PRO TIP: Building your own raft out of junk you found on a beach in order to sail from one country to another is rarely a good idea, even if it worked in a movie you saw.
A Czech tourist in Taiwan had to learn that lesson the hard way recently after failing to sail from that country to Japan on a homemade raft, according to The Taipei Times. They report that tourist Martin Psota launched his raft on Sunday because he overstayed his visa in Taiwan and lacked the money to buy an airplane ticket to Japan.
Psota made it about five kilometers off the shore of Taiwan when he had to be rescued by the coast guard, the newspaper reports.
The coast guard unit received a telephone call at about 11am on Sunday from a fishing boat, whose captain told them: “We are 5.5km offshore of Oluanpi. There is a foreigner floating at sea in a decrepit-looking raft.”
When the patrol boat headed there to take a closer look, the coast guard personnel were astounded by what they saw.
“How can anyone be so crazy? This man went out to sea in a small raft, consisting only of logs, driftwood and Styrofoam tied together. When we found him, the raft was already falling apart,” a coast guard officer said.
The newspaper reports Psota's plan was to navigate to Japan using his smartphone, but he lost the strength to keep rowing after about an hour.
Here's the best part: Psota told authorities he got the idea from the film The Life of Pi, which is about a boy stranded on a lifeboat with a tiger. (No tiger appears to be involved in this caper, which is probably a good thing.) Except that didn't involve a homemade raft built to dodge immigration authorities, who later detained Psota anyway.
All sorts of great decision making here.
Photo credit Taiwan Coast Guard Administration
Hat tip to Jimmie!