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Fishermen found alive after a year adrift
August 18, 2006 8:42 AM   Subscribe

"Sometimes our stomachs would hurt, because we would go up to 15 days without eating." Three Mexican fisherman were found alive after drifting in the Pacific for nearly a year. They were found in their 27-foot boat, 5500 miles from where they started.
posted by cerebus19 (56 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Um, that's "Three Mexican fishermen," obviously.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:43 AM on August 18, 2006


They started with four.
posted by brain_drain at 8:54 AM on August 18, 2006


Surely Jesus would have provided them with all the food and drink they needed and made sure they were saved?
posted by lemonfridge at 8:57 AM on August 18, 2006


Reports said that two other crew members had jumped overboard and presumably perished soon after they encountered engine problems.

Hmm... this part smelled a little fishy to me.
posted by gigawhat? at 8:58 AM on August 18, 2006


"Three Mexican fisherman were found alive"..."Reports said that two other crew members had jumped overboard and presumably perished..."

I think they started with five.
posted by hal9k at 9:00 AM on August 18, 2006


If that was me as soon as I got on dry land I would have turned to the other two and said "Well, fellas that was a thing for sure, glad we made it, now I never want to see either of your fucking faces ever again, ever."
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:01 AM on August 18, 2006


Hmm... this part smelled a little fishy to me.

But, alas, tastes like chicken.
posted by hal9k at 9:02 AM on August 18, 2006


'Surely Jesus would have provided them with all the food and drink they needed and made sure they were saved?'

No, that was Salvador's job. Jesus was the mechanic.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:02 AM on August 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


Lemonfridge, Jesus did, apparently.
posted by jonson at 9:04 AM on August 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


There is no cannibalism in the Mexican fishing fleet, absolutely none, and when I say none, I mean there is a certain amount.
posted by yhbc at 9:07 AM on August 18, 2006


Fifteen days without food is entirely surviveable (I've done seven, and others have gone without for over a month). I'm completely shocked though that they were able to capture enough rain to drink every day. Amazing luck.

Drifting across the pacific - what a story to tell the grandkids!
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:08 AM on August 18, 2006


I think they started with five.

3+2=4. Learn your math.

OK, my remark was intended as a joke about eating other fishermen, but I missed the part about there actually being two extra fishermen at the start, so it made no sense. Hey look at those other comments!
posted by brain_drain at 9:15 AM on August 18, 2006


I know I saw this originally with a joke about how good of fishermen could they be, if they went 15 days between meals. But seriously, why couldn't they do any fishing? I know drift nets are banned, but if you are starving, I can't see that stopping you...
posted by nomisxid at 9:24 AM on August 18, 2006


Fishing with nets in the middle of the ocean is a little hard when you don't have an engine to keep the net inflated and drive the planers down to the depth where the fish are.

A 27 foot boat is a tiny little boat for the ocean. Most people won't cross Lake Michigan in anything less than a 30 foot boat.
posted by 517 at 9:35 AM on August 18, 2006


I'll never complain about eating "another" peanut butter sandwich for lunch ever again.
posted by wfc123 at 9:36 AM on August 18, 2006


Pah. Most reports say they were out there for only nine months.

When you hit a year, give me a call.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:40 AM on August 18, 2006


Movie deal, baby.
posted by leapingsheep at 9:47 AM on August 18, 2006


Was there a tiger?
posted by Milkman Dan at 9:49 AM on August 18, 2006


I think that the comments about the names of the fishermen are out of place. The name Jesus means Joshua in English. If this had been about three American fishermen and one of them was named Joshua, I don't think you would have the same sorts of comments. I guess it just shows once again that it is ok for people to make fun of Mexican people even though you would never consider writing anything about other races. Please show some class.

Other than that, thanks for the post! Very interesting.
posted by catseatcheese at 10:08 AM on August 18, 2006


Three were found alive, and two drowned? So tres flota, dos sinko.
posted by Osama bin Laden at 10:25 AM on August 18, 2006


If they were Americans, we'd be calling them "heroes."
posted by king walnut at 10:26 AM on August 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


Quite the fascinating story.
posted by JanetLand at 10:28 AM on August 18, 2006


" If this had been about three American fishermen and one of them was named Joshua, I don't think you would have the same sorts of comments."

