GARITA PALMERA (AFP): The family of Salvadoran castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga hung balloons and palm leaves in their humble home for his expected return Tuesday after his amazing story of survival adrift in the Pacific. The fisherman was on a shorter and more comfortable plane ride across the Pacific, two weeks after washing ashore in the Marshall Islands and telling the world he had survived 13 months adrift in a small boat.

With a new haircut and clean shave, the 37-year-old was heading home to a family that thought he was dead until he emerged recounting how he ate raw fish and birds and drank urine and turtle blood to survive.