438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea by Jonathan Franklin and published by Simon and Schuster, Nov. 17, 2015, is a must read if you believe in the power of the human spirit.
438 Days is the true story of the fisherman who survived 14 months (118 days with a companion) in a small boat drifting 7,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean.
This book is a revelation in the extremes, both physical and mental, that a man can be subject to while trying to survive. It is a story of refusing to die, retaining hope where few could find it, and the struggle to retain your humanity when all is lost.
On Nov. 17, 2012, a pair of fishermen left the coast of Mexico for a weekend fishing trip in the open Pacific. That night, a violent storm ambushed them as they were fishing 80 miles offshore. As gale force winds and ten-foot waves pummeled their small, open boat from all sides and nearly capsized them, captain Salvador Alvarenga and his crewmate cut away a two-mile-long fishing line and began a desperate dash through crashing waves as they sought the safety of port.
Fourteen months later, on Jan. 30, 2014, Alvarenga, now a hairy, wild-bearded and half-mad castaway, washed ashore on a nearly deserted island on the far side of the Pacific. He could barely speak and was unable to walk. He claimed to have drifted from Mexico, a journey of some seven thousand miles.
438 Days is the first-ever account of one of the most amazing survival stories in modern times.
This is an epic story. How Alvarenga survived is amazing and incredibly moving. This is a book easily leaves the reader reflecting on the daily comforts of their own life compared to Alvarenga’s 438 days at sea.
Based on dozens of hours of exclusive interviews with Alvarenga, his colleagues, search-and-rescue officials, the remote islanders who found him, and the medical team that saved his life, Jonathan Franklin’s 438 Days is an unforgettable study of the resilience, will, ingenuity and determination required for one man to survive more than a year lost and adrift at sea.
Here are Salvador Alvarenga’s own words about why he agreed to this book as written by Franklin:
“I suffered so much and for so long. Maybe if people read this they will realize that if I can make it, they can make it. Many people suffer only because of what happens in their head; I was also physically being tortured. I had no food. No water. If I can make it so can you. If one depressed person avoids committing suicide then the book is a success.
“Be strong. Think positive. If you start to think to the contrary, you are headed to failure. Your mind has to be relaxed as you think about survival. Don’t think about death. If you think you are going to die, you will die. You have to survive and think about the future of your life, that life is beautiful! How can you imagine taking your own life? There are challenges and punishment in life but you have to fight!”