It’s stories such as this one that remind you why humans, unlike any other animals, have been able to survive in every part of the globe but for the extreme poles:
Three Mexican fishermen have been rescued after drifting for about nine months across thousands of miles of the Pacific Ocean in a small boat, an ordeal they survived by eating raw birds and fish and drinking rain water.
The shark fishermen said on Wednesday they left their home town of San Blas on Mexico’s Pacific coast in November and were blown 5,000 miles off course after their 25-foot (8-meter) fiberglass boat ran out of gas and they were left to the mercy of the winds and the tides.
Their families had given them up for dead, but they found a way to survive in what appeared to be one of the most impressive feats of endurance on the high seas.
“We ate raw fish, ducks, sea gulls. We took down any bird that landed on our boat and we ate it like that, raw,” Jesus Vidana, one of the three survivors, said in a Mexican radio interview from the ship that rescued them.
The story tells how they dealt with hunger and thirst. What I’d thought about after reading it, though, is how awful it would be to be trapped with three people for nine months in a small space. I’m sure they were a comfort and aid to each other, but each must also have started seeing the others as a threat to the limited food and water supplies. It’s an impressive testament to the human capacity to act altruistically, and to recognize the benefits of community, that they didn’t revert to murder and, possibly, cannibalism.
As a completely random thought, it also makes all the more racist the claims from black community leaders last August, in New Orleans, that a mere three days after disaster struck, blacks were eating each other to survive.