Man survives 438 days at sea, gets an unpleasant surprise when he’s found

Who doesn’t love a good disaster movie? The thrill of watching ordinary people try to survive intense circumstances always puts the viewer in in the hero’s shoes. We think to ourselves – would we survive if there were a zombie apocalypse today or an alien invasion tomorrow? What about being lost at sea like Tom Hanks in Castaway? Would you be able to survive all alone on a deserted island? The hit film tells the story of a FedEx worker whose plane crashes into the ocean and he drifts to a nearby island. He is forced to survive on the island for years without any human contact and just the survival skills he must teach himself. The film was terrifying because the filmmakers effectively puts you in Tom Hanks’s character’s position. You’re right there with him as he talks to his volleyball friend, Wilson, and as he gets sick from malnutrition, builds his own shelter, and hunts for his own food. The prospect is scary and entertaining all at once.

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Of course that’s fiction. Nobody could really be stuck out at sea and on a deserted island for that long, right? That’s just made for the movies. If that’s what you’re thinking then you’ll be surprised to learn about more Jose Salvador Alvarenga. He is a fisherman from El Salvador who loves to go deep-sea fishing. He’s your everyday outdoorsy guy who enjoys the sun and the thrill of being one-on-one with nature and water. He knows what he’s doing when it comes to hunting fish and identifying species. He knows his way around the water.

Alvarenga decided to go deep-sea fishing with his assistant one day. He followed protocol – he checked out a boat and alerted the coast guard. Everything was going as planned and they had gathered tons of fish that day. As they continued to work that long 30-hour long shift, a storm approached them, bringing up violent waves and heavy winds. The duo tried to get back to shore. They rowed as fast as they could to avoid the incoming danger but it was no use. The water was out too out of control for them and they drifted for days as the storm pulled them deeper and deeper into the vast ocean and away from land. It truly was a scene from a movie.

What came next was a struggle for life. Both men were trapped on this tiny boat with little food and just the occasional rain water. They were forced to incorporate brutal methods to consume nutrition, shelter, and connection as they held on hope of rescue surrounded by nothing but water. Their story is the real-life Castaway you never thought could come true.

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