In “Life of Pi”, Pi managed to survive at sea for 227 days after a shipwreck. For most of us, the idea of finding ourselves lost on a deserted island or at sea without water, cell phones, laptop or food is unimaginable. However, every now and then we hear about unfathomable stories of people who find the strength and the resourcefulness needed to survive even in some of the toughest circumstances. Here are a few such stories of some incredible men and women:

Tom Neale

This New Zealander chronicled his experiences in his popular book “An Island to Oneself”. In three different sessions, Neale survived alone on ¬†Suwarrow Island of the Cook Islands for 16 years. Using whatever he could find on the island, he repaired a damaged boat on the island, domesticated the wild chicken, planted a vegetable garden and hunted wild pigs to survive.

Ada Blackjack

This Inuit woman was left behind with Lorne Knight on a deserted island in Siberia. Ada cared for herself as well as for her scurvy-inflicted companion until his death and survived on the island for 2 years. She quickly learned essential survival skills and set traps to catch smaller animals like Arctic foxes and managed to fend off polar bears, kill seals and birds for food. She was rescued two years later but eventually returned back to the Arctic and lived there till she was 85.

The Mexican Fishermen

Jesus Eduardo Vivand, Salvador Ordonez and Lucio Rendon along with two more companions ran out of fuel and were swept out to the wide ocean in October 2005. The men used plastic fuel bottles to fill fresh rain water. They caught and ate raw wild turtles and seabirds while adrift. By the time they were rescued nine months later, they ate a total of 103 turtles! At the time, they made it in the records as the longest survival at sea ever.

Jose Alvarenga

Recent news reported that Jose Alvarenga survived for 13 months at sea. He claimed to have set out on his boat from Mexico in late 2012 along with a teenage companion. He was rescued 8,046 kilometers away on January 30, 2014 close to the Marshall Islands. Emaciated and confused, Alvarenga said he survived by eating turtles, birds and fish that he caught by hand. When rain water was not available, he drank turtle blood and his urine to survive. His companion perished because of starvation since he refused to eat turtles.

Human beings can survive for six weeks at the most without food. The people who manage to survive for weeks or even months adrift at sea or on a deserted island show amazing presence of mind, resourcefulness, the will to survive and the ability to stay positive even amidst unimaginable circumstances.

Could you do it?

Image Credits: HappyAlex/