fisherman castaway

The Castaway, 2



praise helpless unbelievable
blood fail (2) make/made/made
drift survive knife/knives
claim suspect tell/told/told
wits trip (2) keep his food down
tale shuffle supposed to
defy describe wash up (2)
shore struggle beat/beat/beaten
belief depart blow/blew/blown
storm consider current (2)
island on board knife/knives
atoll steady bring/brought/brought
turtle remote think/thought/thought
flesh journey drink/drank/drunk
shark request eat/ate/eaten
admit suicide catch/caught/caught
pray castaway believe (2)
god off course see/saw/seen
push ashore hit/hit/hit (2)
shore unable buy/bought/bought (2)
react caution ambassador
expect shape (2) bad/worse/worst
bait survive run out (2)
rescue play out run/ran/run
urine haircut








It’s the kind of unbelievable story they make movies about: a man in a boat has washed up on the remote Marshall Islands in the South Pacific.

He claims he had been drifting on the open ocean for thirteen month, and used his wits and a knife to survive. Some are a little suspect of his story, but as Robin Stickly reports, if it’s true, it is one of the greatest tales of survival at sea.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .


Fishermen are known to tell a tale. But this survival story defies belief.

Walking for the first time in over a year, a coke in hand and a nurse nearby to steady him. Thirty-seven (37) year old Jose Alvarez shuffles to shore with a smile.

And from his hospital room, Alvarenga describes drifting at sea for thirteen months, helpless, beaten by the sun and salt, struggling to stay alive.

On what was supposed to be a day trip, the fishing boat departed from an unknown location in Mexico, December, 2012, when the motor died, Alvarenga says a storm blew the boat off course.

Drifting in the Pacific for months, until currents finally brought him ashore, 8,800 kilometers away, on the southernmost atoll on the Marshall Islands.

A teenage boy, Ezekiel was also on board, but died, Alvarenga thinks, about four weeks in. He says this was his lowest point. But the boy couldn’t keep the food down.

With nothing but a small knife, he says he drank turtle blood, ate seagull flesh and used his arm as bait to catch small sharks. At times even drinking his own urine. And the castaway admits, he considered suicide.

But he says hours of prayer saved him: “Praise God for the boat.”

Describing the moment he saw land for the first time, he says, “I pushed myself away from the boat so it wouldn’t hit me on the head.”

But after so long at sea, his legs failed him: “But when I got to the shore, I was unable to walk.”

Not everyone’s buying it. Officials who have interviewed him are reacting with caution.

Thomas Armbruster, US Ambassador to the Marshall Islands: I would expect somebody to be in worse shape. If what he is saying is true, he’s one of the best survivalist around.”

But a similar journey played out in 2006. Three fishermen from Mexico ran out of gas and spent nine months adrift before being rescued near the Marshall Islands.

Alvarenga has made only two requests: to talk to his family and he says he really needs a haircut.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *



1. Jose Alvarenga was an engineer on board a large cargo ship in the Caribbean Sea. True or false?

2. Did everything go according to plan on that day in December 2012? Was everything normal and fine?

3. Surviving at sea on his fishing boat was easy and fun. Is this right or wrong? How did he survive​?

4. Was he alone on the boat the whole time?

5. Did Jose said back to Mexico after one month at sea?

6. When Jose reached the Marshall Islands, he jumped in the waters, swam, ran on shore and jumped up and down. Is this correct or incorrect? How was his condition?

7. Now, does he want to write a book, be on TV and become rich and famous?


A. I have read, heard of or seen movies about castaways. Yes or no?

B. Have people from your country or region gone missing or lost?

C. My friends and I have sailed on boats and ships. True or false?

D. Is the fishing industry big in your country?

E. I would like to be a castaway on a remote island.

F. What might happen in the future? Will there be more, less or the same about of castaways?

Comments are closed.