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The Longest Solo Voyage in History: 438 Days An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea PDF Download

438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be stranded in the middle of the ocean for more than a year? How would you survive? How would you cope? How would you change? These are some of the questions that Jonathan Franklin explores in his book 438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea. This book tells the remarkable story of Salvador Alvarenga, a fisherman who survived 14 months in a small boat drifting seven thousand miles across the Pacific Ocean. It is a gripping saga of resilience, will, ingenuity, and determination that will inspire you to never give up.

438 days an extraordinary true story of survival at sea pdf download

The Incredible Journey of Salvador Alvarenga

Salvador Alvarenga was born in El Salvador in 1975. He grew up in a poor family and dropped out of school at 14. He moved to Mexico in search of a better life and became a fisherman. He loved the sea and was known for his skills and courage. He often went on long fishing trips in the open Pacific, chasing marlins, sharks, and tunas.

On November 17, 2012, he left the coast of Mexico for a weekend fishing trip with his crewmate Ezequiel Cordoba, a 22-year-old novice. They boarded a small fiberglass boat called La Chancha (The Pig), equipped with a motor, a radio, a GPS device, and some fishing gear. They planned to return the next day with a good catch.

The Storm that Changed Everything

But that night, a violent storm ambushed them as they were fishing 80 miles offshore. As gale force winds and ten-foot waves pummeled their boat from all sides and nearly capsized them, Alvarenga and Cordoba cut away a two-mile-long fishing line that was dragging them deeper into the sea. They began a desperate dash through crashing waves as they sought the safety of port.

But they soon realized that they were in trouble. Their motor had died, their radio had broken, their GPS device had fallen overboard, and their boat had no sail or anchor. They were at the mercy of the currents and winds that were pushing them farther away from land. They had no way to communicate or navigate. They had no idea where they were or where they were going.

The Struggle to Stay Alive

As the storm subsided, Alvarenga and Cordoba faced a new challenge: how to survive in the vast and hostile ocean. They had only a small cooler of supplies, which included some fish, water, soda, cookies, and a bottle of cognac. They rationed their food and water carefully, hoping to be rescued soon.

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But days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. No one came to their rescue. They realized that they had to find other sources of food and water to stay alive. They began to catch and eat raw fish, birds, and turtles that came near their boat. They collected rainwater in bottles and buckets. They even drank their own urine when they had no other option.

They also had to deal with the harsh elements of the sea. They endured scorching heat, freezing cold, saltwater sores, sunburns, infections, and injuries. They faced constant threats from sharks, storms, and waves. They had to repair their boat and their fishing gear with whatever materials they had. They had to keep their spirits up and their hope alive.

The Psychological Challenges of Solitude

But perhaps the hardest challenge they faced was the psychological one. They were alone in the middle of nowhere, with no one to talk to but each other. They had no idea if anyone was looking for them or if anyone knew they were alive. They had no idea how long they would be stranded or if they would ever see their families again.

They tried to keep each other company and entertained by telling stories, jokes, and dreams. They prayed together and made promises to each other. They celebrated holidays and milestones by drinking cognac and singing songs. They argued and reconciled over trivial matters. They became like brothers.

But as time went by, their mental state deteriorated. They suffered from hallucinations, paranoia, depression, and suicidal thoughts. They lost track of time and reality. They lost their sense of identity and purpose. Cordoba was especially affected by the ordeal. He became sick and weak from eating raw food. He refused to eat or drink anymore. He lost his will to live.

The Miracle of Discovery

On January 30, 2014, after 438 days at sea, Alvarenga saw a faint outline of land on the horizon. He could not believe his eyes. He woke up Cordoba and told him the good news. But Cordoba was too ill and delirious to respond. He died shortly after.

Alvarenga was devastated by the loss of his friend and companion. He buried him at sea with a prayer and a farewell. He then paddled his boat towards the land with his last strength.

The land turned out to be a small coral atoll called Tile Islet in the Marshall Islands, about seven thousand miles away from where he started. As he approached the shore, he saw a man walking on the beach. He waved his arms and shouted for help.

The man was Emi Libokmeto, a local resident who was collecting shells and coconuts. He was stunned to see a ragged stranger in a battered boat coming towards him. He ran to get help from his neighbors.

They brought Alvarenga ashore and gave him food, water, clothes, and shelter. They contacted the authorities and the media. They welcomed him as a guest and a friend.

Alvarenga was finally safe.

The Scientific and Cultural Implications of the Survival Story

Alvarenga's survival story soon became a global sensation. It captured the attention and imagination of millions of people around the world. It also raised many questions and debates among experts and media.

The Medical Mystery of His Health

One of the first questions that people asked was: how did he survive? How did he manage to avoid dehydration, starvation, infection, and organ failure? How did he maintain his physical health despite the extreme conditions?

To answer these questions, Alvarenga underwent a series of medical examinations by doctors in the Marshall Islands and El Salvador. The results were astonishing: he was in remarkably good shape for someone who had been through such an ordeal. He had no major injuries or diseases. He had normal blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and blood sugar levels. He had no signs of scurvy or rickets. He had only minor ailments such as anemia, dehydration, low potassium levels, swollen joints, and liver inflammation.

The doctors attributed his survival to several factors: his fishing skills that provided him with enough protein and fluids; his ingenuity that allowed him to improvise tools and shelter; his resilience that helped him endure pain and discomfort; his optimism that kept him hopeful and motivated; and his faith that gave him strength and peace.

The Legal Controversy of His Claims

Another question that people asked was: is he telling the truth? How can we verify his claims? How can we trust his memory and credibility? How can we rule out the possibility of cannibalism, murder, or fraud?

To answer these questions, Alvarenga faced a series of legal investigations by authorities in Mexico, El Salvador, and the Marshall Islands. He also faced accusations and lawsuits from his critics, such as the family of Cordoba, who suspected foul play; the owner of La Chancha, who demanded compensation for the lost boat; and a former lawyer, who claimed to have exclusive rights to his story.

Alvarenga defended himself by providing details and evidence to support his story. He also agreed to take a polygraph test and a DNA test to prove his innocence. He cooperated with the authorities and the media to clear his name and reputation.

The investigations concluded that there was no reason to doubt his story or to charge him with any crime. They found that he was a victim of a tragic accident and a remarkable survivor of a historic ordeal.

The Ethical Dilemma of His Fame

A third question that people asked was: what will he do now? How will he cope with his fame? How will he use his influence? How will he protect his privacy?

To answer these questions, Alvarenga had to deal with the attention, offers, and exploitation from his admirers and detractors. He received invitations and requests from journalists, publishers, filmmakers, celebrities, politicians, religious leaders, and ordi

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