Well of course not, because "Joshua Saves" doesn't make any fucking sense.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:40 AM on August 18, 2006


"I guess it just shows once again that it is ok for people to make fun of Mexican people even though you would never consider writing anything about other races. Please show some class."

Lighten up for Jesus' sake. Yes it is ok to make fun of Mexican people, and anyone else, without hate.
Why just yesterday I was talking a lot of trash about a white american.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:42 AM on August 18, 2006


This is how LOST wraps up, in the 9th season...
posted by LordSludge at 10:47 AM on August 18, 2006


Look. I tell you what. Those who want to can eat Johnson. And you, sir, can have my leg. And we make some stock from the Captain, and then we'll have Johnson cold for supper.
posted by ninjew at 10:47 AM on August 18, 2006


Why didn't Jesus just walk home?
posted by chillmost at 10:48 AM on August 18, 2006


Wow, that ZOMG racism! accusation was sure out of left field.
posted by spaltavian at 10:57 AM on August 18, 2006


But gatos no comen el queso.
posted by grateful at 11:06 AM on August 18, 2006


Was there a tiger?

I was going to say that...
posted by FeldBum at 11:12 AM on August 18, 2006


I guess it just shows once again...

Because, of course, everything must, must reflect poorly on someone else. After all, what's the point of jumping to conclusions if people can't see how superior you are?

Let me guess, you think popular music sucks because it distracts people from more important things (like how cool it is that you don't own a TV, and how deep you are as a consequence)?

Now, isn't it fun when people assume things about you?
posted by aramaic at 11:22 AM on August 18, 2006


"The name Jesus means Joshua in English."

Actually, it's the other way around. But that's a quibble -- since unlike Juan/John, "Jesus" means Jesus in Spanish. As in God Junior. (Case in point: this guy.)

Name your kid after a deity, and he's gonna get picked on. Same goes for "Britney," "Satan," and "Mel."
posted by turducken at 11:22 AM on August 18, 2006


Too late for the Pi joke. I was going to insist on having them interviewed by a staff member from the Japanese consulate.
posted by GuyZero at 11:51 AM on August 18, 2006


I have some Mexican friends...some of them are named Jesus. They aren't mechanics, they don't go around saving people, and I'm sure that they get pretty sick and tired of people making comments about their names. (tele marketers, store clerks, online communities...)


Anyhow, this truly was an interesting post and I can't wait to hear the whole story from the survivors.
posted by catseatcheese at 11:52 AM on August 18, 2006


I have some Mexican friends...some of them are named Jesus.

Some of my best friends are named Mohammed.
posted by Osama bin Laden at 11:55 AM on August 18, 2006


A know a quantum mechanic named Jesus. He likes beans and jalapenos.
posted by ozomatli at 12:00 PM on August 18, 2006


I have a Mexican friend named Oliver. So I better not hear any racist jokes about Charles Dickens books, he's TIRED OF IT.
posted by solotoro at 12:41 PM on August 18, 2006


How did they fend off scurvy?
posted by nyterrant at 12:48 PM on August 18, 2006


If Jesus came back today, do you think that he'd get mad when everyone assumed his name was pronounced 'hey zeus'?
posted by DragonBoy at 1:02 PM on August 18, 2006


Hell I get mad when people pronounce it "hey zues".

The accent is over the "u" people!! Over the "u"!!!

Heh-SUS
posted by ozomatli at 1:05 PM on August 18, 2006


"How did they fend off scurvy?"

The article I read said they just happened to have a bag of citrus fruit with them, which makes me a tad suspicious. ("Hey Jesus, leave the radio on the dock, but grab those limes!") That and all the eating of sea birds. Seagulls are dumb, yes -- but captured-by-starving-guys-in-a-boat dumb? I dunno.
posted by turducken at 1:10 PM on August 18, 2006


The article I read a couple days ago in the Chronicle had this juicy tidbit:

However, the government news agency Notimex interviewed relatives of the men in San Blas, who said they had only been missing for three months.

link
posted by oneirodynia at 1:29 PM on August 18, 2006


Chill, catseatcheese. We're making fun of Jesus, not mexicans.
posted by nlindstrom at 2:36 PM on August 18, 2006


