HONIARA, Solomon Islands: Despite being lost at sea for 29 days, two men from the Solomon Islands, Livae Nanjikana and Junior Qoloni, survived a harrowing experience with an unusually positive outlook.
"It was a nice break from everything," Nanjikana said.
According to The Guardian on Friday, the two men set off from Mono Island on 3rd September in a small, 60-horsepower motorboat and with a sack of oranges for snacks.
Their planned journey, which they have made previously, was to travel 200 kilometers south to the town of Noro, New Georgia Island, in the Solomon archipelago of New Guinea.
But a storm disrupted their GPS, so they decided to wait and turned off their engine to conserve fuel until they could continue. However, their rudderless boat was blown off-course by heavy rains and winds, causing them to drift some 400 kilometers northwest from their starting point.
"We did not know where we were but did not expect to be in another country," Nanjikana said, as reported by the Guardian.
Both men survived by eating the oranges they brought, as well as coconuts floating in the sea, and drinking rainwater collected on their boat.
After being spotted by a fisherman on 2nd October, they arrived in the town of Pomio in New Britain, Papua New Guinea, according to the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.
Pomio resident Joe Koleal, who is hosting the two men, told reporters that the two "live happily with us."
Nanjikana and Qoloni, who have been seen by doctors, are being prevented from returning home by travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but local officials are reportedly making arrangements for their safe return.
"I had no idea what was going on while I was out there. I did not hear about COVID-19 or anything else. I look forward to going back home, but I guess it was a nice break from everything," Nanjikana noted.