Monday, February 15, 2010

newnoise1 Adrift: A survivor's incredible voyage

Always make sure you have a number of survival to life, the universe and everything type of books within arms reach. That way you'll know if you're in serious trouble or if what you're facing is more or less normal.

This week I read Adrift by Steven Callahan, first published in 1986 and printed by Ballantine Books, New York. This is the incredible story of how Callahan spent longer than two months adrift in an emergency raft he named Rubber Ducky III. Callahan's triumph will give you a broad glimpse into what it means to keep going when nearly all hope is lost.

The story begins when Callahan's small cruiser the Napoleon Solo sinks while he attempts to sail to the Caribbean. Every minute becomes a matter of life and death as he fights hunger, thirst, shark attacks and blisters that cover his entire body.

Callahan refuses to face defeat under unbearable circumstances. He is ingenious in finding solutions to every problem the sea and his mind throws at him.

The story draws you in. You can taste the brine splattering over Rubber Ducky III. You share his frustration as a fish gets away, his equipment fails, his raft starts to leak and his mind starts to wobble.

This is no dry reflection, the writing is often poetic:

'The ocean persists, monotonously bombarding us. Please don't knock us over; I can't survive a capsize. If I am thrown into the sea I will shiver until the earth quakes. My lips will turn blue, my skin white. My grasp will loosen. The sea will fold her blanket over me for one last time, and I will sleep forever.'

The book is an excellent account of survival at sea and includes Callahan's psychological reactions and philosophical musings as he drifts on and on through a world that has turned blue all around. So blue in fact that when he finally sets foot on solid ground again his senses real when he is confronted by the variety of colors.


  1. I'm trying to weave together a profile of your mind.It is as if you are anxiously looking for answers on life's big questions or lessons in problem solving.
    Should'nt you distance yourself from "self-help books" and the spiritual bigots around you? An old Chinese proverb reads: "Person who bows for too long, cannot stand straight."

  2. I suppose if you think you have problems just read a book (or article) like this to appreciate life again and especially the unsignificant and obvious little things like reading and nice cup-a-tea. Thanks