Floating adrift on an overturn catamaran off the coast of southwest New Guinea on November 21, 1961, Michael C. Rockefeller, the 23-year old son of New York governor Nelson Rockefeller and future Vice President, decided to swim what he estimated to be some five to ten miles to shore in the remotest corner of the world.
His expedition partner René Wessing waited for him on the overturned wooden hull where they had been marooned for twenty-four hours.
'I really donâ??t think you should go,' Wessing told his friend.
'No, itâ??ll be okay. I think I can make it,' Michael replied.
With that he was in the water with the two empty gasoline cans tied to his military-style belt and started kicking slowly in what he estimated to be a ten-hour swim ahead of him.