438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea

March 13, 2017


This book is about two fisherman (Salvadore Alvarenga and Ezequiel Cordoba) who left the coast of Mexico for a two day fishing trip, on the 17th of November 2012.That night a violent storm ambushed them as they were fishing eighty miles offshore. The boat’s engine died and the storm carried the boat deep into the heart of the Pacific Ocean. Search parties turned up with nothing and everyone believed they’d died.

Alvarenga and Cordoba survived at sea by catching fish, birds, and drinking urine, rainwater and turtle blood. However, one bird made Cordoba extremely ill (a poisonous yellow-bellied sea snake was later discovered in the bird’s stomach). Based on this experience, Cordoba refused to eat raw meat and he eventually died of starvation. Ultimately, a major reason for Cordoba’s death was his inability to maintain his sanity. Alvarenga wanted to survive, so that he could tell his story in order to stop people from committing suicide. Because he believes that if he could survive what he went through, we can survive anything we go through.

This book shows techniques of how Alvarenga survives being totally and utterly alone for more than a year. These techniques are applicable to our daily lives. On the 30th of January 2014, Alvarenga’s boat was drifted ashore and he was in the ocean for 14 months.



“Survival is not a passive activity, it’s an active pursuit.”




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