It seems that mystery seems to surround the castaway’s statement that he was able to survive for 13 months out at sea after what was supposed to be only a 24 hour fishing trip back in 2012. The voyage, as Jose Salvador Alvarenga explains, forced him to go from Mexico to the Marshall Islands. There are some portions of his story which have supposedly been checked out. However, there are still questions that remain over such an incredible sea tale.
Most people wonder just who Jose Salvador Alvarenga is. He is from El Salvador and had been residing in the south part of Mexico. He was working as a fisherman on the Pacific coast. Investigators state that Alvarenga, age 37, was an illegal alien who was working inside Mexico. The man’s family in El Salvador explained that they had not seen their son in nearly a decade and believed he was either in prison or was dead.
Alvarenga stated that he had been on a fishing trip that was only supposed to last one day. He went with a teenage acquaintance, who allegedly later died at sea, and ended up getting caught in a storm which killed the engine of his boat and set him adrift for 13 long months. Numerous resident fishermen that live in the region of Mexico from which the castaway lived, explain that Alvarenga could have even been gone longer than what he says. Their reports would actually match up with a document that was filed with a local civil protection agency which reported Alvarenga had disappeared in November of 2012, which was actually a month earlier.
Police investigators in the Marshall Islands, where the long-haired and bearded castaway showed up at last week inside a severely damaged boat, explained that they have given up any efforts in trying to figure out how long Alvarenga was lost at sea. Anjanette Kattil, who works for the ministry of foreign affairs, declared that the investigators there had given up on trying to find out the actual truth of how long the man had been adrift. Only time will be able to show if his story is true or not. This focus right now is his medical condition to make sure if he is alright, and him then going home.
If Alvarenga’s sea tale does prove to be the truth, the expedition ended up taking him over approximately 6,600 miles of wild, open ocean before finally ending in the archipelago, which is around the halfway point between Australia and Hawaii in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean. However, with the usual currents that flow between Mexico and the Marshall Islands, it would take less than a year to go from where he started to the end of the voyage in the most robust currents. So if the trip did take around 13 months, a winding journey that went in and out of the currents was probably what happened.
Yet, Alvarenga’s assertions have brought much skepticism about how he was able to live so long while drifting in a fishing boat on the sea. However, police investigators state that they have found no reason to distrust his sea story as of yet. The inquiries into Alvarenga’s claims have been substantiated so far, stated the Marshall Islands’ foreign minister of affairs, Phillip Muller.
A fish story journey is not completely unheard of, since there were three Mexican fishermen who ended up making a similar passage back in 2006 that went on for over nine months. Those gentlemen were able to survive because they ate fish they caught and drank rainwater.
There were local people that had left flowers in front of the home where Alvarenga resided, because they said they thought he was dead.
Those that doubt the castaway also point to the shape that Alvarenga is in. They believe that if he had been at sea for 13 months, he would be in much worse physical shape. Alvarenga explained that he ate both fish and turtles he caught and also depended on rainwater to drink. He said that he also sometimes ingested his own urine to attempt to keep hydrated. It also is appearing that his health is not as good as originally was believed. The castaway had to go back to a hospital to be fed intravenously. Physicians stated that Alvarenga was extremely dehydrated and very low on vitamins and minerals. For some reason, his arms and legs have begun to swell, and he is unable to stay hydrated.
The mystery only seems to deepen around the castaway and what went on him in those thirteen months.
By Kimberly Ruble
The Washington Post