The two coconut farmers had just finished tending the trees on their tiny and otherwise unpopulated tiny Pacific island when they were startled by what sounded like shouts. Intrigued, the husband and wife stepped outside their palm hut and were confronted by the extraordinary sight of a naked white man stumbling across the neighbouring speck of land, clutching a knife and screaming wildly in a foreign language. It was the moment when Jose Salvador Alvarenga, a castaway who had apparently been at sea for more than 14 months, finally regained contact with humankind in one of the most remote spots on the planet. Missing fishermen found floating after search called off survived on biscuits. Castaway 'too weak to return home'. Castaway unable to return home as his health declines. Castaway: does his story stack up? Castaway family: 'We can't wait to throw him a party'. Castaway from Mexico: First photos of Alvarenga's boat.
The ones left behind
They live in a tropical cliche, and have leased it for years. They like to reminisce about the time they would execute rocket launches, and they recall it in vivid terms:. In the morning, no one would eat breakfast. Toilet flushes were heard throughout the house as everyone would start to get nervous. Then the loudspeakers: x minus half hour, x minus 25 minutes, and so on. Each minute would feel drawn out, but nothing compared to the final countdown: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 … Then finally, flames and roars, and the bloody thing would take off from the oasis with everything vibrating. Growing up amid wartime bombings in Third Reich Stuttgart, Lutz dreamed about going to space. He wrote a letter to Wernher von Braun, the architect of German and US aerospace programs, whose recommendations were pragmatic: astronauts have to be small, light and few, or bringing them to the moon would be too expensive. Lutz had better become an engineer, he advised.
No Way But Nauru
Figure out what an atoll is. Now draw a ring of squiggly lines around it. Those are the islands, built on a coral reef encircling the lagoon. Together, the lagoon and the islands make an atoll, formed thousands of years ago when a volcanic island sank into the sea. The Marshall Islands have 29 of them. Get a window seat. You have to fly over a mind-boggling expanse of ocean to get to the Marshall Islands, which are about halfway between Hawaii and Australia in eastern Micronesia. After five hours of peering down at an unbroken sea of blue, the first glimpse of land looks like a mirage; a wavering line of sand and palm trees ringed by vibrant turquoise reefs. Escape from the city.
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