Sea surviors: 9 months at sea
Lucio Rendon, Salvador Ordonez and Jesus Eduardo Vivand, along with two other companions set out in a 25 ft fiberglass boat, on a three day shark-fishing trip, early on 28 October 2005 from the port of San Blas Nayarit, Mexico. After baiting and placing their shark-fishing equipment, they celebrated and prepared for the big catch that was coming in the following day. The following day they returned to where they thought they had left the rigging, but it was gone. They spent the next couple of hours, and all their fuel looking for the expensive equipment. By the time they had run out of petrol, they were too far away from shore to row back, and the winds, combined with the westerly current swept them out into the wide ocean.
They had supplies for about four days, but after this time had passed, they became increasingly aware of their growing thirst. There was no more fresh water, and they had run out of food. For three days they drank and ate nothing. On the third day, the men succumbed to their intense thirst and drank some sea water. This only made them feel sick, but by that night definite moisture could be felt in the air, and by the fourth day without water, a light drizzle started falling. They cut the tops off their plastic fuel containers, rinsed them with sea water and when the rain came down more heavily, they were able to fill four fuel bottles, giving them 200 liters of fresh water.
Food was not so easy. Lucio said, “We only ate twice in November. Hunger like I had never before imagined.” The first meal they had was a sea turtle that surfaced for some air. They lifted it out of the water, cut its head off and drank its blood. Then they shared the flesh between the 5 of them and ate it raw. Their two other companions could not stomach the thought of eating raw flesh, and died from starvation in late November.
They continued to catch turtles (Salvador made a turtle tally on the side of the boat which came to 103 turtles by the time they were rescued) and seabirds, and after a few months, they made hooks from nails and screws and used the barnacles that started building up on the hull of the boat as bait. They would use the barnacles to catch small fish and then use the small fish as bait to catch larger fish and using this method, they managed to catch dogfish, sharks, sawfish and dorado.
They salted and dried some of their meat to save it for times when they couldn’t fish. It is believed that the only reason that the men did not get scurvy, was because of the large amounts of fish which, if eaten raw, contains small amounts of Vitamin C.
The men drifted until 9 August 2006, when they were spotted on the radar of a Taiwanese fishing trawler. The trawler investigated and came across the three very skinny, but healthy men. They were saved! Spending over nine months lost at sea had landed them in the record books as the longest sea survival ever. They were found about 200 miles from the North coast of Australia, and had drifted over 5500 miles, across the Pacific Ocean. By the 25th, they were back at home, where their town’s people believed their survival to be a miracle. A miracle that happened to three men, whose names incidentally mean savior (Jesus and Salvador) and light (Lucio).