7 Dec 2015

Feature Interview - Jonathan Franklin

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 3:07 pm on 7 December 2015

One last catch, one last lucrative haul of shark and tuna off the coast of the small Mexican village off Costa Azul was all fisherman Jose Salvador Alvarenga wanted when he set off in a 7-metre long boat with a young novice fisherman on 17 November 2012. He did not know that he wouldn't return to dry land for 439 days after drifting more than 10,000km across the Pacific. Alvarenga survived eating fish, birds and sea turtles, but his fishing partner died 3 months into the 14-month long epic.

Journalist and author Jonathan Franklin spent a year interviewing Jose Salvador Alvarenga for his new book 438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea. He tells Jesse Mulligan (via Skype from Santiago, Chile) how he came to believe Alvarenga was telling the truth about the ordeal.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga before he set sail and after he was rescued.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga before he set sail and after he was rescued. Photo: AFP

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