"Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea"
Reading history and reviews
Finished in 2007I bought this at Kyle's suggestion last year, just before we went to Hawaii, but I didn't get around to reading it at the time. Then it lay in a drawer for nine months or so until I finally read it, and it's a pretty amazing tale: a true story of a man who is shipwrecked and survives at sea for 76 days.
A couple of years ago I read Life of Pi by Yann Martel, which is a fictional account of a boy who is lost at sea. There was a big buzz about Martel's book at the time, and although there are a number of fantastical elements in "...Pi", it feels like it was heavily influenced by Steven Callahan's story (particularly things like the solar stills, the obsession with collecting and conserving water, and the encounters with flying fish). Even the drifting seaweed-like "island" in "...Pi" seems reminiscent of Callahan's encounters with drifting clumps of sargasso seaweed which are themselves tiny ecosystems. And the "road of trash" - a floating stream of man-made debris - that he encounters as he crosses the continental shelf seems almost as bizarre as anything in Martel's novel. (To be fair, I gather that "Adrift" is actually referred to directly in "Life of Pi".)
The other book that this reminds me of is Touching the Void by Joe Simpson. "Touching the Void" is the incredible story of Joe Simpson's survival after being left for dead after an accident whilst climbing in the Peruvian Andes. The circumstances and actions of the two men are completely different, but what is consistent in both accounts is their refusal to give up, to lay down and die. Amazing books and both highly recommended.