Episode 11: 910.9164- The survival story of Jose Salvador Alvarenga

In this week’s episode, Katie is bewitched by the incredible survival story of Jose Salvador Alvarenga.

In November 2012, Alvarenga headed out on a fishing trip despite warnings of a storm brewing. The routine trip soon turned life-threatening when engine failure and rough seas dragged Alvarenga and his mate, 22-year-old Ezequiel Cordoba, deep into the Pacific Ocean. For 438 days, Alvarenga survived at sea before washing ashore on the Marshall Islands.

Alvarenga’s survival is a story of incredible skill, intelligence, and sheer luck. In this episode we examine the psychological and physical obstacles Alvarenga overcame to become the first man to survive for over a year alone in the Pacific Ocean.

Recommended Books: 

At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee

Healthier Together by Liz Moody

438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea by Jonathan Franklin

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by John Krakauer

Into the Wild by John Krakauer

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

SAS Survival Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere by John “Lofty” Williams

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Children’s Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell


Alba, M., & Connor, T. (2017, February 26). Marshall Islands Castaway Jose Alvarenga sued for $1 million. Retrieved February 18, 2021, from https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/marshall-islands-castaway/marshall-islands-castaway-jose-alvarenga-sued-1-million-n295336

Benjamin, M. (2021). The children’s blizzard: A novel. New York: Delacorte Press.

Bryson, B. (1998). A walk in the woods. London: Black Swan.

Franklin, J. (2016). 438 days: An extraordinary true story of survival at sea. London: Pan Books.

George, J. C. (2012). My side of the mountain. New York: Puffin Books.

Krakauer, J. (2011). Into thin air: A personal account of the Everest disaster. London: Pan.

Krakauer, J. (2018). Into the wild. London: Picador Classic.

O’Dell, S. (2016). Island of the blue dolphins. London: Puffin Books.

Paulsen, G. (2018). Hatchet. Seoul: Longtail Books.

Philbrick, N. (2015). In the heart of the sea: The true story of the whaleship Essex. New York: Puffin Books.

Weir, A. (2015). The martian. Rask Mølle: DreamLitt.

Wiseman, J. (2009). SAS survival handbook: How to survive in the wild, in any climate, on land or at sea. London: Collins.

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