The Salvadoran fisherman who says he spent 13 months adrift at sea surviving on raw turtles, fish and birds has returned to his coastal hometown, where he was warmly welcomed by friends and family.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga said Wednesday, "I feel very happy to be back. I'm home." Dozens of residents shook his hand.

The 37-year-old sailor left the hospital Tuesday after days of treatment for the physical and psychological effects of his voyage.

His 14-year-old daughter, Fatima Mabea, who hadn't seen Alvarenga since she was a baby, hugged him and told him, "I love you. I'm not going to let you go again."

His wife, Arely Barrera, who hadn't seen him for 10 years after he moved to Mexico, also greeted him and kissed him on the cheek.