The Pacific Siren is seen off the coast of Haida Gwaii in this YouTube image.
CALGARY - After a week and a half of living on nothing but seaweed and clams, a trio of fishermen were saved from an island exile Friday morning.
About 10 a.m. they were spotted by a passing sailing vessel in the Hecate Strait.
The group were on a fishing trip when their boat, the Pacific Siren, suddenly capsized last Tuesday, leaving them in a life raft about 112 km south of Prince Rupert, B.C.
The fishermen paddled themselves 13 km to Banks Island where they remained with just the clothes on their backs and the contents of their pockets.
"Whatever they had in their life raft, which I guess it wasn't much because their life raft was actually not sea-worthy anymore after that," said Dom Lassonde, air controller with the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria. "It wasn't much — pretty much what they had on themselves."
Lassonde said Banks Island is "way up there" and definitely not an ideal place to be stuck for 10 days.
"The men used their raft as a shelter,” he said. “They basically lived on seaweed and clams and whatever else they could find for 10 days.”
Their saviour sailing ship found them uninjured and took them to meet with the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Tanu, which they were still aboard Friday evening on their way back to Prince Rupert.
Lassonde said the fishermen are very lucky.
"There's lots of islands there, and to basically have a sailing vessel just whiz by is very lucky, especially after 10 days," he said.