When you hear of people lost at sea, images from the TV show, Lost, or Tom Hanks’s Castaway usually pop into mind. Amid a list of concerns, there’s exposure, starvation, dehydration, and animal attack. You rarely think of the animals that you’re defending against leading you to rescue. But for fisherman and policeman Toakai Teitoi of the Central Pacific island nation of Kiribati, one of the most feared animals in the world—the shark—took on the role as spirit guide after he was lost at sea for 106 days.
Now this might have been severe hallucinations due to dehydration talking, but in a Grind TV article, the rescued man, who’d left for his fishing trip May 27, said:
It was on the afternoon of September 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.”
On July 4, Teitoi’s brother-in-law and fishing partner died due to dehydration. Teitoi had to bury him at sea, and began to pray for help. That night it rained, and Teitoi was able to store water in jugs to last the two more months before the shark and boat crew rescued him.
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.
Whether it was divine intervention, severe hallucinations, or a combination of the two, it’s safe to say that the water’s biggest criminal is getting some good PR.