A Czech man inspired by the Oscar-nominated film "Life of Pi" decided to build a boat and sail to Japan after his Taiwanese tourist visa expired.
Martin Psota had overstayed his welcome in Taiwan and did not have money for a plane ticket to leave the country. Instead, he decided to build a makeshift raft and sail to his next destination – Japan. He set sail on Sunday off Cape Eluanbi, the southernmost tip of the country.
“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 told the Taipei Times.
Soon after he launched his raft, Psota was overcome by exhaustion from the constant rowing and trying to maintain the boat that began to break apart. The Taiwanese Coast Guard received a phone call on Sunday at around 11 a.m. from a fishing boat that spotted Psota roughly three and half miles from shore.
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“There is a foreigner floating at sea in a decrepit-looking raft,” they said.
The coast guard said Psota had a few items in his backpack: $3NT (equivalent to $0.10 USD) a passport, food, water and a smartphone which he planned to use as a GPS to navigate to Japan. He told authorities that he saw "Life of Pi" during his visit to Taiwan. The film tells the story of a young man who embarks on a journey at sea in a rowboat.
Psota was taken to the National Immigration Agency for questioning. An official there says he will be deported after undergoing a medical exam and spending time at the agency’s detention center. According to Czech news outlet cestovanie.aktuality.sk, Psota could be released from prison if he paid a fine of 10,000 Taiwanese dollars ($335 USD), but he reportedly does not have the money and will most likely stay in jail until the end of July.
Had Psota succeeded on his ambitious quest, he would have sailed more than 800 miles to reach Japan’s mainland.