I call bullshit.
posted by tkchrist at 3:44 PM on August 18, 2006



posted by Brak at 3:48 PM on August 18, 2006


Scurvy probably wouldn't have been a big concern unless they were cooking the meat they had. Muscle, and especially the liver, of most animals is a decent source of the vitaminwhen uncooked- at least enough to forestall scurvy for this kind of timeframe it would seem. Humans are a rather odd species in not being able to produce vitamin C at all.
posted by Helix80 at 4:11 PM on August 18, 2006


Assuming you're not going in circles, can you really drift for 11 months without hitting any land?
posted by Liquidwolf at 4:22 PM on August 18, 2006


Current confirmed ocean survival record: Poon Lim, 133 days.

Here's a few pointers for your next boat trip.
posted by cenoxo at 5:54 PM on August 18, 2006


Please do not fight over whether the name Jesus is inherently more funny than other names. It isn't.

Seagulls are dumb, yes -- but captured-by-starving-guys-in-a-boat dumb? I dunno.

If those guys are resourceful and determined to survive, sure. I imagine the first things I'd try to catch birds would be a snare of some kind, then maybe some kind of spear. Given a few weeks to work on the problem, it's not hard to believe they could work something out.

Assuming you're not going in circles, can you really drift for 11 months without hitting any land?

In the Pacific ocean? Yes. You might drift along at somewhere between 0 and 5 knots, say. The ocean is 10000 miles wide. At that kind of speed it could take months to cross even if you somehow managed to go in a straight line. And yeah, there are not many islands compared to the places where there aren't any islands.
posted by sfenders at 6:23 PM on August 18, 2006


Drifting for three months at 2.5 mph would get you 5,500 miles. For eleven months, that's 12,100 miles. Assuming you drifted in a consistent direction, which seems plausible. Here is a slide-show of drift currents for the Pacific. The Marshalls are north and east of Papua/New Guinea. They would have hit the Phillipines by four or five months, easy.

They lost track of time. And we're not getting the whole story about the victims.
posted by owhydididoit at 8:32 PM on August 18, 2006


I didnt know there were birds way out in the middle of the pacific ocean. The way they talk, sounds like there were lots of them. And it rained every day? This aint right.
posted by BillsR100 at 8:52 PM on August 18, 2006


Drifting for three months in a straight line, which is a somewhat unlikely course, at 2.5 mph, which is quite obviously a lot faster than the average speed on that drift chart, would be one possible outcome, I guess. So would remaining adrift for over a year.

There aren't a lot of birds in the middle of the ocean, but any that happen to pass within a few miles are likely to head for a boat, particularly if it's a fishing boat. Come to think of it, maybe it is unlikely that they'd actually land on a small boat with people on deck. Perhaps they used to same method to catch the birds as for catching the fish. From the way they talk, they might have caught one or two birds a month and a larger quantity of fish.

It does often rain enough in many parts of the world to keep at least one person well-supplied with water if he has some way to collect it that's as good as using the sail on a small sailboat to channel it into storage. Three people on a fishing boat I dunno, maybe. Possibly enough to survive, since most every day they'd have either rain or sun for a solar still.

Or maybe they spent the whole time hanging out in a shanty on the beach in Thailand. Eh, whatever.
posted by sfenders at 10:08 PM on August 18, 2006


Immediately reminded of this:
Bligh and 18 other crew members loyal to him were set adrift on April 28th in the Bounty’s launch, an open boat, 23-foot long by 6’9” wide. In most cases such an act would have led to certain death for the men aboard, but Bligh was a magnificent seaman and he sailed from Tofua, one of the Friendly Islands, landing in Timor, Java, without any loss of life on June 14th. The journey of 3618 nautical miles took them 47 days.
posted by zoinks at 12:12 AM on August 19, 2006


And we're not getting the whole story about the victims.

Indeed: did they check that boat for fava beans, I wonder?
posted by NekulturnY at 4:03 AM on August 19, 2006


Perhaps they survived by eating their own cum?
posted by nlindstrom at 12:53 PM on August 19, 2006


wow.
i wonder where they were going in the first place?
posted by jamjammo at 12:20 AM on August 24, 2006


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