Sunday, September 16, 2012 9:44pm PDT
By: Pete Thomas, GrindTV.com
Days and weeks passed, however, and Teitoi, a father of six, did not know whether he’d live or die. He subsided mostly on fish and protected himself against the searing tropical sun by curling up in a small, covered portion of the bow.
It was on the afternoon of Sept. 11 that he awoke to the sound of scratching against his boat. A six-foot shark was circling the boat and, Teitoi said, bumping against its hull.
“He was guiding me to a fishing boat,” Teitoi said. “I looked up and there was the stern of a ship and I could see crew with binoculars looking at me.”
The first thing he asked for after he was plucked from the water was a cigarette, or “a smoke.” He was given food and juice and his rescuers continued to fish for several days before delivering him to Majuro.
Teitoi, who seemed in good health, said he booked flights back to his home island, adding, “I’ll never go by boat again.”
The record for drifting at sea is believed to be held by two fishermen, also from Kiribati, who were at sea for 177 days before coming ashore in Samoa in 1992.
—Note: Image is generic and the shark pictured is not the shark encountered by Toakai Teitoi