsequently starved to death, while a dehydrated Alvarenga survived by drinking turtle blood. He eventually docked in the Marshall Islands, after surviving a brutal 14 months at sea.