Hollywood has spun some impressive stories in its history, superheroes saving the world, pilots landing planes in the middle of earthquakes, Bruce Willis firing a police car at a helicopter. If you can imagine it, then you can put it up on the silver screen, but sometimes life is stranger than fiction. The story of Jose Salvador Alvarenga is stranger than all the movies that you’ve sat through. A humble fisherman lost at sea for over a year, a media frenzy, and an enquiring journalist. All this makes for a hell of a ride, with some questions still to be answered.
One day in January, in 2014, a strange sight could be seen on the shores of a small island, one of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. A bedraggled man stumbled onto the sand, hairy, hungry, and exhausted. The sole couple living on the island had no idea what they had just gotten into.
The man was Jose Salvador Alvarenga, and he hadn’t been seen for 438 days. His arrival on this island, miles from civilization was as unlikely as any Hollywood story. The only trouble was, he couldn’t tell the couple any of this, all he could do was laugh.