In 2007, Gemma Sheridan and her 2 friends set out on a voyage from their home town of Liverpool, across the Atlantic to the Panama Canal and then onwards to the beautiful island of Hawaii.
The first stage of the voyage went smoothly. However, after passing through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific, things started to take a turn for the worse.
There was a huge storm that took out the boats electronics, washed her 2 friends overboard and seriously damaged her boat. Without any electronics and with a damaged boat, Gemma drifted for 17 days until she was hit by another major storm. During the storm, she was knocked unconscious.
Gemma awoke on a beach, surrounded by wreckage from her boat.
Here is a short account of some of the things she endured:
"I had been on water rations for the last 2 weeks, so finding water was the first priority. There where no pools of fresh water, so I had to rig up a contraption that drew the water away from the rock and it provided for one drop every 40 seconds. That was my water source, so it was coconuts until it rained."
For the first 2 weeks she stayed in a mock shelter made from debris that had washed ashore. "I needed to find real shelter, I found a large tree that looked perfect. I nibbled away at the bark of a tree with a giant clam shell for 11 days just to build a shelter."
It was four weeks before Gemma managed to light a fire.
Fast forward a few years and everything had changed:
To get fit she did a series of exercises on the beach every day ? press-ups, chin-ups on a tree branch, squats with boulders on her shoulders and shuttle runs of about 300 metres.
"I was lonely and it was beginning to dawn on me that I may never be saved."
She spent the next few weeks clearing space and finding materials to build a huge sign in the sand on the beach.
Fast forward a couple more years:
"I woke up 1 morning to the sound of a plane flying over me which was unusually low, I could not believe it, I thought it was a dream. I ran to the beach screaming and waving my arms like a lunatic, the plane flew over 2 or 3 more times and then dropped a small package."
"Inside was a radio, fresh water, food and a small medical kit. I switched on the radio and heard the first human voice for years. We talked for what seemed like an eternity, then I asked the voice on the other end "How did you find me" to which they replied "Some kid from Minnesota found your SOS sign on Google Earth"