History of Chinese Life Raft Survivor Poon Lim Part 2

About the history of Chinese seaman Poon Lim who survived on a life raft for over four months.

THE GREAT SURVIVORS

POON LIM--MAN ON THE RAFT

To keep his body in shape, he swam routinely twice a day when the sea was quiet. He used the ocean swimmer's looping stroke as he circled the raft, always keeping his head above water, his eyes open for sharks.

His skin got darker from the sun, and he lost weight, but not strength. When his food and water supply ran low, he formulated a new plan for survival.

He used the canvas covering of the life jacket as a receptacle to catch rainwater. He also utilized other materials that he had on board. He took apart the electric torch to get a wire, which he made into a fishhook. He spent days shaping the metal, using the water jug as a hammer. The tough hemp rope that held down his almost exhausted supplies of food and water served as a fishing line.

He used a piece of biscuit for bait. After finally catching a fish, he cut it in half with the edge of the biscuit tin and ate the raw flesh, using the remains as bait to catch his next meal.

About the end of the second month on the raft, he spotted sea gulls. Hoping to catch one, he gathered seaweed from the bottom of the raft, matted it in bunches, and molded it into a form that resembled a bird's nest. By this time he had caught several fish, which he baked in the sun to improve their taste. Some he ate and some he left next to the nest, so that they would rot and the stench would attract the gulls.

When he finally saw a gull flying towards him, he lay still so it would land. As the gull attacked the fish, Poon Lim grabbed it by its neck. A fight ensued, which he won, but only after he was the victim of deep cuts from the bird's beak and claws.

He pried a loose nail from the raft's planking and used it to tear up the empty ration tin to make a knife. He used his shoe as a hammer to pound the metal. He quartered the bird, chewed its flesh, and sucked out the blood and the organs. He cut the rest of the bird into strips, which he chewed on until he caught the next bird or fish.

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