The ability of individuals to survive without food is well demonstrated by the awful experiences in Concentration Camps and more recently by the Irish Hunger strikers. Women appear to last longer than men and over all the body mass at the outset is a predictor of length of survival. The amount of water available is also a factor.
In the London Times August 17th 2006 p 13 there is a remarkable account of fishermen being rescued after nine months adrift on the Pacific Ocean. The fishermen left El Limon in Mexico on a three week fishing trip, the engine ran out of petrol and they drifted westerly away from the land . They lived on raw fish, sea birds and rain water. They kept their spirits going with readings from the Bible. They went for long periods up to 15 days without food. They saw ships but no one saw them. They were rescued by a Taiwanese tuna boat. The initial and rescued weights are not mentioned
Other such mishaps include last year three fishermen adrift in the Pacific for seven weeks .
A ship sank in 1820 after being rammed by a whale. The 20 survivors escaped in three boats , they travelled 200 miles. Only 8 survived and cannabilism was practised.
During the battle of the Atlantic a tanker was sunk by a submarine. The submarin gave the survivors water and bread. The 26 men sailed in a lifeboat 1000 miles 28 days to Antigua.
- Martin Eastwood