In a bizarre case of two castaways enjoying a break from reality, two men from the Solomon Islands were rescued off the coast of Papua New Guinea – where their journey began.
Liwe Nanjikana and Junior Colony of Mono Island in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands set out in a small, single 60 horsepower motorboat on the morning of September 3. They were trapped when their GPS tracker stopped working and they survived for about 29 days lost at sea.
Nanjikana took the situation positively and described it as a forced break from the chaos of the global pandemic. “I didn’t know what was happening when I was there. I didn’t hear about Covid or anything else,” he said. “I look forward to going back home but I think it is one of everything. It was a good break.”
He had planned to travel 200 km south to the town of Noro on New Georgia Island, using Vela Lavella Island on his left and the west coast of Gizo Island as guides. The Solomon Sea is notoriously rough and unpredictable. That’s what they felt just a few hours into their journey, they encountered heavy rain and strong winds, making it difficult to see the beach they were about to follow.
The two managed to survive on oranges they packed for the trip, some coconuts they collected from the sea and drank the trapped rainwater using a piece of canvas. They swam about 400 km northwest for 29 days, eventually spotting a fisherman off the coast of New Britain, Papua New Guinea. “We’ve traveled before and it should have been fine,” Nanjikana said.