Thursday, November 01, 2012

Adrift, Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea - Callahan

Steven Callahan had been addicted to survival activities since childhood, especially sailing.  He set sail in 1982, alone, on his self-built schooner Napoleon Solo. Not long into the trip his boat was hit, possibly by a whale, and sunk. Callahan found himself striking out on his five-foot inflatable raft at the mercy of the winds with little food and water. 

Adrift, for Seventy Six Days Lost At Sea, Callahan floated westward in his little cave-like home. Gathering fresh drinking water from his barely working solar stills and rainstorms, fishing when he could, and always searching the horizon for a boat or plane. Callahan floated over 1800 miles toward the Caribbean. Despite moments of fear, desperation and depression, 76 days later he drifted into the Caribbean followed by a school of fish who had followed his raft for many miles, likely for the barnacles growing on its bottom, but who caught the attention of some fishermen who went to investigate and found the missing sailor, haggard and worn, but alive.

Since his ordeal, Callahan has continued to write about and speak publicly on survival, voyaging, and seamanship, and has been frequently interviewed for television and other media. Most recently, Callahan was tapped to assist Director Ang Lee with his film adaptation of the novel Life of Pi.

I seem to enjoy survival memoirs, specifically about activities that I would never undertake myself, so I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Callahan talks quite honestly about his harrowing journey, life errors that led him to that situation, and its effects on his life afterward.  He tells of his efforts to survive and his moments of desperation and doubt openly. Though it took him years to process the event and finally write about it, he knew immediately that he had been changed by his ordeal. This book is a testament to his will to live, as well as his skill as a survivalist and sailor. A great read for many.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.


city said...

thanks for sharing.