The castaways

May 10, 2011

An incredibly harrowing story of five fishermen lost at sea, in a small, open boat, for over nine months. Three survived.

Think you might complain today, about anything? Read this article. Read it twice.

Remarking on the first turtle they caught (by jumping out of the boat and riding on its back):

"I remember we said, 'How are we going to eat that meat?' It's not like a normal meal. All you can see is the meat. Pure red. I was thinking, how is it possible that I'm going to eat that? In November, we ate only two times. I'd never been hungry like that, with a desperateness that can't be expressed. I don't know how to explain that this is something that one feels. It's desperateness, hunger, thirst, cold."

Describing the second death:

On the coldest nights, they all slept in the bow side by side, in the fetal position, an intimate arrangement that would have made them self-conscious on land. It was crowded, but they succeeded in staying warm. Then it became less crowded: one morning in February, El Farsero didn't wake up.

Lucio: "He died at my side, asleep. We all lay down, and when the sun rose he had already died. That's the prettiest death, I think. To go to bed and die in your dream."

The fishermen gave him the same valedictory that they had given Señor Juan: a three-day wake; prayers and hymns courtesy of Salvador; then a ritual lowering into the water, feet first, with El Farsero's head cupped in their hands, facing the setting sun.

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