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438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Jonathan Franklin

Narrated By: George Newbern

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: November 2015

Duration: 7 hours 8 minutes


438 Days is the exclusive account of the longest ever survival at sea. On November 17, 2012, Salvador Alvarenga, a 37-year-old Salvadoran fisherman, and his day-laborer companion Ezequiel Cordoba left Mexico for a two-day fishing trip. A vicious storm dragged their boat 200 kilometers out to sea and when the motor died, they drifted west. No radio, no electronics equipment, no sail. Four months later, Cordoba died. Alvaregna would not hit solid ground for another fourteen months. When Alvarenga washed ashore on January 29, 2014, he landed in the Marshall Islands. His journey spanned 11,800 kilometers, equivalent to traveling from New York to New Delhi, or Paris to Perth. Alvarenga is the first person ever to have survived for over a year lost at sea. This is his exclusive story.

Alvarenga survived constant shark attacks, learned to catch fish with his bare hands, and built a fish net from a pair of empty plastic bottles. Taking apart the outboard motor, he fashioned a huge fishhook. Using fish vertebrae as needles, he stitched together his own clothes. When the sun scorched his naked body, he used an upside-down turtle shell as a hat. His ingenuity and discipline were remarkable and make for an incredible listening experience.

He considered suicide on multiple occasions -including offering himself up to a pack of sharks. But Alvarenga invented a world of survival that would keep his body and mind intact long enough for the Pacific Ocean to toss him up on a remote palm-studded island, inhabited only by a young American couple who were shocked to see the apparation that was Alvaregna staggering toward their home. He had spent two Christmases, two New Years, and all of 2013 adrift at sea.

This is the first time Alvaregna has told his entire story. For many months, he was too traumatized to speak in detail about his odyssey, but in August he began an extraordinary series of interviews with Jonathan Franklin. He continues to work with Jonathan to provide the exclusive story of his record-breaking survival. Based on dozens of hours with Alvarenga and interviews with his colleagues, search and rescue officials, the medical team that saved his life and the remote islanders who nursed him back to life, 438 DAYS is an epic tale of survival, will and the triumph of one man who beat the odds.


  • Abbe H

    This story is well worth listening to. I love stories about overcoming the odds and surviving and then learning and becoming a better person afterwards. Hope Alvarenga stays strong and gets some profit from this book.

  • Brigitte Moreau

    Great book about courage and survival. All is possible if you beleive.