Isla Mujeres Mystery ~ Lynda L. Lock

Cuban refugees land on Isla, while ocean search goes on for five missing local fishermen

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Makeshift barge 12 people, 18 days from Cuba, L Lock Photo
An intense nautical search has been underway for the last two weeks to locate five island fishermen and their 32-foot boat the Anastacia missing since March 30th.  

While the quest to find the Anastacia was underway a makeshift, homemade barge equipped with a rudimentary sail and oars landed on the eastern coast of Isla Mujeres with a dozen Cuban refugees on board.  

Three women and nine men posed with relieved smiles for a photograph at TV Isla Mujeres.  They had been at sea since March 27th, eighteen days in a rickety dangerous craft, arriving in reasonably good health, proving that there is still hope for the safe return of the five young men from Isla.
Por Esto photo

Seeing the primitive Cuban refugee barge got us to thinking.   If the Cubanos spent more than two weeks at sea – with a minimum amount of shelter, food and water – how long can people survive on the open ocean?  What is the record number of days?  What type of craft were the survivors typically found in?  What do they do for food and water?

There are a lot of accounts on the internet about people who have been successfully rescued after drifting for long periods of time in strange makeshift vessels, making do with rain water and the occasionally caught fish or seabird.  There is one story about two people adrift for nearly five months in an ice box scavenged as their fishing boat sank, and another about a sixty-two year old man floating for three months in a disabled sailboat.  When the search for the Anastacia and crew first started two other boats were found that had been drifting, without power for a couple of weeks.  One boat was from Isla Holbox, the other one from the Veracruz area.   No one had reported them as missing. 

5500 miles in a small boat – photo
But the internet story that really gives us confidence that our islanders will be found is the account of the five fishermen from the west side of Mexico, who on October 28th of 2005 set out in a twenty-five foot boat to do some shark fishing.   

Lucio Rendon, Salvador Ordonez and Jesus Eduardo Vivand, along with two other companions motored out to their chosen location and set their lines, then the crew relaxed with a few beers for the evening.  The next morning they couldn’t locate their expensive equipment and spent a number of hours searching the sea, until without fully grasping their new predicament they ran out of fuel – too far from shore to paddle the boat to safety.  The boat began to drift with the strong ocean currents. 
Fundraiser at El Patio April 15th
By the time the men were located a record setting nine months later in August of the following year, they had drifted to within two hundred miles of the Australian coastline, a total of five thousand five hundred miles across the wild Pacific Ocean.  

Living on the raw flesh from sea turtles, sea birds and fish, plus collecting rain water in their plastic fuel containers three of the five fishermen survived to be rescued by a Taiwanese fishing trawler.  

It is unimaginable what they went through in their reluctant journey across the Pacific.  It is also unimaginable the pain and heartache their families were subjected to, never sure what had happened to their loved ones. 

If these folks can survive so can our island guys.
If you would like to help out here’s what you can do. 

There is always hope they will be found! Isla Fiesta photo

The El Patio House of Music is having a fund raiser starting at 7:00 p.m. on Friday April 15th.   

100% of proceeds from food and beverage will be donated to the families.

Help support the five families who are without their wage earners by donating to the
Help to Find the Anastacia fund and pay for the fuel for the search by donating to

Hasta Luego

Lynda & Lawrie


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