Maurice and Maralyn Bailey
Maurice and Maralyn Bailey were a British couple who, in 1973, survived for 117 days on a rubber raft in the Pacific Ocean before being rescued.
117 days adrift
The Baileys' journey began when they left Southampton, England, in their 31-foot (9.4 m) yacht Auralyn. Their intended destination was New Zealand. They passed safely through the Panama Canal in February and were on their way to the Galapagos Islands. At dawn on 4 March 1973, their yacht was struck by a whale and severely damaged. After transferring some supplies to an inflated life raft and dinghy and salvaging some food, a compass, and other supplies, the Baileys watched as Auralyn disappeared beneath the waves. To survive, they collected rainwater and when their meager food supplies ran out, began eating sea creatures such as turtles, seabirds and fish caught by hand or with safety pins fashioned into hooks. As they drifted in the open Pacific, the couple saw seven different ships, but were unable to attract these ships' attention since their signal flares failed and their emergency kit did not contain a signalling mirror. Their life raft began to disintegrate and required frequent reinflation. They read and played card games early in their ordeal, but later the Baileys suffered terribly from malnutrition and friction-induced sores, the latter worsening due to the wet conditions in the raft. They encountered sharks and dolphins and had to endure several severe storms.
After traveling some 1,500 miles (2,400 km), the Baileys were rescued by the crew of the South Korean fishing boat Weolmi 306 on 30 June 1973. Sailors on the ship spotted the raft after initially passing it by. The couple was brought aboard in an emaciated state, having lost some 40 pounds (18 kg) apiece and with their legs barely able to support their weight. Weolmi 306 brought them to Honolulu, Hawaii and to a fine welcome.
The Baileys returned to England and wrote an account of their ordeal entitled 117 Days Adrift (published with the title Staying Alive! in the United States), which was published in 1974 by Adlard Coles Nautical. The following year, they returned to the sea in their new yacht, Auralyn II.
Maralyn Bailey died in 2002 at the age of 61.
- 117 Days Adrift on Google Books
- Obituary for Maralyn Bailey from The Daily Telegraph, London, June 13 2002
- José Salvador Alvarenga, survived 438 days adrift in the Pacific.
- Steven Callahan, survived 76 days adrift in the Atlantic.
- Dougal Robertson, survived 38 days adrift in the Pacific.
- Rose Noelle, trimaran on which four people survived 119 days adrift in the South Pacific.
- Poon Lim, who survived for 133 days adrift in the Atlantic.