This week’s miraculous tale of a Mexican fisherman who claimed he had survived for more than a year at sea, alone and drifting 8,000 miles in the Pacific ocean, getting by on drinking rainwater, catching fish to eat and drinking the blood of turtles, has dominated the headlines.
We have all been fascinated to hear of 37-year-old Jose Salvador Alvarenga’s amazing account of life at sea, after his fishing boat broke down whilst out shark fishing with his friend’s 15-year-old son.
He details how they were lucky enough to have caught two sharks which they were able to use for food, before the 23 foot boat’s outboard motor failed, thus instigating the amazing chain of events that followed.
Jose told how his companion died after he was unable to digest the raw fish and birds that were the only food available. He then endured 14 months of drifting, drinking his own urine and the blood of seagulls to stay alive, his only shelter being the boat’s cool box, which he used to partially escape from the sun and also, he says, to regularly pray to God.
After finally drifting ashore in the Marshall Islands, Jose’s amazing adventure and extreme survival is fast becoming the stuff of legend.
But then there are the doubters. Questions are emerging as to how Jose appears to be so well – his lips were not cracked and swollen, his skin was not burned almost black by the relentless sun, and doctors who examined him in the small island hospital in Majuro expressed surprise that he was in such a relatively good condition that they released him from their care after just 24 hours.
Jose’s odd request for a stroll along the beach to get some exercise had sceptics immediately asking why he should ever choose to see the sea again after his horrific ordeal. Despite having nothing but sea air around him all that time, he still took the opportunity to breath deeply, a man enjoying life when just a week earlier he was thinking only of death from starvation or dehydration, according to what he has told officials.
If he’s lying, what motive could he have? Well, apart from worldwide fame and untold wealth?
The truth will surely emerge. In the meantime, I for one would like to hope that this modern day miracle is real and honest.
It’s not often we get to hear such an awe inspiring story of the huge strength of human spirit and faith in God... and it’ll make a brilliant film!