True North Blog

CNN Interviews True North

Last Friday, CNN news anchor, Brooke Baldwin, again interviewed True North’s own Erik Kulick on her program Newsroom.  This time, she wanted to ask about his thoughts concerning the rescue of Louis Jordan, the sailor who was rescued one day earlier, approximately 200 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, after apparently spending 66 days lost at sea in a sailboat.

Given that this admittedly inexperienced sailor showed none of the expected hallmarks of a castaway, like severe sunburn, blisters, profound dehydration, and weight loss — not too mention that both of Jordan’s shoulders appeared remarkably normal considering that he stated to the U.S. Coast Guard that he had broken his shoulder early on in a storm — the media grew skeptical as the story developed.

So Brooke spoke to Erik to ask his opinion about Jordan’s account.

Just below, then, is a transcript of their talk.  And if you like, you can watch the interview for yourself, thanks to the folks at Internet Archive, via the video segments towards the bottom of this page.

Transcript of Brook’s Talk with Erik

CNN Jordan 2BALDWIN: Coming up next, have you heard about this guy? This young man survived 66 days stranded at sea. It is a phenomenal story, but does it hold up? We’ll talk live with a survivalist.

Plus, now that the U.S. and Iran have agreed to this tentative nuclear deal, what happens to the Americans being held there? Doesn’t the U.S. now have leverage?  And CNN confronts flower shop owners who refuse to serve gay couples. Hear their stunning responses on whether they’d serve others they consider sinners, like cheaters. Don’t miss this piece from Gary Tuchman. You’re watching CNN.


BALDWIN: Welcome back. You’re watching CNN. I’m Brooke Baldwin.  Here’s a quote, “it’s just a miracle.” Those are the words of the man everyone is talking about today, 37-year-old Louis Jordan. He spent 66 days lost on the Atlantic just before being rescued yesterday. In January, his sailboat capsized, breaking the mast and the rudder. Jordan’s family reported him missing a week after he told them he was headed out on a fishing trip and they ultimately feared the worst. Yesterday words of gratitude when father and son were reunited with the younger in remarkable health. He was very dehydrated. He had suffered a broken shoulder. But just hours after his rescue, he detailed how he survived those 66 days.

BALDWIN: Jordan, a novice sailor, admits he was outmatched at sea. So let’s talk more about this with wilderness survival instructor Erik Kulick.

Erik, nice to see you back on the show, sir, welcome back.

ERIK KULICK, SURVIVAL INSTRUCTOR: Nice to speak with you again, Brooke.

CNN Jordan 4BALDWIN: I have a lot of questions. But just, can I get your reaction. Looking at this man talking about, you know, rain tasting like coconut milk and iodine poisoning from seaweed and sitting there after being stranded, apparently for 66 days, do you – do you buy the whole story?

KULICK: I can’t speak to the issue about the coconut-flavored water or the seaweed in and of itself, but certainly the story is plausible. I mean there have been numerous accounts, some quite well documented, of people surviving much longer periods at sea. I think in one account, 117 days. So it’s certainly plausible. I think the one thing that strikes me though is just how – and what strikes me is how remarkable he looked coming off that helicopter.

BALDWIN: How do you mean?

KULICK: Well, he looked – he walked on his own after being steadied coming out of the helicopter. I would have expected him to be carried out after spending so much time on a boat, being — not being able to move. People typically are very weak. I other is his skin. I expected him to be much more sunburned, as well as suffering from a lot of saltwater on the skin, which can cause a lot of blisters and really break that skin down. So I thought he looked really, really good.

BALDWIN: All right. Maybe he was in great shape. I mean I think off the top of my head, I think he’s 37. But let’s talk about some of the conditions that he faced. I mean if you know he set off in January, I mean 66 days, that is through the worst of it as far as winter goes. How cold would it have been? What would the conditions at sea have been like?

CNN Jordan 5KULICK: I can’t speak exactly to where he was and the conditions, but I would assume, even if this had occurred in the summer, that he would – the cold would be an issue. Just being in the wet and in the wind would chill anyone, to put it mildly. So added air – you know, add in a colder air temperature, that would certainly make that condition worse. But, look, in all my courses, our instructors at True North Wilderness Survival teach our students that in the end it really doesn’t matter how much gear or training you have, it’s what’s in your head and heart that matters most. And what he also explained in his interview might help explain a lot what went on, which is, he maintained his positive mental attitude. He was focused on his spiritual faith. That helped – seemed to help him get through the occasion. And he seemed to be more worried about his parents worrying about him than he was about himself.

BALDWIN: Right, that struck me as well. He was concerned his parents would be – he’d be in trouble or something to that effect. Let me loop back to, because I think –


BALDWIN: Go ahead. Go ahead.

KULICK: I was going to say, he seemed to be worried that they thought he was dead. I mean that was my interpretation from one of the accounts. So it’s typically when you’re thinking of others, that’s what helps you in a survival situation.

BALDWIN: Keep going, stay strong –

KULICK: To help you get you through it, yes.

BALDWIN: For your parents, of course.

KULICK: And to stay – exactly. Or any one, for that matter, any loved one.

CNN Jordan 6BALDWIN: What about all that raw fish? I mean he said that once he ran out of food and water, obviously that’s when you start to panic. And he realized, once he started putting some of his dirtier clothes in the water, fish would start swimming through his clothing and so that’s when he would start grabbing and started eating all this fish. What does that do to your – to your body, to your system?

KULICK: Depending on the fish, that’s certainly – what he did again is plausible. You know, when you’re at sea that long, a microenvironment forms under the boat and the fish will do exactly what he said. So that sounds plausible to me. Depending on the larger fish, you know, that might have parasites and the like in it, but smaller fish might not. But even so, in the end you’ve got to survive and you do what you have to do. And I could see him still getting through that quite healthy. I mean he might need some ongoing medical care, but, again, he did what he had to do.

BALDWIN: Yes, I suppose it’s pretty incredible, that will to survive really kicks in.

KULICK: And that’s really what it comes down to is the will.

BALDWIN: Right, in the very ending, the will to survive.

KULICK: That’s ultimate – yes.

BALDWIN: Erik, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

KULICK: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, with this tentative deal on the Iran nuclear talks, a lot of Iranians citizens took to the streets celebrating, dancing around. Why they see this deal as a victory.  Plus, what happens to the Americans still being held in Iran?

Interview Video Links

You can watch Brooke’s interview with Erik via the seven, 1-minute segments in the links below (which will also allow you to scroll over to the subsequent segment as one ends):

Erik Kulick leaning aginst wall with True North badge on blue shirt

About the Author

Erik is the founder of True North Wilderness Survival School. He is a police officer, EMS provider, a Wilderness EMT, and a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He has been featured in national and international media, including CNN, the Associated Press, and Backpacker. To learn more about Erik, visit him on LinkedIn and be sure to follow him on Facebook and YouTube.

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