The life of Aldi

The story of an Indonesian teen stranded out at sea on a fishing raft

While+he+had+no+tiger+accompanying+him%2C+Aldi+Adilang+faced+dehydration%2C+fear%2C+and+hoplessness+in+his+unplanned+49+day+journey+in+the+open+ocean.
While he had no tiger accompanying him, Aldi Adilang faced dehydration, fear, and hoplessness in his unplanned 49 day journey in the open ocean.

While he had no tiger accompanying him, Aldi Adilang faced dehydration, fear, and hoplessness in his unplanned 49 day journey in the open ocean.

While he had no tiger accompanying him, Aldi Adilang faced dehydration, fear, and hoplessness in his unplanned 49 day journey in the open ocean.

Mario Shontz, Staff Writer

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While many people have read the book Life of Pi, or have at least seen the movie, it is still hard to imagine what it would be like to be stranded in the ocean, with nothing but water in every direction and no way to control where you are headed. Aldi Novel Adilang, a nineteen-year-old from Indonesia, didn’t have to do any imagining, as he experienced just that for seven weeks from July to September.

Aldi’s occupation is one that is very foreign to us in the United States.  For sixth months, he was contracted to operate a fishing raft called a Rompong, a raft that is held in place by a rope to the sea floor.  His raft was stationed 125 kilometers offshore, and Adilang’s only human contact happened once a week when someone dropped off food and resources to last him for the next seven days.  The raft is used to catch fish and his job is to keep lanterns lit to attract fish.

This calm yet probably boring job got a lot less of both when a strong wind broke the rope that tethered his raft in place and blew him even farther away from shore.  Though he had food, it was only meant to be enough to last a week, and he ended up being out at sea for 49 days. According to The Jakarta Post, “more than 10 ships sailed past Aldi, failing to spot him as he waved for help”.  On the day he was rescued, a ship called the Arpeggio drove past him, and the only reason the crew was alerted to his presence was through Aldi’s use of an emergency radio frequency.  Once they knew he was there, the ship turned around, and Aldi was brought onto the boat.  Though he was dehydrated and tired, he was “surprisingly healthy.”  After a bit of delegation with Japan, which was the ship’s destination, he was let into the country and was soon returned to his home in Indonesia. Despite the happy ending to this story, there is no doubt that being stranded at sea for 49 days is something that no one ever wants to experience.

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