Now the last man standing, Nick says he refused to give up. "I needed to live long enough to tell the story, even if I was found alive and died later. I felt useless and worthless. It seemed like every time I thought it couldn't get worse, it got worse. I hoped I would be found, but I experienced what no person should have to experience. It was awful. Three are gone. Now it's my turn. It's just a matter of time," he says. "I didn't have any choice but to go on. People say all the time, 'I can't, I can't, I can't.' But when you don't have any alternative but to go on, to keep fighting, you'd be surprised at what you can do."        

Once the sun set, Nick fought to see another morning. At one point, Nick says he felt like he was dying. "My skin was very soft," he says. "I felt like if I had pinched my skin I was going to tear off layers of my skin right then and there. And I was bloody and I had begun to hallucinate."

Desperate to survive, Nick says he tied his life jacket to the propeller and tried to dive below the boat to find food. Unsuccessful, he surfaced to find his life jacket had floated away. He swam about 50 yards, grabbed it and made it back to the boat, his heart pounding. "[I couldn't] catch my breath," he says. "Then about a half-hour passed. [My heart] finally slowed down. And then I felt myself just gasping for air. ... I was like, this is it." Nick drifted in and out of consciousness, rudely awakened every time he was thrown into the water by the waves.

Still, Nick says he wasn't scared. "I was very sad," he says. "I kept thinking about the guys, of course, and my family." 

Eventually, Nick started his final prayers. "I kept picturing my family, my mother, particularly," he says. "I just could not picture my mother attending my funeral. That's by far the worst thing that any mother would have to go through."


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