Do you ever wonder what it feels like to be suffering through hunger and being lonely? Steven Callahan, a man who drifted on an inflatable raft at sea for seventy-six days, can answer your question. On the night of January 29, 1982, Steven Callahan set sail in his small sloop from the Canary Islands heading for the Caribbean. Six days out, the sloop sank, and Callahan found himself adrift in the Atlantic in a five-and-a-half-foot inflatable raft, with only three pounds of food and eight pints of water. Tormented by hunger, beat by storms, and burned by the tropical sun, Callahan drifted over eighteen hundred miles of ocean. He fought off sharks with a makeshift spear and watched nine ships pass by without turning back; he wasted to just over a hundred pounds, living on raw fish. This is an excellent and adventurous story.
There was plenty of action with just the right amount of facts. It was the type of story everyone wants to say, ? Yeah I did that? but no one really wants to do it. Having the story told by the actual survivor gives the reader a good feeling of what it was like on that small raft. I admire Callahan? s courage and self-sufficiency. I learned that in order to be on your own, you? d have to be independent and be able to survive in the? real world? .
Just like Callahan in his raft, drifting in the sea, he tried to do anything so he can survive through all the sea experiences. I also learned never to give up. Callahan never gave up on trying to get to an island or hoping for rescue. There were times when he thought that all was lost, and there was no hope for life, when there seemed no point in continuing the struggle, when he was suffering a lot, when his life raft was punctured and after more than a week struggling with his weak body to fix it, it was still leaking air and wearing him out to keep pumping it up. He was starved. He was desperately dehydrated.
He was completely exhausted. Giving up would have seemed the only sane option. When people survive these kinds of circumstances, they do something with their minds that gives them the courage to keep going. Many people in similarly desperate circumstances give in or go mad. Something the survivors do with their thoughts helps them find the guts to carry on in spite of overwhelming odds. In a part of the story, Callahan wrote, ? I tell myself I can handle it.
Compared to what others have been through, I? m fortunate. I tell myself these things over and over, building up fortitude… . ? I wrote that down after I read it. It struck me as something important. And I? ve told myself the same thing when my own goals seemed far off.
And every time I? ve said it, I have always come back to my senses. Our problems are only bad compared to something better, but others have been through much worse. You and I are lucky to be where we are, when we are, no matter how bad it seems to us compared to our fantasies. It? s a sane thought and worth thinking.