(CNN) - The Coast Guard didn't think Ron Ingraham could survive, stuck in a 25-foot sailboat for days as waves swelled 15 to 20 feet high. His son did.
"I don't feel like he's dead," Zakary Ingraham told a Coast Guard official nine days ago, after learning their search was ending. "I don't feel it."
He was right.
Ron Ingraham was picked up Tuesday morning about 64 miles (103 kilometers) south of Honolulu, "weak, hungry and dehydrated" and - most importantly - alive.
His rescue came 12 days after he made his first distress call, a difficult stretch even for a veteran fisherman.
But he wasn't beaten up enough to lose his priorities. According to his son, the 67-year-old Ron Ingraham told his rescuers, "We ain't leaving without my boat."
So the sailor and his boat headed back to shore Wednesday.
What will his dad do now that he's back on land? Will he relax, take some time off, maybe look for a less dangerous profession?
"I'm sure he's going to go fishing as soon as he's able," Zakary Ingraham said by phone from Missouri. "Like tomorrow."