Two men from the Solomon Islands who were lost at sea for nearly a month say that being completely unaware of what was happening in the wider world was actually a rather relaxing experience. The two men were caught in a storm and blown far off course while traveling between islands, leaving them stranded in their boat. They say that they look forward to getting home, though the unexpected isolation was “a nice break from everything.”
Nearly a month lost at sea
Friends Livae Nanjikana and Junior Qoloni set out from Mono Island on September 3 with the intention of traveling to the town of Nora on New Georgia Island.
They had made this trip many times in their small motorboat but this time they found themselves stuck in the midst of heavy rains and strong winds which took them out of sight of the coastline they were following.
When their GPS died and left them completely lost with no land in sight, the pair decided to conserve their fuel and turned off the engine to drift and wait for rescue.
They survived on a supply of oranges they had brought along for what was intended to be a short trip, supplementing this with drifting coconuts and rainwater collected with a piece of canvas.
With paddles and a makeshift sail the castaways were able to travel slowly with the wind, which finally brought them closer to land and rescue.
After 29 days at sea the two were found by fishermen off the coast of Papua New Guinea and brought ashore, too weak to stand at first but otherwise alive and well.
Wasn’t all bad
The two men are still recuperating in the town of Pomio in New Britain, Papua New Guinea. The process of getting back to the Solomon Islands has been slowed somewhat by Covid restrictions.
Despite admitting that being driven hundreds of kilometers off course and left adrift in the open sea was a frightening experience, Nanjikana was willing to point out that it wasn’t all bad.
Hearing nothing about the pandemic or other global concerns of 2021 was apparently a kind of relaxing escape for Nanjikana, who emphasized that he will still be happy to get home.
For a man who has spent a month living off of coconuts and rainwater to describe the experience as a “nice break from everything” is somewhat novel.
Either the two rescued men have an exceptionally optimistic perspective on their ordeal or the world has gotten so unpleasant that even being lost at sea is less demoralizing than following the news.
Regardless, there are probably methods of temporarily escaping from the world that are much easier and less stressful than becoming unintentionally stranded in the Pacific Ocean.