Pacific Castaway Begins (Much Easier) Journey Home

Two weeks after washing ashore in the Marshall Islands, Jose Salvador Alvarenga is headed home to El Salvador

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The El Salvadorian castaway who was marooned for 13 months before finally washing ashore in the Marshall Islands nearly two weeks ago is finally headed home, and the return trip will surely be a quicker one.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga, a 37-year-old fisherman who had been living and working in Mexico until late 2012 when he and a colleague set sail on their now-fateful journey, stepped on an airplane for the 8,000-mile journey back across the Pacific Ocean. Alvarenga washed ashore in the Marshall Islands 12 days ago after being lost at sea for more than a year. He originally left with his fishing partner, 24-year-old Ezequiel Cordoba, to go fishing off the coast of Mexico, but the duo was blown off course and set adrift in the Pacific Ocean. Cordoba died quickly, while Alvarenga says he survived by eating raw fish, birds and turtle blood.

Alvarenga’s homeward trip was delayed after medical complications when he arrived on terra firma. He was treated for dehydration and had been hospitalized when his limbs swelled up as doctors tried to rehydrate him. The AFP reports that he boarded a flight bound for Honolulu, and from there he will return to El Salvador to be reunited with his family, who thought he was dead.