There I was on a deserted island not knowing any survival techniques or skills. Stranded by myself with my dog Hunter having barely any food. Nowhere to go and not knowing what to do, but first let me start at the very beginning of this story that took place in 1989…
That fateful morning I woke up, got dressed and ready to go fishing that day. I made myself a sandwich to stop for lunch out on the boat. I had planned to be back for dinner, that's why I didn't pack any more than a sandwich and a bag of chips, a little bit of food for my dog. I packed some bait and I went out to the dock where I keep my boat. I got on the boat and headed off. I went maybe a mile out, where I could still see land. Not too far, I was just going to fish for a little while that day. A couple of hours later, I realized that I had drifted out into the middle of the ocean, so turned around I didn't know which way to go. I tried to start up my engine to at least try and find my way back, it wouldn't start! That’s when I panicked! I ran around the boat getting all the tools I needed to try and fix it but I had no experience in fixing boat engines. I didn't know where to start and didn't know what to do. There was an island not too far away from me, so I got my paddle and started paddling. It took about three hours just to go to that island. It was very tedious running from one side of the boat to the other trying to paddle in a straight line. Once I finally got to the island I sat down and didn't know what to do.
I was so afraid! Pulling my boat up onto the island so that it would not float away was taxing. I was just so tired after paddling! Collapsing in my boat and falling asleep. I don't know how long it was, but I think it was probably two to three hours. By this time it was probably dinner time. So,now to eat my sandwich that I had made this morning. Then I tried to call my mom. I told her where I was going when I left. Unfortunately, I have no service and I couldn't call her to tell her what had happened.
Scared, tired and alone. Except for my faithful dog, Hunter. Luckily I have a flare gun but, I only had one flare. So, I got it out and realized that the plastic was broken a little bit! I really hoped that it still shot. I stopped, picked it up and put it in the flare. As I was getting ready to aim it up into the air and shoot it, it misfired and shot right into the water. I cried for hours, by this time it was about 12a.m. I'm guessing.
I don't know what to do, I thought. I better start a fire. All I had in my boat was a backpack with a knife, a lighter, a little portable stove, a small box of matches, and dog chow. I went out onto the beach with Hunter, fed him his food and built a fire. We slept that night on the sand. It was the worst night sleep I had ever had.
That next morning I woke up, and my dog was still asleep. So, I let him sleep and while he was sleeping I explored the island. It wasn't very big, but still big enough to contain wildlife. It was amazing! It was like an untouched island, I felt like I was the first one to be there. It was so beautiful! I wish I could have just gone there on vacation, but no.I was stranded there! No food, no fresh water, nothing! Luckily, I was fishing and I have the stuff to catch fish. I was just catching them and releasing them for fun, but I can catch them and eat them. I can fillet them with my knife and use my portable stove to cook them. I fed my dog with the little bit of dog food I had left over. I was running low on bait to catch fish. I caught one fish with two worms. The fish ate the first worm. I didn’t hook him, I just fed him! With the second worm, he grabbed onto the hook and after a short struggle I pulled him in! I filleted him and cooked him up. It took me until lunch time to finally get my breakfast.
Since I had run out of bait,I decided to explore the island more. I knew that I would have to go out in search of something to eat. With my dog at my side, we went walking through the woods. We had been walking for what felt like hours, before I realized we were walking through poison ivy. Luckily, I had found food. We had stumbled upon a field of edible berries. At least I think they are edible? I tried them, they didn't have any effects after an hour or two. So, I picked a bunch of them and we headed back to camp. I ate some that night and went to bed. Another, horrible night of sleep! I did nothing but scratch all night! I was covered in a poison ivy rash.
The next morning, I began throwing up. I guess they weren't good for you after all! I slept that entire day, just trying to get my energy back and gain strength. Strength to fight through the next day. I had enough energy to get up catch another fish to eat, which took me all day without bait. With my energy depleted, all I can do is sleep. I have been out here for about a week now. I have no idea what to do! I never saw any planes go over head, but they must be sending out people to come look for me?
I have a survival blanket, it's made out of some type of insulated metal. It's very shiny, reflective, so I thought I could use it as something to signal a helicopter or plane or boat. So, I kept it out the entire time with rocks on each corner of the survival blanket. I needed it to constantly reflect off the sun. I had no bait, I had no more food, and I know not to eat the berries. My last option, were small fish swimming around. I tried to grab some but it wasn't worth it. I made the best spear I could and went to work. It took me hours, even days to finally catch a fish. At this point I had almost died from starvation. Luckily just a little bit of something to keep me sustained would be okay for a while. I ate what little I caught and immediately threw it up. I guess not having food for a long time will do that to your body. I was done! I was pondering, just contemplating if I should just end it all right here, right now with my knife! Then I thought about my dog, I don't know what he would do without me. I wouldn't want to ruin his life like that. I couldn't, I wouldn't! I kept going for my dog. I would have ended it all, but my dog saved me.
Just when things couldn’t feel any worse. I heard something! A helicopter comes flying overhead! I get the blanket, angle it perfectly to reflect off the sun into the helicopters line of sight. He notices me, flies down and I'm saved! I go home and that night I had the biggest meal I had ever had. A 20 ounce steak, a bucket of fries, a bunch of peanuts and a 2 liter bottle of Coca-Cola. It was the best meal ever! My dog had the best food you could buy. Everybody now knew me as the man who survived on an island!