According to Alvarenga, several things helped him gather enough will to get through his ordeal and not give up. The first of these was a promise that he made to Cordoba before he died. In his final days Cordoba was depressed, and convinced that they would both die on the boat.
He spoke of his wish to see his mother again, and he made Alvarenga promise that, if he survived, he would go and visit Cordoba’s mother and tell him what had happened. Alvarenga was intent on keeping this promise to his friend, should he reach civilization again.