The castaway who washed up on a Pacific island said Tuesday he doesn't care if people don't believe his story of being lost at sea for 14 months and just wants to forget the entire ordeal.
"I don't want to remember," Jose Salvador Alvarenga said in an exclusive interview with NBC partner Telemundo after he was released from the hospital in his native El Salvador.
Alvarenga, 37, vanished on a a fishing trip off the coast of Mexico in November 2012 and reappeared late last month in the Marshall Islands, an archipelago in the middle of the ocean between Hawaii and Australia.
He told authorities he survived the 6,000-mile journey by eating raw fish and drinking his own urine, but that his shipmate starved to death.
Alvarenga told Telemundo's Angie Sandoval that while he was adrift, he prayed, thought about his parents and tracked the passage of time by the moon, but he did not want to dredge up more details.
"I want to forget it all," he said.
Reunited with relatives who have not seem him in years, Alvarenga said he was looking forward to resting and reconnecting with his teenage daughter, Fatima.
"I thought I'd never see her again but God didn't want it that way," he said.
Asked what he would say to skeptics who doubt he could have lasted so long in a 24-foot fishing boat, Alvarenga said: "Only God knows, not even I do. If they don't believe they don't have to believe, it's all the same to me."
AFP - Getty Images
Jose Salvador Alvarenga of El Salvadore attends a press conference in Majuro on February 6, 2014.
First published February 18 2014, 3:25 PM