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February 3, 2014

Castaway Drifts for 13 Months

In news that might be categorized as ‘miraculous,’ CNN and other news agencies cautiously report that a fisherman washed up on the 2.2-square-mile Ebon Atoll in the Marshall Islands after drifting at sea for 13 months.

Jose Ivan Alvarengo, an El Salvador native, tells authorities that he and a teenage boy left a harbor near the Mexican city of Tapachula, not far from the Guatemalan border, on December 21, 2012, for a day of shark fishing. The two encountered heavy winds which blew them off course and eventually into a heavy storm where their engines became disabled.

Apparently, after a month of refusing to eat raw birds, the teenager died. Alvarengo says he survived on the birds, fish and turtles that he caught. When rainwater wasn’t available, he drank his own urine to stay alive. The Telegraph of London interviewed him and reported that his heavily damaged boat washed onto the island and Alvarengo said, "I cried, ‘Oh, God.’ I got to land and had a mountain of sleep. In the morning, I woke up and heard a rooster and saw chickens and saw a small house. I saw two native women screaming and yelling. I didn’t have any clothes; I was only in my underwear, and they were ripped and torn." 

Alvarengo, who claims to be 37, was taken to a hospital in Majoro, the capital of the Marshall Islands, according to the U.S. Ambassador Tom Armbruster. "He’s in much better shape than one would expect after such an ordeal."

The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs states they’ve sent personnel "to learn directly about the case." A similar 5,000-mile journey across the Pacific has been done before. Back in 2006 three Mexican fishermen drifted for nine months surviving on fish and rainwater and read the Bible for support and comfort. A producer for CNN Weather, Judson Jones, relates that currents can transport a vessel approximately 27 miles a day, making Alvarengo’s 13-month drift feasible.

Nelson’s Auction Delayed

We’ve done our best to help publicize the much-anticipated auction of boats and marine-related equipment at Nelson’s Marine, which was slated for February 8. But we’ve now been informed that the auction has been delayed indefinitely.

No specific reasons for the postponement have been given by the event’s facilitator, Michaan’s Auctions of Alameda, CA.

Stay tuned for further updates. 

Thirty More Foreign Yachts “Liberated” in Mexico

The marina at Coral Hotel and Marina just a few miles north of downtown Ensenada.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Following the liberation of all 53 impounded boats at Marina Riviera Nayarit in La Cruz last Thursday, we’ve been told that approximately 30 out of 50 boats impounded at Marina Coral in Ensenada were released a day or so later. It’s a four-day Flag Day holiday in Mexico, so the exact numbers of released boats was not available.

Among the released boats is one that fled Mexico for the States in the middle of the night a while back. "Liberating" a boat that already illegally fled your country . . . that pretty much sums up this fiasco.

Last Thursday an AGACE official at Marina Riviera Nayarit explained to a boat owner that it would be just a few more minutes before all the boats there would be liberated.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

While more than 100 of the original 338 boats are still impounded after more than two months, the situation remains outrageous, but at least things have been picking up speed in the right direction. But the quicker Mexico can resolve this dreadful public relations blunder and begin the long road of restoring the faith with foreign boat owners, the better.

If your boat is impounded, please keep us informed, as we don’t want you or your boat to be forgotten.

John and Gilly Foy of the Punta Mita- (formerly Alameda) based Catalina 42 Destiny joined us for Profligate’s “Liberation Day” sail across Banderas Bay. It was a spectacularly mellow late afternoon and early evening white sails cruise.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC
On January 26, the Napa Valley Register correctly broke the story that Latitude 38 is organizing the three-day BottleRock music festival at Napa Valley Expo to be held starting on May 30.
As reported in yesterday afternoon’s special ‘Lectronic Latitude, all 53 of the impounded boats at Riviera Nayarit Marina in La Cruz — including Latitude’s 63-ft catamaran Profligate — have been released.