For the ultimate example of solo survival, look no further than the story of Alexander Selkirk, the Scottish sailor who survived four years as a castaway. Selkirk was reportedly the inspiration behind Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe. In 1704, Selkirk was a sailor serving under Captain Thomas Stradling. After a supply stop in the middle of their South Pacific expedition, the captain and Selkirk had a disagreement about the safety of their voyage with the extra weight they now carried. After Selkirk tried to rally the crew against the captain, Stradling decided to maroon Selkirk by himself on the island of Juan Fernández. Selkirk proved to be a hardy survivor, building a shelter near the shore in hopes that he could signal a passing ship. Selkirk initially lived on oysters, shellfish and any other sea creatures he could catch. Eventually, he traveled deeper into the jungle island and captured a few feral goats. These provided him with milk, meat and hides for clothing. He also managed to attract a few feral cats, which guarded him from rat bites while he slept. On February 1, 1709, Selkirk was finally rescued by a passing ship, four years and four months after his former captain abandoned him.
And if that’s not enough, you can:
Follow Tim on Twitter @timmacwelch
Take one of his survival classes at www.advancedsurvivaltraining.com
and check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles at Outdoor Life Magazine’s survival site, The Survivalist