In a bizarre case of a couple of castaways enjoying a break ‘from reality, two men from Solomon Islands were rescued off the coast of Papua New Guinea 400 kilometres away from where their journey began.
Livae Nanjikana and Junior Qoloni of Mono Island, in Western province of Solomon Islands set out on the morning of the September 3 in a small, single 60 horsepower motorboat. They got stranded after their GPS tracker stopped working and survived around 29 days lost at sea.
“I had no idea what was going on while I was out there. I didn’t hear about Covid or anything else,” he said. “I look forward to going back home but I guess it was a nice break from everything.” Nanjikana took a positive look at the situation calling it a forced break from the chaos of a global pandemic.
They had planned to travel 200 km south to the town of Noro on New Georgia Island, using the west coast of Vella Lavella Island and Gizo Island to their left as a guide.The duo managed to survive on oranges they had packed for the trip, some coconuts they collected from the sea and drank rainwater they trapped using a piece of canvas.
The Solomon Sea is notoriously rough and unpredictable. They realised the same just a few hours into their journey, they encountered heavy rain and strong winds, which made it hard to see the coastline they were supposed to be following.
They floated about 400km northwest for 29 days, eventually spotting a fisher off the coast of New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Nanjikana said “We have done the trip before and it should have been OK,”.