In real life, there are volunteer survivalists who play the MacGyver as a warm-up while waiting for the apocalypse, and there are the real castaways who have had to improvise to survive a disaster… often even if it means doing really nothing. whatever! The proof with these 10 survivors thanks to whom we now know that jellyfish, well, it can be eaten!
1. A Salvadoran fisherman drifts for 13 months in the Pacific
Professional fisherman José Salvador Alvarenga left the Mexican coast with his 24-year-old colleague in December 2012 to go shark fishing. Victim of a violent storm, their 7-meter boat drifted, quickly deprived of its engines. They will only owe their survival to their taste for raw bird meat and fish, as well as their thirst for turtle blood and, incidentally, their own urine. 4 long months of this diet were fatal to the younger of the two sailors. In January 2014, José Salvador finally stranded on Ebon Atoll located in the Marshall Islands where he was finally rescued. Doubts weighed on its incredible history for a long time, until a study by the University of Hawaii studied the winds and ocean currents of the area crossed and confirmed the veracity of the events.
2. Two Thai castaways survive 5 months clinging to a cooler
Caught in a cyclone with winds of over 100km/h, a Thai fishing boat sank in just 10 minutes, enough time for 2 of the 20 crew members to jump into the water and cling to a fish cooler as a raft. Days, weeks and then months pass. Bad weather allows them to fill their ill-fated boat with drinking water, as for food, they make do with what they manage to fish. Their ordeal will last almost 5 months before they are spotted by a customs plane and fished out a few hours later.
3. A Chinese castaway crosses the Atlantic on a lifeboat
Poon Lin was 25 when he embarked in 1942 in Cape Town, South Africa on an English merchant ship. A few days later, the trawler was torpedoed by a German submarine. The young man first fell into the water clings to a rescue boat in which he finds a supply of water, some biscuits and an electric torch. He thinks he can last 1 month. He will finally spend 131 days alone at sea before seeing land again… at the mouth of the Amazon River! To survive, he manages to make a fishing line with his flashlight, using the remains of fish as bait. To quench his thirst, he collected rainwater as best he could and drank the blood of the few sharks he managed to catch!
4. Hit by a whale, they drift 2400 km alone on a life raft
Maurice and Maralyn Baily were by no means experienced sailors. He was a printer’s employee, she was working in the administration when they decided to drop everything to buy a boat to leave England and go to live in New Zealand. The first part of their trip is going well and our two adventurers arrive safely at the Panama Canal. However, a few days later, the hull of their boat took on water after being hit by a whale. They hastily inflate their life raft and throw whatever they can salvage into it. The days go by, the ships in the distance too, without ever stopping. Their stock of food quickly runs out and they finally resign themselves to eating what they find on the menu: seabirds, turtles and raw fish. In terms of hygiene, it’s not Club Med. Their clothes rot on their wounds caused by the sun. 1 year after leaving England and 117 days after their boat sank, luck finally smiles on them. A Korean fishing vessel decides to inspect this small point lost on the horizon, 2400 kilometers off the Panama Canal!
5. 4 months alone at sea on his sailboat… without a mast
Richard Van Pham has had ups and downs in his life. Business manager, he spent 6 months in a coma following a car accident. Ruined by medical bills, he buys a sailboat with the meager savings he has left and decides to make it his home. He left to sail off Long Beach when his boat was caught in a storm which swept away his mast and put his navigation instruments and radio out of use. Then begins 4 long months of shit. He stuns curious birds and sea turtles with a stick, evaporates seawater to preserve meat, and even manages to create a distillation device to evaporate and purify seawater. finally spotted by a plane of the Coast Guards who put an end to his galley. Two years later, he will again be rescued at sea, on a sailboat that had been offered to him after his rescue…
6. An American survives 66 days sitting on the hull of his upturned sailboat
Having gone fishing off the coast of North Carolina aboard his sailboat, this American almost drank the cup. Deprived of his mast and all his electronic devices, his boat ended up capsizing, forcing the young 37-year-old sailor to take refuge on the hull, taking with him everything he could save. A stream of water and food, he survives thanks to rainwater… and his laundry which attracted fish around the boat when he was cleaning his clothes. A regime that kept him alive for more than 2 months before his trajectory crossed that of an oil tanker which brought him back to dry land.
7. Abbé Pierre rescued from among 28 bodies in freezing waters
In 1963, Abbé Pierre embarked on a tour of Emmaus communities in Latin America. He was on board the “Ciudad de Asunción” on the Río de la Plata river (between Argentina and Uruguay) when it sank on the night of July 11. 28 bodies came out of the water, including that of Abbé Pierre. He is placed in the middle of the corpses which are piled up in a shed transformed into a mortuary chamber. Fortunately, a rescuer notices that Abbé Pierre is still moving, emergency care is given to him and they finally manage to revive him. Following this incident, the founder of Emmaus understood the need to structure his Movement so that it no longer relied solely on its fragile reputation.
8. A Brazilian survived 11 days at sea in a freezer.
In August 2022, a 44-year-old Brazilian fisherman miraculously survived the sinking of his boat, by transforming his freezer into a life raft! Not knowing how to swim, the man took refuge in the household appliance originally intended to preserve the fish. His unfortunate boat thus drifted more than 450 kilometers alone in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, without water or food, before being recovered by the crew of a trawler. Safe and sound, his galley did not stop there, since once landed on land, he was imprisoned for 13 days, for lack of being able to present his identity papers. He was finally able to fly home to Brazil.
9. An Icelandic castaway swims 6 hours in 5 degree water
One night in March 1984 off the Westman Islands in Iceland, Guðlaugur Friðþórsson’s trawler sank in just a few minutes. Outside temperature: 2 degrees. In the water, just 3 degrees warmer. Barefoot, dressed in jeans, a shirt, a sweater, Friðþórsson swims like a desperate man, talking to seagulls to keep his wits about him. A boat passes near him, without noticing him. Having reached the shore, he faces a cliff and has to go around it by the sea, fighting against the waves which threaten to throw him against the rocks. He will fight like this for 6 long hours before finally touching the ground: a lava field awaits him there which will shear his feet during the kilometers that remain for him to travel until he reaches the first inhabited house.
10. Two teenagers spend 6 days at sea feeding only on jellyfish.
Leaving on their rowboat for an afternoon of shark fishing, two teenagers from South Carolina were trapped by the tide. Struggling to get closer to the edge, they dropped their fishing rods, before throwing their bait overboard in anger. Without food (the sharks around their boat prevented them from getting in the water), neither drinking water, nor any means of protecting themselves from the sun, the two castaways let themselves drift for 6 days, feeding only on rare pieces. of jellyfish. They were picked up by the crew of a fishing boat before being rushed to hospital, where they were treated for severe sunburn and severe dehydration.