How Five Fish Survived a Two-year Journey Across the Pacific

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Scientists pick and poke around the beached boat, Sai-shou-maru. Within its 20-foot hold, a batch of striped beakfish, five and all, alive and flopping if for only a few moments. As the other four lay dying,the last living knifejaw recounts how they struck a bet with a Japanese fisherman. Who will die first when the Fukushima earthquake strikes? The fisherman won and drowned after the first wave hit, while the five fish hid under his capsized skiff and rode the sea’s momentum out into the whipping oceans.

The survivor listens. The scientists ramble on about the impossibility of their journey, for the mid-Pacific lacks the nutrients of the coasts. Have they not noticed the other creatures in the boat? The ones the five fish tricked convinced into becoming allies in their endurance mission. The anemone dreamt of seeing Washington, while the algae needed adventure. The crab wanted to dine on the algae and so did the scallop. Though many of them suffered the fate of getting eaten, most got what they wanted. But these scientists, they autopsy its friends while the surviving beakfish refuses to eat. Why can’t they see? Anything can get past death with just a bit of cunning.

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