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April 13, 2023
2 men from the Solomon Islands who were lost at sea for a month returned home with a positive outlook on their experience.
“It was a nice break from everything,” said Livae Nanjikana, who set out with friend Junior Qoloni from Mono Island on Sept. 3, The Guardian reported on Friday. Equipped with only a small, 60-horsepower motorboat and a sack of oranges for snacking, the pair planned a route headed 200 kilometers south to the town of Noro, New Georgia Island, within the Solomon archipelago of New Guinea — a trip they’ve taken in the past.
When rough skies challenged their navigational system, the sailors decided to wait out the storm, turning off their engine to conserve fuel until they could resume course. Heavy rain and wind blew their rudderless vessel off-course, and downed their GPS altogether sending them to float about 400 kilometers northwest of their starting point on Mono Island.
“We didn’t know where we were but did not expect to be in another country,” said Nanjikana, who would survive 29 days with Qoloni eating the citrus they’d brought, plus coconuts scooped from the sea and rainwater collected on the boat.
They arrived in the town of Pomio, in New Britain, Papua New Guinea, on Oct. 2, after their stranded party was spotted by a fisherman that evening, according to the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation. The men were assessed by doctors and are now recovering with Pomio resident Joe Koleal, who told SIBC this week that the men now “live happily with us.”
Coronavirus pandemic travel restrictions, as well as their currently fragile health, have prevented Nanjikana and Qoloni from returning to the Solomon Islands for the time being, while Island officials are reportedly making arrangements for their safe return home.
“I had no idea what was going on while I was out there. I didn’t hear about Covid or anything else,” said Nanjikana “I look forward to going back home but I guess it was a nice break from everything.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: OUTSIDER