Lucio Rendón, Jesús Vidaña, and Salvador Ordóñez: lost at sea for 285 days

Being out on the open water in a boat can be liberating, beautiful, fun. It can also be deadly. I came across parallel articles on kottke.org about people lost at sea for inconceivable lengths of time.

The first article is from the New Yorker, and details the account of Mexican fishermen who hold the record for surviving the longest amount of time at sea–over nine months:

There were no boats on the horizon. Nearly all the food had been eaten—Jesús regretted the crumbled saltines he’d cavalierly flicked into the ocean on the first day—and they’d soon run out of drinking water. At the beginning of the trip, they’d tossed their baitfish onto their supply of ice, which had since melted and turned to swill. So they drank seawater.”

The protagonists of the second article, a GQ piece titled Here Be Monsters, also try drinking seawater. These Pacific Islander boys were lost for a much shorter time than the Mexican fishermen–51 days–but their survival was much more improbable, their ordeal more harrowing. Drinking seawater was the least of their worries:

Soon they were down to their last coconut. Samu was in charge of cracking it. He used the machete, careful not to spill any of the precious milk. Samu sipped first. He passed it to Filo, who passed it to Etueni, who passed it back to Samu, who finished it. They scraped out every morsel of meat. And that was it. They threw the shell overboard.

They had nothing left.”

One of the Tokelauan boys after being rescued