Boarding a 24-foot handmade boat Faustina Mercedes and a group of 8 men and 7 women prepared to travel the 100 miles across the shark-infested Mona Passage in hopes of a better life in Puerto Rico.
The group left on January 3, from a quiet beach in the town of Sabana de la Mar. They each paid between $125-$250, which works out to be about 2 months' salary in a minimum wage job.
Shortly after boarding they realized their compass was broken and they were lost at sea.
Food and water didn't last long, and they passengers were stranded without resources in just 3 days. The gasoline also ran out, so with dehydration getting worse, things started to look grim for the travelers.
Sores started to appear on the passengers' bodies, while the weakest laid on the bottom of the boat in a state of delirium.
By the 5th day, after saying her prayers, Faustina came up with an idea.