There have been many tales of people stranded by nautical problems, who end up floating at sea or stranded in an uninhabited wilderness. They are the victims of bad weather, mechanical problems, pirates, poor planning, or just plain getting lost. Surviving such calamities is pretty special. Take the story of Temaei Tontaake and Uein Buranibwe, which is not the longest or most tragic castaway story, but it does have a twist.
In October of 2011, two men living in the South Pacific, Temaei Tontaake and Uein Buranibwe, were heading from their island, Marakei, to a nearby island called Abaiang. The trip was only 80 miles and wasn’t supposed to take long, but their GPS ran out of batteries and they got lost. Luckily, they had their fishing gear and were able to catch some sharks; they then used the shark meat as bait and caught some tuna. Their big problem was water. It didn’t rain much and at times they were forced to drink seawater.
They were at sea for 33 days before they ended up on a coral atoll called Namdrik. On the atoll they met some locals and Tontaake learned that the locals were the offspring of his long lost uncle who everyone thought had died while out at sea 50 years ago. It turns out that his uncle ended up as a castaway on the very same atoll. When he couldn’t get off, he ended up settling down, had a family and died years later on the atoll.
Tontaake and Buranibwe were able to get off the atoll from a passing cargo ship a few days after arriving and then they were flown home.